Tag Archives: sciatica

Spinal Decompression or Back Surgery for a Herniated Disc?

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Spinal Decompression Therapy with DRX9000

We have been providing spinal decompression therapy in San Francisco for over 10 years now.

Many herniated disc patients are told they need back surgery. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. How do they know for sure?

Well, welcome to the life of a spinal decompression doctor. This is what we are dealing with every day. I would like to give you my take on the situation.

In my opinion, a herniated disc patient should NOT rush to have back surgery. Because once they do, in many cases, the will be permanently disqualified from ever trying nonsurgical spinal decompression.

In addition, many herniated discs will repair naturally in time. In fact, they say that more people than not are actually walking around with bulging and herniated discs and do not even know they have them…and never will. Not all patients with a herniated disc in the low back experience low back pain or sciatica.

That’s right, the majority of lumbar disc herniations do not even cause symptoms.

But in certain cases, the disc is herniated in such a way that the body is unable to re-position it naturally or heal it such that it does not interfere with a person’s life. In situations like this conservative chiropractic care can be very effective.

There is however a subset of all herniated and bulging disc patients that do not respond to chiropractic, drugs, cortisone, physical therapy or anything for that matter. Some of these patients are suffering daily with sever low back pain and sciatica. many are unable to sleep and end up taking various kinds of medications day in and day out. Life is miserable.

These are the type of back pain patients that have a tendency to want to have surgery…they will try anything. In my clinical experience this type of patient represents about 10-15% of all herniated disc patients and is still a lot of people.

These are the perfect candidates for spinal decompression. The machine we use is the DRX9000 but there are many fine decompression systems out there.

Unless it is a medical emergency (rare) or you are disqualified from decompression therapy (rare), I recommend a course of spinal decompression to see if a patient will respond. Disc decompression is very safe and gentle. It takes about 6 weeks (20 sessions) to work through the protocol and make a determination if the treatment was successful.

If the DRX9000 does not achieve a favorable outcome and desired result you are still whole and able to pursue all other treatment options including back surgery.

If you have a spinal fusion you can never try decompression. So, why not try decompression first?

So there you go…that’s my 2 cents for what it’s worth. I have helped hundreds of herniated disc patients avoid surgery…the next one could be YOU!

To find out if you are a candidate for spinal decompression in San Francisco please 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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Spinal Decompression and L5-S1 Disc Herniation

drx9000 in san francisco
Spinal Decompression Therapy with DRX9000

We have been providing spinal decompression in San Francisco for over 10 years.

The most common disc to herniate in the lumbar spine is the L5-S1 Disc. The L5-S1 disc is the very last disc in the spine and is positioned between the L5 lumbar vertebrae and the Sacrum in the L5-S1 disc space.

The reason this disc is more prone to disc bulges and herniation is because it takes on more stress than the other spinal discs because it is the last one at the base of the spine.

Because of this,  the majority of the patients we treat with spinal decompression therapy have L5-S1 disc herniations.

For the most part, a disc herniation will develop slowly over time as part of a degenerative process that will include the surrounding bone and ligaments. The disc will lose height, water content and flexibility.

As this process unfolds the outer containment walls of the disc give way to the gelatinous center of the disc which pushes out onto the nerves and spinal cord resulting in pain and dysfunction. Sometimes sciatica develops, which is pain in the leg/s.

In any case, spinal decompression is often able to achieve favorable outcomes even in the worst of cases. A favorable outcome can be anything from avoiding surgery to a complete resolution of the problem. In rare cases disc decompression does nothing to help. Just know…this is the exception and not the rule.

If you have been diagnosed with an L5-Si lumbar disc herniation or any other kind of herniation, disc bulge, degenerative disc disease, or facet syndrome…you may be a candidate for disc decompression with the DRX9000.

To find out if you are a candidate for spinal decompression in San Francisco please 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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Spinal Decompression Maintenance Care

drx9000 in san francisco
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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Can Spinal Decompression Make My Sciatica Worse?

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Spinal Decompression Therapy with DRX9000

We have been providing sciatica treatment in San Francisco for over 22 years now in the Financial District.

Sciatica or leg pain is mostly caused by pinched nerves in the low back. Pinched nerves are usually the result of bulging or herniated lumbar discs secondary to spinal degeneration and ongoing misalignment’s and abnormal wear and tear.

The symptom of sciatica, and sciatica is a symptom not a cause, is usually the last thing to occur in the degenerative process, not the first. What this means is that when a patient presents with sciatica they have usually had a problem that has been developing for a long time vs. something that is new.

Once a patient has an MRI and the source of the sciatica is located and quantified (spinal disc level of bulging or herniated disc) we will begin spinal disc decompression per the manufacturers protocols superimposed with common sense and our clinic experience.

