Back and Neck Pain

Back and Neck Pain

I am going to tell you a secret; I have back pain too. That’s right, I get neck and back pain just like everyone else. I have no ‘get out of jail free’ card and I’m fresh out of red capes. Instead, I have to see my chiropractor…yes, I have a chiropractor. I have found that the only thing I do that consistently lowers my pain level and reduces the numbness in my heel is chiropractic treatment. I have tried traction, massage, yoga, etc., and these all have their place, but they never address what I think is the main contributor to neck and back pain. The discs in your back are made up of concentric rings of a tough fibrous material called the annulus fibrosis. The center of your disc is jelly-like and is called nucleus pulposus. As we age these fibers weaken and tear. The jelly pushes into the weakened/torn area causing it to bulge/deflate, and balloon outward. This bulging disc material, if bad enough, will push on a nerve root, shooting pain down your legs or arms. You would think that traction would be great for a bulging disc, it does make sense, but we have found that as a disc bulges and deflates, it almost always slips backward and kind of gets cocked on the back edge of the vertebra below it. This is extremely irritating on the facet joints and stops the joint from working. It literally gets stuck. The only way to address this is to have a chiropractor adjust this vertebra up and forward, resetting it back on top of the vertebra below it. When done properly, the joint works again, the swelling goes down, and the disc starts to stabilize again. This process of realigning the disc can take several months, but the pain can be reduced greatly in just a short period of time. No machine can do this. It has to be done by a skilled chiropractor. We have found that once the disc is realigned, core stabilization exercises like yoga and Pilates start to pay off. A strong core helps to keep your vertebra aligned. It seems like our discs and other joints go into a degenerative death spiral. To understand this you have to know that your joints are poorly vascularized, meaning that they don’t have a rich blood supply like our muscles do. Most joints have a capsule that surrounds it in a nutrient rich lubricating fluid. The outer edge of the joint capsule gets the blood supply, not the joint. So, how does the joint get the nutrients it need to heal and the toxic stuff like inflammation out of the joint? It is the...

Read More