This month, I want to tell you the story about John’s experience with severe back and leg pain. This story is important because it exemplifies the common mistakes that many patients make in their choices for the treatment of back and neck pain. Like most individuals who experience severe back pain and leg pain, John’s first decision was to see his medical doctor. The doctor advised John that his pain was due to muscle spasm, and he prescribed a muscle relaxant and pain pills. When that didn’t help, John’s doctor ordered an MRI study. This study confirmed spinal stenosis; the compression of spinal nerves.
Because drug therapy didn’t help, John’s physician recommended an evaluation by a spine surgeon. The spine doctor felt that the condition was not serious enough to recommend invasive surgery, explaining that back surgery increases the risk of infection, subsequent degeneration, and surgical failure. The spine surgeon told John to consult with a pain management clinic.
The pain management doctor advised a series of epidural spine injections. The shots seemed to help a little, but within a short time John’s back pain and leg pain always returned. The pain management doctor explained that he was only treating the symptoms and told John to try physical therapy.
John’s physical therapist recommended a program that included exercises, massage, and traction. John continued the therapy program for six-weeks with no significant benefit. The therapist eventually sent John on his way, suggesting that he continue with his exercises and anti-inflammatory medication.
After four months of ineffective treatments, John had almost given up when one of his friends suggested that a chiropractor might be helpful. Upon arriving at our office, John was evaluated and x-rayed. The standing x-rays showed a pelvic imbalance related to a congenitally short leg, a moderate lumbar spinal curvature, advanced disc degeneration at L4/5 and L5/sacrum, and a posterior slip of L5 on the sacrum.
John was advised that the back and leg pain was due to the misalignment of the lower back. Chiropractic spinal adjustments were recommended as the most likely treatment to relieve this chronic condition. After six spinal adjustments of the L5/sacrum area the back and leg pain miraculously disappeared.
What can one learn from John’s experience?
Chronic back is usually related to a biomechanical problem that results in the pinching and irritation of spinal nerves. Chiropractors treat the cause of back pain, not the symptoms. Spinal adjustments often work even after other methods of treatment have failed.
My recommendation: Consider chiropractic care before drugs, shots and surgery. If you are experiencing chronic back or neck pain, try the most conservative treatment first. Find a great chiropractor to be a part of your health team. Spinal adjustments are often the most effective and conservative way to relieve chronic back pain.
Dr. Craig Brue is an author, lecturer and chiropractic provider in SaddleBrooke, AZ. For questions or information, please use our website: bruechiropractic.com.