The bottom line is this: YES, it is possible for your sciatica to feel worse before it feels better.

Just like many healing or cleansing processes, there are often toxins and inflammation that have been in place for an extended time. Plus, even though the the injured spinal discs are not where they belong, they have become used to being there. When we begin the process of restoring normal position and function the body fights it and there can be an increase in symptoms. Fortunately this is usually temporary, but can go on for several weeks or more.

Sure, spinal disc decompression does not help every single person that does it, but soreness in the beginning is not an indicator of eventual results. Listen to you doctor who will most likely have specific home care recommendations to support your care. And hang in there and let the treatment unfold. In the end…chances are, you will be glad you did 🙂

To schedule an appointment for sciatica treatment 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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Low Back Pain Statistics

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Low Back Pain

We have been providing Low Back Pain Relief in San Francisco for 22 years now.

As stated last month, the prevalence of low back pain (LBP) is REALLY high! In fact, it’s the second most common cause of disability among adults in the United States (US) and a very common reason for lost days at work. The total cost of back pain in the US, including treatment and lost productivity, ranges between $100 billion to $200 billion a year! Is low back pain on the rise, staying the same, or lessening? Let’s take a look!

            In the past two decades, the use of health care services for chronic LBP (that means LBP > 3 months) has substantially increased. When reviewing studies reporting insurance claims information, researchers note a significant increase in the use of spinal injections, surgery, and narcotic prescriptions. There has been an increase in the use of spinal manipulation by chiropractors as well, along with increased physical therapy services and primary care physician driven non-narcotic prescriptions. In general, LBP sufferers who are chronic (vs. acute) are the group using most of these services and incurring the majority of costs. The reported utilization of the above mentioned services was only 3.9% in 1992 compared to 10.2% in 2006, just 11 years later. The question now becomes, why is this? Possible reasons for this increase health care use in chronic LBP sufferers may be: 1) There are simply more people suffering from chronic LBP; 2) More chronic LBP patients are deciding to seek care or treatment where previously they “just accepted and lived with it” and didn’t pursue treatment; or, 3) A combination of these factors. Regardless of which of the above three is most accurate, the most important issue is, what can we do to help chronic back pain sufferers?

            As we’ve discussed in the past, an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise within YOUR personal tolerance level, not smoking, getting enough sleep, and obtaining chiropractic adjustments every two weeks are well documented methods of “controlling” chronic LBP (as there really ISN’T a “cure” in many cases). You may be surprised to hear that maintenance care has good literature support for controlling chronic LBP. In the 8/15/11 issue of SPINE (Vol. 36, No. 18, pp1427-1437), two Medical Doctors (MDs) penned the article, “Does Maintained Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain Result in Better Long-Term Outcomes?” Here, they took 60 patients with chronic LBP (cLBP) and randomly assigned them into one of three groups: 1) 12 treatments of sham (fake) SMT (spinal manipulation) have over a one month period; 2) 12 treatments, over a one month period but no treatment for the following nine months; or 3) 12 treatments for one month AND then SMT every two weeks for the following nine months. To measure the differences between the three groups, they measured pain, disability, generic health status, and back-specific patient satisfaction at baseline, 1-, 4-, 7-, and 10-month time intervals. They found only the patients in the second and third groups experienced significantly lower pain and disability scores vs. the first group after the first month of treatments (at three times a week). BUT, only the third group showed more improvement at the 10-month evaluation. Also, by the tenth month, the pain and disability scores returned back to nearly the initial baseline/initial level in group two. The authors concluded that, “To obtain long-term benefit, this study suggests maintenance SM after the initial intensive manipulative therapy.” Other studies have reported fewer medical tests, lower costs, fewer doctor visits, less work absenteeism, and a higher quality of life when maintenance chiropractic visits are utilized. The question is, WHEN will insurance companies and general practitioners start RECOMMENDING chiropractic maintenance care for chronic LBP patients?

                        We realize you have a choice in whom you consider for your health care provision and we sincerely appreciate your trust in choosing our service for those needs.  If you, a friend, or family member requires care for back pain, we would be honored to render our services.

For Low Back Pain Relief in San Francisco 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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Sciatica Treatment in San Francisco

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Sciatica Treatment in SF

We have been providing natural sciatica relief in San Francisco for over 20 years.  We use a combination of chiropractic, spinal decompression, massage, exercise, and deep tissue laser therapy to achieve favorable outcomes in the majority of sciatica cases.

The primary cause of sciatica (leg pain) is a “pinched nerve” in the lumbar spine. The majority of pinched nerves are the result of bulging or herniated lumbar discs. There are other causes of pinched nerves, like degenerative disc disease, facet syndrome. Piriformis Syndrome, spinal and foraminal stenosis, and vertebral subluxations (misalignment’s).

