Tag Archives: doctors

Spinal Decompression Maintenance Care

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Spinal Decompression Therapy with DRX9000

We have been providing spinal decompression in San Francisco for around 10 years now. The machine we use is the DRX9000. Prior to this, patients that did not respond favorably to chiropractic care were referred for surgical consultation.

Over the past 10 years we have helped thousands of herniated disc patients return to more normal lives and prevent back surgery.

About half of our spinal decompression patients continue on with maintenance care. They do this because they are happy with the results and wish to maintain them. The frequency of maintenance care varies from once every 3 months to around once per month in advanced cases.

Your spinal decompression doctor will usually have a good idea of what you need from how you respond to the initial intensive care, which is 20 visits over a 6 week period.

As far as what to expect from decompression therapy…some report a complete resolution of their low back pain or sciatica. A small minority report no change at all. And everyone else reports they are much better than they were and glad they did the treatment.

Sure, some patients do not respond to decompression…it’s just the way it is. But you know what? They are still whole and can pursue other treatment options.

If you have surgery you may be disqualified from decompression…so why not try spinal decompression first?

To find out if you are a candidate for spinal decompression in San Francisco call 415-392-2225. Ask for a complimentary consultation.

 

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Sciatica Relief with Spinal Decompression

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Lumbar decompression with the DRX9000

We have been treating Sciatica in the San Francisco Financial District for over 20 years now. Most of the time, chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy will bring low back pain and sciatica under control. However, about 10-15% of the time it wont.

Sciatica is mostly caused by pinched nerves in the lumbar spine due to herniated and bulging discs. But sometimes the discs are trapped, injured, and lodged into place and it is beyond the scope of chiropractic or physical therapy…what now?

Well…up until about 10 years ago we would need to refer out for surgical consultation and possibly back surgery. That is when we decided to purchase our first DRX9000 lumbar spinal decompression system.  We did extensive research on decompression machines and chose the DRX9000 because it was the best. The DRX9000 is designed and built for maximum results and patient comfort. Sure, it was the most expensive machine on the market, but you get what you pay for.

Anyway, we now have a “next step” for low back pain and sciatica patients that do not respond to conventional therapies. The DRX9000 actually targets the specific spinal level where the disc bulge or herniation is and over the course of about 20-24 visits rehabilitates and restores the injured disc to the extent healing is possible. That’s right…this is NOT magic and there are limitations to matter. But still…in the overwhelming majority of all cases the patients are satisfied with the outcomes and many choose ongoing maintenance care (optional).

So, if you are looking for sciatica relief in San Francisco please call 415-392-2225. Ask for a complimentary consultation with one of our spinal decompression doctors.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Neck Pain and Cervical Disk Herniation

 

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DRX9000c Cervical Decompression

We have been providing nonsurgical treatment for herniated disks (also spelled herniated disc with a c) for over 21 years. We currently incorporate cervical spinal decompression with the DRX9000c into our treatment protocols and have had great success with the most difficult of cases. 

Neck pain can arise from many sources. There are ligaments that hold bones to other bones that are non-elastic and very strong. When injured, the term, “sprain” is applied. The muscle and/or its attachment (the tendon) can tear as well, which is called a “strain.” But, what is it that people refer to when they say, “…I slipped a disk in my neck!”?

           

The disks lay between the vertebrae in the front of the spine, and they are part of the primary support and shock absorbing system of our neck and back. There are 6 disks in the neck, 12 in the mid-back and 5 in the low back for a total of 23. The disks in the low back are big, like the vertebral bodies they lie between, and get progressively smaller as they go up the spine towards the head. When we bend our neck forwards, the disk compresses, and opens wider when we look up. It forms a wedge shape when we side bend left or right, and it twists when we rotate or turn the head.

           

The terms, “…a slipped disk, a herniated disk, a ruptured disk, a bulging disk” (and more), all mean something similar, if not exactly the same thing. A central part of the disk is liquid-like and can herniate in any direction. When it does, it can create pain IF it pinches something, or it may be painless if it doesn’t. In fact, since the invention of the CAT scan and MRI, many (“normal”) people have been found  on the scan to have some type of disk “derangement” (alteration of the normal integrity of the disk), with 50%+ showing bulging disk(s) and 21% showing frank herniations WITH NO PAIN AT ALL! So, in the absence of shooting pain down an arm from the neck, or when there is no numbness or weakness in the arm, why order an MRI? It may show bulges or herniations that are not “clinically” important, and may falsely lead a doctor to recommend surgery when it’s not needed.

