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What percentage of back injuries do you think require surgery?
I think the answer might surprise you.
Because it’s in incredibly low.
Only around 5% of all back injuries actually require surgery.
In this week’s post I’ve highlighted a 29 year old woman who was experiencing low back pain and sciatica (numbness into her leg).
A MRI of her low back (Figure A) confirmed that she had a disc herniation at the L4-L5 level (between the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae).
Disc herniations are a type of back injury that most think requires surgery.
But they don’t…
This patient opted for a conservative approach (what we do here at DSM Spine+Sport).
A MRI of her low back 5 months later (Figure B) showed that the disc herniation had resolved!
Sciatica, a condition named after the sciatic nerve is commonly found in those suffering from low back pain.
Sciatica sufferers will experience pain, numbness or burning in the leg.
That pain, numbness or burning sensation has three common sources:
- Disc herniations
- Arthritis/Degenerative disc disease/Spinal stenosis
- SI Joint dysfunction
In this week’s video I’ll help you understand how to differentiate between these three sources, who typically suffers from these conditions, and why it’s important to know where your sciatica is coming from.
Having a headache can be absolutely debilitating. There is not another pain that will throw a wrench in my day like that of a headache.
But did you know that there are four different types of headaches?
Understanding which type of headache you are experiencing is very important as it dictates what your course of action should be for treatment and relief.
In this week’s Movement Monday video I outline some common misconceptions surrounding headaches, what differentiates the different types of headaches, and what you should do to find relief for you headache.
Anatomy of the Plantar Fascia
The plantar fascia is a strong fibrous band of tissue on the bottom side of the foot. The plantar fascia runs from the calcaneus (heel) and fans out to each of the metatarsal heads (base of each toe).
This fibrous tissue plays a critical role in establishing the longitudinal arch of a person’s foot. The arch of one’s foot allows us to absorb and transmit the forces more efficiently than a flat surface – similar to that of a spring.
Classically, injuries to the plantar fascia will manifest as intense heel pain that is worse with the first step out of bed in the morning. That heel pain is due to micro-tearing and subsequent inflammation or degeneration of the plantar fascia. There are a multitude of reasons why one’s plantar fascia would develop tears, but we can think of them all in two broad categories:
– Increased tension through the plantar fascia
– Dysfunction within the secondary structures associated with establishing the arch
Increased tension through the plantar fascia is caused when a person has either tissue length inequalities or sliding surface dysfunction in the posterior chain of the lower extremity. Tissue length inequalities represent shortened soft tissues. Every tissue has a proper physiological length as well as sliding surface function. Sliding surface function represents that ability of our tissues to slide and glide across each other. When adhesions develop within or between our tissues, it limits the contractibility, slide, and glide of our soft tissues.
As stated before, the plantar fascia plays a role in establishing the arch of the foot. Another group of structures that are responsible for establishing that arch are the intrinsic muscles of the foot. The plantar fascia and the intrinsic muscles have a symbiotic relationship. They work together to accomplish a task – maintaining the arch. When one does not do its duty, the other must pick up the slack. Commonly, the intrinsic muscles become under-facilitated and dysfunctional.
Addressing Inadequacies and Dysfunction
1. Hip Mob
2. Hamstring Mob
3. Calf Mob
4. Four-Toe Salute
5. Big-Toe Salute
6. Toe Splay
Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors has had to recently miss time during the Warriors’s most recent championship run due to complications associated with back surgery.
Steve Kerr, a former professional basketball player, has had a history of back pain.
So, in 2015, coach Kerr went under the knife and opted for back surgery.
Unfortunately, following surgery Kerr’s symptoms took a turn for the worse.
And he’s urging others with back pain to avoid surgery and pursue rehabilitation.
“I can tell you if you’re listening out there, stay away from back surgery,” Kerr said. “Rehab, rehab, rehab. Don’t let anyone get in there.”
Here’s more of what coach Kerr had to say:
Steve Kerr updates his health status, says symptoms have worsened, he will not coach tomorrow and status unknown beyond pic.twitter.com/qtQRAYYHvq
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) April 23, 2017
Moral of the story:
If you’ve got back pain, pump the brakes.
Avoid surgery if you can.
We can help.
Surgery has it’s place, but when it comes to back pain their is overwhelming evidence to support conservative trials of treatment.
Millions of Americans struggle with low back pain every year.
That’s over 75 million people!
Would it also surprise you to know that most people don’t know who to see or what to do about their low back pain?
Did you know that March is Low Back Pain Awareness Month?
With it being March, I wanted to let you know about a piece of research that goes hand-in-hand with Low Back Pain Awareness.
The Spine Journal (the leading journal for treatment of spinal disorders) recently published an article that highlighted research in support of chiropractic care for the treatment of chronic low back pain.
Not only was chiropractic care shown effective for resolving the low back pain, but it also was shown to prevent further/future problems.
Which is extremely exciting news!
It’s one thing to feel better short-term, it’s a HUGE success when you can avoid back pain long-term (without the use of drugs or surgery).
If you want to see the rest of details of the study, you should watch this week’s Movement Monday video!
You can check it out here!
What is Performance Care?
When Dr. Jon and I first started into practice our focus was acute care and injury rehabilitation with the goal of creating healthier, more vibrant, and pain-free community.
And we still want to do that, we realized that we weren’t serving our patient base and community to our full potential…
So for the last few months, the team here at DSM Spine+Sport has been working tirelessly on ways to better serve YOU!
This has lead us to the creation of Performance Care.
Performance Care is a monthly care plan designed to facilitate health, vibrance and a pain-free life.
Who is Performance Care for?
Our performance care package is the perfect entity for those looking for:
- Increased energy
- Improved mobility
- Reduced pain, stiffness, and tightness
- Enhanced athletic performance
- Improved recovery
- Injury prevention
- Improved immune system function
What will it cost?
- Cancel at anytime
What do I receive?
2 chiropractic adjustments a month
How do I get started?
Give our office a call at 515.276.4344 and speak to Jenni – she will get you taken care of!
– OR –
Respond to the email and I’ll get you taken care of!
Virtually every runner has experienced or knows of someone that has experienced the dreaded plantar fasciitis. Even if you’re not a runner, you’ve likely know of plantar fasciitis as it is the #1 cause of heel pain. Read More