Chronic Back Pain


ACUPUNCTURE and CHRONIC BACK PAIN

We use special techniques, that can correct more than a hundred different problems, to increase circulation, blood flow and transfer energy to all parts of the body to support your back and spinal system.

Many people spend large amounts of time seeing doctors abour their back problems, and have surgical procedures done, and yet still have back pain, and other pain. This is because they didn’t correct what was causing the problem.

We do our best to help patients correct ailments in the system before we adjust their spinal compression, scoliosis, bulging discs, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or pinched nerve. The success rate is about 80% – 90%, depending upon the condition and the patient’s willingness to try. We encourage spiritual, or “happy” energy to enable the patient to get the best result. We can repair disc problems without the side effects of surgery.


Chronic Back PainAt least once in their lives, about 80 percent of all Americans will experience lower back pain that can range from a dull, annoying ache to absolute agony. Lower back pain is one of the most common ailments in the U.S. On any given day, over 6.5 million Americans are under some sort of treatment for lower back pain.

Because many people are familiar with the term “slipped” disc, this problem is mistakenly believed to be the chief cause of lower back pain. In fact, protruding discs are responsible for only 5-10 percent of the cases. Actually, the term itself is inaccurate, because the disc does not slip at all; it bulges, ruptures or herniates.

In some cases, the tough tissues that contain the disc are weakened by injuries that allow the soft gel-like center to protrude. If the protrusion presses on a nerve root, pinching it against the bone, the result is pain in the area of the body served by that nerve.

The pain of a ruptured disc is usually sharp and sudden. Commonly, the pain will be passed along the course of the nerve compressed by the ruptured disc. A disc pressing on the sciatic nerve root causes sciatica, sending pain from the buttock down the leg and into the foot.

When a disc ruptures, the pad between the two vertebrae is gone, and the gradual wearing of the bone can also lead to arthritis. This can cause serious pain if the arthritic spurs of the vertebrae press on the nerve root. The pain will worsen as years go by without treatment.


What to Do if You Injure Your Back

If you injure your back and believe that the injury involves a disc, the first things to do are:

  • Lie down on a bed or couch in a comfortable position.
  • Use anti-inflammatory medication (aspirin, ibuprofen or prescription drugs).
  • Apply heat or cold, whichever feels better.
  • You should see a back care specialist to assess the injury.

In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, the doctor may order blood tests or x-rays. A disc, which is not calcified, cannot be seen on a normal x-ray but can be picked up easily on a CT or MRI scan.

Many ruptured discs will respond to bed rest, and physical therapy can help relieve any muscle spasms associated with a ruptured disc.


Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease can affect any part of the spine, although common sites are the lumbar (lower back) and cervical (neck) spine. Spondylosis is another term for degenerative disc disease.

Degenerative disc disease can result from trauma (either acute or chronic/repetitive), infection or the natural aging process. The process of degeneration of the spine may lead to local pain, stiffness and restricted activity.

On an x-ray, a doctor may see a narrower disc space (spinal stenosis) and some osteophyte (bony outgrowth of spur) formation. As people age, these changes tend to show up on the x-rays of most people.

Conservative non-surgical therapy for disc disease includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications and exercise programs to strengthen abdominal muscles and reduce lumbar lordosis (curvature). Surgery is often suggested when medical management fails to relieve pain.


Sciatica

Sciatica is the inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which then passes between layers of the buttock muscles into the deep muscles of the back of the thigh. Sciatic pain usually starts in the buttocks and extends down the rear of the thigh and lower leg to the sole of the foot and along the outer side of the lower leg to the top of the foot. Pain may also be present in the lower back.

A primary cause of sciatica is a herniated or bulging lower lumbar intervertebral disc that compresses one of the nerve roots before it joins the sciatic nerve. Another cause of sciatica is the Piriformis syndrome. The piriformis muscle extends from the side of the sacrum to the top of the thighbone at the hip joint, passing over the sciatic nerve in route. When a short or tight piriformis is stretched, it can compress and irritate the sciatic nerve.

The primary treatment of sciatica is rest to allow the inflammation of the nerve to subside. In an effort to alleviate pain, various medications (such as analgesics and muscle relaxants) may be prescribed, or anesthetic agents may be injected into the area around the spinal cord. In cases that do not respond to such conservative measures, surgery may be necessary.


Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal is narrowed or compromised, leaving inadequate room for the nerves. The causes of stenosis vary. The condition may be either congenital or due to spinal degeneration.

A few diseases can cause spinal stenosis. Among them are Paget’s disease, a disease of unknown origin that causes abnormal growth and distortion of a number of different bones; and fluoridosis, due to excessive fluoride, which can thicken bones and contribute to stenosis when there is a pre-existing narrowing of the canal. In some cases, scarring and other post-surgical problems, like overgrowth of a spinal fusion, can lead to stenosis.

Spinal stenosis usually affects the elderly. Symptoms include substantial back pain with variable leg pain and weakness associated with walking. The pain may become increasingly severe with standing and walking, and can usually be relieved by a short period of rest.

Unlike disc disease and other kinds of backache with an intermittent course, spinal stenosis generally becomes progressively more painful over time. After a complete medical history and physical examination, your physician may suggest radiologic studies, such as x-rays or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).


Prescription Drugs… Alleviating Symptoms, but Causing Side Effects

Remedies such as hot and cold packs, exercise and physical therapy help sciatic pain to a degree. However, some people also reach for the quick and handy pain medications, which come with extra baggage-unwanted side effects and dependency.

NSAIDS like aspirin or ibuprofen (Nuprin, Advil, Motrin) can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, rash, dizziness, headache, and drowsiness. Acetaminophen (or Tylenol) can cause liver damage if not taken in the correct dose. For many people acetaminophen does not completely relieve their pain because it does not work to reduce inflammation. Oral steroids can cause weight gain, stomach ulcers, osteoporosis, collapse of the hip joint, as well as other complications in some people.

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