Treating Neck and Low Back Pain
Neck and Low Back are unfortunately a fact of life. Literally, 100% of people will experience a moderate or severe episode of neck of low back pain in their lifetime. These conditions are so common that many therapists, Chiropractors and treatment options exist only to treat these complaints. But, I’m not a classic Chiropractor relying on an adjustment to solve a more complex issue with your spine. Most of the time it’s simply the aging process taking place and not a traumatic event. Usually the person is much healthier than they feel at the moment and I’m able to provide treatment, management and advice that helps address the issue in a timely manner.
Whiplash usually causes neck and upper back pain after a violent event like a car accident or sports related impact. It occurs when the head is jerked back-and-forth or side-to-side in a rapid movement. The muscles of the neck and upper back tense up to protect the head and subsequently strain most deeper layers of the muscle. Sometimes the ligaments protecting the spine and spinal bones/joints become inflamed and painful as well. Each case is different but introducing therapy and a recovery plan is essential so there are not lasting issues.
Neck Strains and Sprains
Most pain of the neck and low back is soft tissue related, not the disc, spinal joints or other anatomy. Improving the soft tissue quality and healing potential of the muscle while decreasing tightness is important prior to introducing therapeutic exercise. Strains and Sprains can also present as a compensatory reaction to normal aging of the spine. With a good game plan we can prevent severe neck and low back strains with regular movement and self care. In acute cases, we can provide relief and guidance on how to recover fast.
Facet Joint Pain
Facet joints are the joint Chiropractor traditionally “adjust” to improve mobility and decrease muscle tightness. After Myofascia (muscle and fascia) pain, facet pain is the most common source of neck and low back issues. This is because as we age our disc loose height, we shrink, and more pressure is placed upon the facet joints. They become overstressed and often have arthritis develop around. This limits our spinal mobility and encourages our neck and low back muscle to tighten down. Chiropractic manipulation is one way to make the facet joint move better and calm down, but I feel there is a more comprehensive way to treat and prevent facet related pain. This condition shouldn’t require excessive amount of visits if you treat the muscle and joint pain, improve mobility and introduce self care exercises to prevent the issue. In severe cases I’m able to guide you on the appropriate imaging, injection and other medical procedures you could consider to find relief and get back to your active self.
Although rare, Spinal Disc injuries do happen and they are frustrating. I know, I severely herniated a lumbar disc and experienced significant leg pain from a pinched nerve. Luckily, with some medical help (injections) I avoided surgery and feel pretty good with regular movement and self care.
There are many types of bulges, herniations, extrusions and annular tears, but most disc pain is not that severe, it’s usually very subtle. Most patients experience episodes where the disc might become somewhat inflamed and stiff, which then produces facet joint and muscle pain. Much of the pain is treatable and hence surgery is not common these days. If specialized medical care is needed then I’ll outline what your options are. Xray, MRIs and other tests might be appropriate to accurately diagnose the cause of your pain. Radiating pain down the arm or leg from a disc injury, or the swelling it might create is called a Radiculopathy. It can be confused with other soft tissue, shoulder and hip complaints and deserves the attention to detail to ensure we address it swiftly.
Depending on your need, I might suggest one of handful of these treatment options.
- Activity Modification
- Hot/Cold Therapy
- Graston Technique
- Cupping Therapy
- Dry Needling
- Therapeutic Exercise
- Manipulative Therapy- Chiropractic Adjustments
- Massage Therapy
- Over-the-counter Medications
- Imaging/Studies: XRay, MRI, CT, Nerve Studies, etc.
- Specialist Referral
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This practice has been the only one to truly help with the underlying symptoms and cause of my pain. Eric St. Pierre is highly intelligent, competent and updated on current research. More importantly, Eric has an uncanny ability to show deep compassion for each unique client situation. This is extremely helpful in the emotional and mental aspects of recovery. In addition, the suggested dry needling treatment, soft tissue work, and exercises Eric suggested have greatly helped my physical symptoms. I highly recommend ESP Sports Medicine to anyone who has been injured or is just in need of a body, muscle, or neural reset. They are fantastic.