           

There are “KEY” findings in the history and examination that leads us to the diagnosis of a cervical disk injury. From the history, the disk patient often has arm pain, numbness, and/or muscle weakness that follows a specific pathway, such as numbness to the thumb/index finger (C6 nerve), middle of the hand & 3rd finger (C7) or to the pinky & ring finger (C8). Certain positions, such as looking up, usually irritate the neck and arm, and bending the head forward relieves it. Another unique history and exam finding is if the patient finds relief by putting the arm up and over their head. Similarly, letting the arm hang down is often associated with irritation. Other examination findings unique to a cervical disk injury include reproducing the arm pain by placing the head in certain positions such as bending the head back and to the side simultaneously. Another is compressing the head into the shoulders. When lifting up on the head (traction), relief of arm pain is common. The neurological exam will usually show a reduction of sensation when we gently poke them with a sharp object, and/or they may have weakness when compared to the opposite side.

Often times, patients will present to our San Francisco Back and Neck Pain Center with carpal tunnel like symptoms without neck pain. They end up with a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) when the true cause is a herniated disk in the neck Or, they may have both CTS and a herniated disk in the neck. This is called “Double Crush Syndrome” and is a common diagnosis at our clinic.

           

Chiropractic treatments can be very successful in resolving cervical disk herniation signs and symptoms, and should CERTAINLY be tried before agreeing to a surgical correction. Often, the surgeon will recommend a fusion of 2 or more neck vertebrae, sometimes with a metal plate in the front of the spine. This increases the load on either side of the fusion and can create problems above and below the fusion leading to more surgery down the road.  Trust me, try chiropractic first or cervical decompression with the DRX9000c first. You’ll be glad you did!

           

We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your health-care services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule a complimentary consultation for cervical herniated disk treatment in San Francisco please call 415-392-2225.

 

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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How do you know if your spinal decompression is working?

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DRX9000 Lumbar Decompression

We have been providing spinal decompression therapy in San Francisco for 8 years now. During this time we have performed over 20,000 decompression treatments to thousands of patients. We were the first to offer the DRX9000 in San Francisco.

The protocol for the DRX9000 is 20 sessions. The recommended treatment is 5x for 2 weeks, 3x for 2 weeks, and 2x for 2 weeks. When they conduct research this is what they do.

In reality, not all herniated or bulging disc patients can adhere to this treatment protocol due to family, work or school schedules. And honestly, sometimes we think the treatment might be too much for someone to handle. So…we treat each patient on an individual basis, sometime starting at only 2-3 times per week.

How do we know the 20 spinal decompression sessions will be enough?

We don’t…sometimes it takes more…but it rarely takes less. Sure, if you are a young adult (under 25 years old) and have a single level disc herniation, say at L5-S1, and an otherwise healthy spine, we may recommend 15 sessions.  Other than this scenario, we usually do 20-26 sessions.

In our experience it’s best to complete the program…even if you are feeling better after say 10 sessions. It’s kind of like when you take antibiotics…you feel better before the problem is fixed.

We often have patients that want to only do 10 sessions to see how they feel…but honestly…even if you are not feeling results, it does not mean the decompression therapy is not working. Some of our most dramatic results have happened at the end of treatment…in the last 5 sessions…and the results have lasted years.

And you should never stop after 10 sessions if you are feeling better…because you may risk a relapse.

What we recommend is deciding before you start that you are going to complete the program. Sure, we can split your payments up to make them more affordable…but don’t jeopardize your potential outcome by doing too little…that just does not make sense.

We will do it if you want…but we recommend you “stay the course”.  Because if you do the results will be more permanent. And we have the experience to know. We have seen patients that have done partial treatment get partial results. We we want this to be life changing and long lasting…and so should you!

