Tag Archives: pinched nerves

Pinched Nerve in the Low Back?

pinched nerve treatment san francisco
Pinched Lumbar Nerve Root of Sciatic Nerve

We have been providing treatment for low back pain and sciatica in the SF Bay Area for over 20 years now. We use a combination of chiropractic adjustments, massage, motion extension traction, custom exercises, deep tissue laser therapy, and nonsurgical spinal decompression when indicated. During this time we have helped over 5000 patients with low back pain and related disorders.

A primary cause of low back pain and sciatica is a “Pinched Nerve” in the low back. Pinched nerves are generally caused by herniated or bulging discs in the lumbar spine, most commonly at L5-S1.

Nerve tissue is very sensitive to pressure. In fact, just the weight of a pencil erasure on a nerve can alter it’s ability to function by 60% and cause severe pain and dysfunction.

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body…it can be the diameter of a quarter at it’s greatest circumference. Bulging discs, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, disc degeneration, and various conditions like “Piriformis Syndrome” can put pressure on the sciatic nerve or nerve roots causing “pinched nerves”.

Typically, a patient will feel various combinations of low back pain, leg pain, numbness, tingling, aching, weakness, and muscle stiffness and spasms that become progressively worse over time. There can also be pinched nerves with no symptoms at all…for a while and then BOOM…when you least expect it lightning strikes. This is fairly common actually, and can be very alarming.

The solution for pinched nerves in the low back depends on the nature and severity of the problem. Conservative chiropractic, massage, laser, and ice are always the first thing we try. That is of course unless the patient is unable to handle it. In rare cases such as this we do laser and ice to try to reduce inflammation and then maybe some muscle stim and light massage.

Spinal decompression with the DRX9000 is also an option in the beginning as it is very safe and gentle. The DRX is designed and built to treat neurovascular compression syndromes such as bulging and herniated lumbar discs. However, the cost is greater than chiropractic as is the time commitment…so typically we try more conservative chiropractic first.

In any case, many chiropractors that have included disc decompression and deep tissue laser therapy into their protocols (such as us) have become “one stop shops” for pinched nerves due to herniated and bulging spinal discs.

If you or someone you know requires treatment for a pinched nerve in San Francisco, please 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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The Neck and Shoulder Pain Relationship

neck and shoulder pain treatment san francisco
Neck and Shoulder Pain Connection

Given the close anatomical proximity between the neck and shoulder, it’s no wonder the two are intimately related. In our hectic lifestyles of driving, hunching over computers, talking on the phone, not to mention stress arising from multiple sources, the muscles in the neck, upper back and shoulders seem to tighten up and hurt at the same time. The question is, between the neck and the shoulder, which one is the “chicken” and which is the “egg?”

The neck gives rise to the nerves that innervate the head (C1-3 nerve roots), the shoulders (C4-5), and the arms (C5-T2). Hence, there are 8 sets of nerves in the neck, 12 sets in the thoracic (middle back region), and 6 sets in the lumbar or low back region and 5 sets in the sacrum, all of which travel to a specific destination allowing us to move our muscles and to feel hot, cold, sharp, dull, vibration and position sense. When these nerves get pinched or irritated, they lose their function and the ability to feel, making it challenging to button a shirt, thread a needle, or pick up small objects.  It can also make it difficult to unscrew jars, squeeze a spray bottle, or lift a milk container from the refrigerator. Hence, the nerves arising from the neck, when pinched, can have a dramatic effect on our ability to carry out our desired activities in which the shoulder, arm and hand use is required.

On the other hand, when the shoulder is injured (such as a rotator cuff tear), this can also result in neck problems. There are several ways pain from the neck affects the shoulder and vice versa. When the shoulder is injured, pain “information” is relayed to the brain starting at the nerve endings located in the area of the shoulder injury, transmitting impulses between the shoulder and the neck, and finally from the neck to the sensory cortex of the brain. That information is processed and communication to the motor cortex prompts nerve signals to be sent back to the shoulder through the neck and to the injured area (in this case, the shoulder). A reflex muscle spasm often occurs as a result, serving as kind of an “internal cast” as the muscle spasm tries to protect the injured shoulder. This can become a “vicious cycle” or never-ending “loop” until the reflex is interrupted (perhaps by a chiropractic adjustment). Another means by which both areas become injured has to do with modifications in function. We tend to change the way we go about our daily chores when an injury occurs to the shoulder, such as putting on a coat differently by leaning over to the opposite side. These functional changes can also give rise to neck pain. Because of this reflex cycle, as well as the close anatomic relationship between the neck and shoulder, not to mention the “domino effect” of soft-tissue injuries which seem to change the function at the next joint level, it’s not surprising that both the neck AND the shoulder require simultaneous treatment for optimal treatment benefit. However, the good news is, regardless which one is the “chicken or the egg,” chiropractic treatments of shoulder injuries will almost always include the neck and vice-versa.

            We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare 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 an appointment with one of our chiropractors in San Francisco call 415-392-2225. Mention this neck and shoulder pain article and receive 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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