We have been providing treatment for low back pain in San Francisco for over 22 years.
Over 80% of the population will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. Many will develop chronic low back pain which is back pain that persists for over 90 days. Some will develop low back pain that goes away…but then it returns and becomes worse. Some get low back pain that goes away and never returns…and everything in between. Just about every case is unique and should be treated as such.
Sciatica, which is pain down the leg or legs due to pressure on the sciatic nerve can also result from the same underlying causes of low back pain. In fact, you can have sciatica and not have back pain at all…just the pain, numbness, or abnormal sensations in the leg. Most patients with low back pain just have low back pain with varying levels of severity.
The causes of low back pain are many. Things like obesity or weight gain can put too much stress on the low back and cause low back pain. If this persists it can result in thinning of the discs, disc degeneration, bulging and herniated spinal discs, and spinal stenosis. Since 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese this is a primary cause.
Then there are injuries to the spine from sports, exercising, car accidents, poor posture and ergonomics, bad sleeping habits, slips and falls, traveling, and other activities of life.
Here are some of the more common conditions that cause Low Back Pain:
- Lumbar sprain or strain
- Herniated or Bulging Disc
- Spinal Stenosis
- Facet Syndrome
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Vertebral Subluxation and Misalignment
The good news is the low back pain responds very favorable to chiropractic adjustments. This is good because often times the true cause is not known. That’s right…you can take 10 different doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, medical, whatever, and get 10 different opinions. I sure would not want to be getting back surgery under these conditions. But chiropractic…sure, why not? Chiropractic is 100% natural and very very safe…and gentle too.
Heck…all you care about is getting rid of your low back pain right? Not many patients care about the name the doctor gives it…and why should you?
Do you realize how complicated the low back region is when it comes to investigating the cause of low back pain (LBP)? There can be findings on an x-ray, MRI, or CT scan such as degenerative disk disease, arthritis, even bulging and/or herniated disks that have NOTHING to do with why the back hurts. Similarly, there are often other abnormal findings present in many of us who have NO low back pain whatsoever! Because of this seemingly paradoxical situation, we as clinicians must be careful not to over-diagnose based on the presence of these “abnormal findings” AND on the same hand, be careful not to under-diagnose them as well.
Looking further into this interesting paradox, one study reported findings that support this point. Investigators examined 67 asymptomatic individuals who had NO prior history of low back pain and evaluated them using magnetic resonant imaging (MRI). They found 21 of the 67 (31%) had an identifiable disk and/or spinal canal abnormality (which is where the spinal cord and nerves run). Seven years later, this same group of non-suffering individuals were once again contacted to see if they had developed any back problems within that time frame. The goal of the study was to determine if one could “predict” who might develop low back pain based on certain abnormal imaging findings in non-suffering subjects. A questionnaire was sent to each of these individuals, of which 50 completed and returned the questionnaire. A repeat MRI scan was performed on 31 of these subjects, and two neurologists and one orthopedic spine surgeon interpreted the MRI studies using a blinded approach (without having knowledge about the subject’s symptoms or lack thereof). Each level was assessed for abnormalities including disk bulging/herniation and degeneration. Those who had initial abnormal findings were defined as “progressed” (worsened) if an increased severity of the original finding was evident or if additional or new spinal levels had become involved over the seven-year time span.
Of the 50 who returned the questionnaire, 29 (58%) had NO low back pain. Full story here.
Bottom Line: It’s easy to get all caught-up in a bunch of unnecessary diagnostic testing and doctors visits. My recommendation is to make the first visit to the chiropractor…it will most likely also be your last.
To find out if you are a candidate for low back pain treatment in San Francisco please call 415-392-2225.