To schedule an appointment with a spinal decompression doctor in San Francisco call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Low Back Pain and The Way You Sleep

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Low Back Pain

We have been providing low back pain and sciatica relief in San Francisco for over 20 years now in the Financial District.

Low back pain (LBP) and sciatica can arise from a lot of causes, most commonly from bending, lifting, pulling, pushing, and twisting. However, there are other possible causes, including sleep. This not only includes sleeping in a crooked or faulty position, such as falling asleep on a couch, in a chair or while riding in a car, but also from the lack of sleep. So the question is, how much sleep is needed to feel restored and how much sleep is needed to avoid low back pain?

            It’s been shown that the lack of sleep, or chronic sleep loss, can lead to serious diseases including (but not limited to): heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. Sleepiness can also result in a disaster; as was the case in the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez, as well as the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. With sleep deprivation, our reaction time is slowed down, and hence, driving safety is a major issue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue causes more than 100,000 crashes per year with 1500 annual crash-related deaths in the US alone. This problem is greatest in people under 25 years old. Job related injuries are also reportedly more frequently, especially repeat injuries in workers complaining of daytime sleepiness which resulted in more sick days. It’s also well published that sleep plays a crucial role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep impairs concentration, attention, alertness, reasoning, and general cognitive function. In essence, it makes it more difficult to learn efficiently. Also, getting into a deep sleep cycle plays a critical role in “consolidating memories” in the brain, so if you don’t get to a deep sleep stage (about 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep), it’s more difficult to remember what you’ve learned. An interesting study (U. of Pennsylvania) reported that people who slept less than 5 hours/night for 7 nights felt stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. As shown in another study of 10,000 people, over time, insomnia (the lack of sleep) increases the chances by 5-fold for developing clinical depression. Other clinical studies have published many other negative effects of sleep deprivation, of which some include aging of the skin, forgetfulness, weight gain, and more.

            Regarding low back pain, what comes first? Does LBP cause sleep interference or does sleep deprivation cause the LBP (or both)? It’s been shown that sleep loss can lower your pain threshold and pain tolerance, making any existing pain feel worse, so it works both ways. Specific to LBP, in a 28-year, 902 metal industry worker study, sleep disturbances (insomnia and/or nightmares) predicted a 2.1-fold increase in back pain hospitalizations with one and a 2.4-fold increase with both sleep disturbance causes (insomnia and nightmares). Other studies have shown patients with chronic LBP had less restful sleep and more “alpha EEG” sleep compared to controls. Similar sleep pattern differences using EEG (electroencephalogram – measures brain waves) have been shown when comparing chronic LBP patients with vs. without depression compared to controls (non-LBP, non-depressed subjects).

            So the BOTTOM LINE, talk to us about how chiropractic helps reduce LBP, stress and facilitates sleep. There are also nutritional benefits from Melatonin, valarian root, and others that we can discuss. Now, go to bed and get a good night’s sleep!

It IS possible to break this low back pain, sleep deprivation cycle with chiropractic adjustments and/or nonsurgical spinal decompression with the DRX9000.

            We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule an appointment for low back pain relief in San Francisco call 415-392-2225. Mention this article for a complimentary consultation.

 

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Is it Low Back or Hip Pain?

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Back Pain

When patients present with low back pain, it is not uncommon for pain to arise from areas other than the low back, such as the hip. There are many tissues in the low back and hip region that are susceptible to injury with have overlapping pain pathways that often make it challenging to isolate the truly injured area. Hip pain can present in many different ways.

When considering the anatomy of the low back (lumbar spine) and hip, and the nerves that innervate the hip come from the low back, it’s no wonder that differentiating between the two conditions is often difficult. Complaints may include the inside, outside, front or back of the thigh, the knee, the buttocks, the sacroiliac joint, or the low back and yet, the hip may truly be the pain generator with any of these presentations. To make diagnosis even more complex, the hip pain patient may present one day with what appears to be sciatic nerve pain (that is, pain shooting down the back of the leg to the knee if mild or, to the foot if more severe) but the next time, with only groin pain. When pain radiates down a leg, the almost automatic impression by both the patient and the health care provider is, “…it’s a pinched nerve.” But again, it could be the hip and NOT a pinched nerve that is creating the leg pain pattern. Throwing yet another wrench in the works is the fact that a patient can have more than one condition at the same time. So, they truly MAY simultaneously have BOTH a low back problem AND a hip problem. In fact, its actually unusual to x-ray the low back of a hip pain patient without seeing some low back condition(s) like degenerative disk disease, osteoarthritis (spurs off the vertebrae), or combination of these. So, how do we differentiate between hip vs. low back pain when it is common for both low back and hip pain to often coincide?

