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Disc Problems:

Your lower back is called the lumbar spine and is comprised of 5 vertebra and 5 discs. The intervertebral disc is a cushioning layer between the vertebras. Causes of injury to this area can be the result of improper motion of vertebrae or spinal bones, improper sitting, accidents or falls, improper lifting, or failure to take care of our spine.

When one area in your spine does not function properly it results in additional stress to other areas that try to make up for the loss of motion. This can lead to a weakened area, which can cause pain after simply picking up a pencil due to the stress that has accumulated there.

If you lift something without bending your knees, the fulcrum of the lift is at your waist and stresses your low back. This can result in a bulging disc.

The intervertebral disc looks similar to a jelly donut in side view. It is made up of a soft gelatinous substance inside called the nucleus pulposus, and a hard fibrous outer covering called the annulus fibrosis. As pressure is placed on one side of a donut, the jelly inside moves to the opposite side. This can be visualized with water inside a "Ziploc" bag. By pushing down on one side you can fully understand how pressure can displace the fluid inside. Inside your body, this is what happens essentially when you lift objects or move.

A disc problem can vary in its intensity of pain depending on the size of the disc bulge and also the location. You can feel pain with every slightest movement or in addition to the back, you will have pain into the legs along a nerve root.

When a nerve irritation is involved you may experience numbness or even develop muscle loss over time. Finding a way to reduce your pain and prevent you from re-aggravating the area is vital.

Insurance companies have changed how doctors treat patients because of cost reductions. I prefer to know what I’m looking at before blindly moving forward. That said, many times I will diagnose the disc problem and start treatment. This will include heat or ice, electric stim, rehabilitation exercises, home exercises and spinal adjustments if tolerated.

If after a certain number of weeks we aren’t getting the results we expected or the pain has changed, I will encourage the insurance company to approve the MRI film so we can see what is going on inside. Many patients respond well to care and surgery is always a last option. I encourage patients to discuss problems with their other doctors and I will also contact them to keep them posted and have them onboard to help resolve your pain. disabled

  • Ben Eliyahu, D.J., "Magnetic resonance imaging and clinical follow-up: study of 27 patients receiving chiropractic care for cervical and lumbar disc herniations", Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 1996; Nov-Dec; 19(9): 597-606. Patients with MRI documented and symptomatic cervical and lumbar disc were treated with traction, flexion distraction, spinal manipulation, physiotherapy and exercises. Clinically, 80% had good outcomes and 63% revealed a reduced or completely resorbed disc herniation. Almost 80% were able to return to their regular jobs after care.

  • T.W. Meade, "Low back pain of mechanical origin; randomized comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment", British Medical Journal; Volume 300, June 2, 1990. The British Medical Journal reported in the Meade Study of 781 patients between 18 and 65 with chronic or severe back pain who were treated with chiropractic care or at a hospital outpatient clinic. The comparison determined that chiropractic treatment was more effective for patients with chronic or severe back pain than hospital outpatient management. Two years later a follow up was conducted and the positive effective of chiropractic care were even more evident.

  • Paul G. Shekelle, MD, "Spinal Manipulation for Low Back Pain", Annals of Internal Medicine October 1992, 117:590-598. Summary: Spinal manipulation was appropriate and beneficial for patients with acute low back pain.

  • W. H. Kirkaldy-Willis, MD & J.D. Cassidy, DC, "Spinal Manipulation in the Treatment of Low-Back Pain", Can Fam Physician, 1985; 31:535-540. Summary: In depth investigation of clinical and scientific research on manipulative therapy, which has shown there is a scientific basis for treating back pain with manipulation performed by a Doctor of Chiropractic.

  • Phillip S. Ebrall, "Mechanical Low Back Pain: A Comparison of Medical and Chiropractic Management Within the Victorian WorkCare Scheme", Chiropractic Journal of Australia; Volume 22, Number 2, June 1992. Summary: A retrospective study of work-related, low back pain claimants treated by either a chiropractic or medical doctor. Significantly lower number of claimants requiring compensation days, fewer compensation days taken by claimants, less became chronic conditions and lower average payment were found with chiropractic care.

  • In a 377 page report to the House of Representatives, a 2 year The New Zealand Commission of inquiry of chiropractic was presented, which some consider the most comprehensive and detailed independent examination of chiropractic ever completed in the world. "By the end of the inquiry we found ourselves irresistibly and with complete unanimity drawn to the conclusion that modern chiropractic is a soundly-based and valuable branch of health care in a specialized area."

    The findings were as follows;

    • Doctors of Chiropractic specialize in the detection and correction, by spinal manipulation, of biomechanical disorders of the spine. They perform diagnosis and therapy at a sophisticated and refined level.
    • Only Doctors of Chiropractic are equipped by their education and properly trained to perform spinal manipulative therapy safely and effectively.
    • The education of today's chiropractor enables him to administer an extensive examination in order to determine if a patient might be better served by medical care or by both medical and chiropractic care.
    • Spinal manipulation is effective in relieving musculoskeletal conditions like low back pain or headaches.
    • In certain instances of visceral and/or organic symptoms chiropractic care has provided relief, but this is unpredictable, and concurrent medical care should be sought for treatment.
    • In the interest of the public and patients, Doctors of Medicine and Chiropractic must work together in full cooperation.