During our history, we often ask the question, “…what activities make your pain worse?” If the patient replies that weight bearing activities like standing, walking, getting up from sitting, etc., provoke the pain (and they point to the front or side of the hip), a hip related diagnosis is favored but, it STILL may be arising from the low back or both! If they say, “…crossing my right leg over the other hurts in my groin,” that’s getting more hip pain specific as hip rotation is frequently lost before the forward flexion motion. When we ask the hip pain patient to point to the area of greatest discomfort, they usually point to the front of the hip or groin, and less often to the inner and/or anterior thigh or knee. Non-weight bearing positions like sitting or lying are almost always immediately pain relieving. When there is arthritis in the hip, motion loss is often reported and may include a shorter walking stride and pain usually gets worse the longer these patients are on their feet. Initiating motion often hurts, sometimes even in bed when rolling over. During the chiropractic examination, with the patient lying on the back with the knee and hip both bent 90˚, moving the bent knee outwards or inwards will almost always reproduce hip/groin area pain. Pulling on or, applying traction to the affected leg usually, “…feels good.” Knee & ankle reflexes and sensation are normal but muscle strength may be weak due to pain. Bending the low back into different positions does not reproduce pain if the pain is only coming from the hip. Though challenging sometimes, we are well trained to be able to differentiate between hip and low back pain and will treat both areas when it is appropriate. This is the case more often than not.

            We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule an appointment with one of our San Francisco Chiropractors call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Is Spinal Decompression Traction?

There are many spinal decompression skeptics out there…I know…I used to be one. After-all, the idea that a disc herniation can be repaired with a machine is beyond the comprehension of many…including some medical doctors and so called spine experts.

drx9000 therapy san francisco, 94111
DRX9000 Lumbar Decompresion

It is not uncommon at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center, for a herniated disc patient to tell us that their orthopedic surgeon said that spinal decompression is nothing more than expensive traction and chances are it wont do anything.

Well…tell that to the hundreds of thousands of disc patients worldwide that are now living more active lifestyles (many avoiding surgery) because of nonsurgical spinal decompression.

So is spinal decompression traction?

Hardly…traction pulls on the entire spine without any regard to the individual patient “muscle guarding” response. When you apply force to an injured spinal segment the body tries to protect it by guarding against the pull with it’s muscles…it’s involuntary. The muscle response varies patient to patient so there is no way to anticipate it effectively…you can only react to it…which is what computerized spinal decompression does.

In fact, this is the primary difference between conventional traction and spinal decompression. Nonsurgical disc decompression systems have a built in computerized biofeedback mechanism that instantaneously senses a patients muscle guarding response and adjusts the amount of force being applied to the pull accordingly. Big difference.

Plus, spinal decompression systems adjust the angle of pull precisely to better target the injured discs. Spinal decompression machines such as the DRX9000 actually have a split bed (one of them floats) to negate the force of gravity, allowing for enlargement of the disc space.

Modern decompression also creates a negative pressure inside the disc which pulls the herniated disc fragments back to the center of the disc where they belong. Regular traction just pulls…and pulls..that’s it.

So when herniated disc patients ask us if spinal decompression is traction, we happily inform them of the differences. One thing for sure…anyone who has ever had conventional traction quickly realizes they are different animals as soon as they try decompression therapy for the first time…it’s an amazing sensation.

So there you go. Nonsurgical spinal decompression is not traction. Spinal decompression is the most advanced technology in the marketplace today for the nonsurgical treatment of neurovascular compression syndromes such as lumbar and cervical herniated and bulging discs.

To find out if you are a candidate for spinal decompression at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Clinic…call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary DRX9000 consultation.

Directions to San Francisco Spinal Decompression

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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