Sciatica may or may not be accompanied by low back pain.

Spinal decompression with the DRX9000 in conjunction with chiropractic or as a stand alone treatment is a very effective sciatica treatment and often provides instant relief. There is also a chance it can cause an increase in symptoms…temporarily. After-all, the treatment is physical, albeit gentle.

If we accept your case there is a very good chance we will achieve favorable results. We do not accept all cases…only those we feel we can help.

Sciatica can be very painful and debilitating and can persist as long as the underlying cause remains. Back surgery is usually not necessary in our opinion in most cases. We recently wrote about this on our  other blog (Low Back Surgery or Chiropractic: Study).

To find out if you are a candidate for sciatica treatment in San Francisco please 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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Low Back Pain Treatment

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Lumbar decompression with the DRX9000

We have been providing low back pain treatment in San Francisco for over 20 years in the Financial District. We use a combination of chiropractic, deep tissue laser therapy, massage, exercise, and spinal decompression with the DRX9000.

Most of the time spinal decompression is not necessary, but when it is, it’s nice to have onsite.

The most common causes of low back pain are subluxations (misalignment’s) in the lumbar spine, sacrum and pelvis, bulging and herniated lumbar discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and Piriformis Syndrome. There are others but they are rare.

When it comes to low back pain treatment it can be a little tricky. Sometimes patients get better right away and sometimes it takes a while. It depends on the patients age, level of spinal degeneration, any complications, and the nature and severity of the underlying cause of the back pain (which can be difficult to identify).

So, we take all the information we have and formulate a treatment plan. A typical treatment plan at our SF back pain center is 10 visits or so over a 3-4 week period. We will use spinal adjustments, massage, stretching, ice, and home/work modifications to achieve favorable outcomes in the majority of cases. If low back pain or sciatica persists we may want to order an MRI of the lumbar spine to quantify the problem and rule out herniated or bulging disc pathology.

Our next step is spinal decompression with the DRX9000. This is typically 20 sessions over 6-8 weeks. The sessions are one hour long and include muscle stimulation and ice…laser if needed. The cost is $3500. Sure, it’s expensive but we have helped over 2000 patients with the DRX9000 and most are happy they did the treatment. It’s all about quality of life. Decompression therapy is safe, gentle and highly effective.

If you are looking for low back pain treatment in San Francisco you should give us a call. Ask for a complimentary consultation and tour of the DRX9000.

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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Spinal Decompression or Back Surgery?

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Lumbar decompression with the DRX9000

We have been providing spinal decompression therapy in San Francisco for over 9 years now. The machine we use is the DRX9000. Spinal decompression machines are designed and built to treat disc herniations, disc bulges, disc degeneration, and spinal stenosis non-surgically.

Many of our patients have been told they need back surgery and want to try something less invasive first. Unless your condition is a medical emergency and you risk paralysis without immediate surgery, there is most likely no harm in trying spinal decompression first to see if it may help.

Some back surgeons will scare the heck out of you…especially some of the overseas doctors that are not familiar with the latest advancements with nonsurgical treatments.

If we accept a spinal decompression patient then we feel there is a very good chance of a favorable outcome…and we are usually right. If we are wrong then you are still whole and can pursue other treatment options.

Surgery on the other hand is permanent and cannot be reversed. Even a discectomy,  whereby the herniated disc fragments are removed, alters your structure and can predispose you to problems down the road in the same area or different areas of the spine.  And, the surgery may or may not even make you feel better. The patients that seek us out do not want to take this chance…at least not first.

So, if you have a lumbar disc herniation and are experiencing low back pain, sciatica, leg numbness or tingling, weakness or night pain, you should consider spinal disc decompression. You can always try surgery.

Plus, depending on the type of surgery…if it is a “fusion” surgery, you will forever be permanently disqualified from ever trying nonsurgical spinal decompression.

Why not try it first?

To schedule a complimentary in house or phone consultation at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center 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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Low Back Pain Relief

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Low Back Pain

Low back pain can often times be hard to diagnose and treat. It is not uncommon for doctors to think they know the underlying cause of a patient’s back pain or sciatica, only to find out later that they were wrong.

This is why we always advise against rushing into back surgery unless it is a medical emergency, because your doctor might just be wrong about what you think they are about to fix.

In our opinion it is always best to try natural solutions for low back pain first…treatments like chiropractic care or nonsurgical spinal decompression.  In the event the treatments do not deliver favorable outcomes you are still whole and can pursue other treatment options. If you rush into surgery you may be permanently disqualified from ever being able to try spinal decompression. And surgery is NOT reversible.

Chiropractic adjustments and low tech exercises have a very high success rate and patient satisfaction rate when it comes to low back pain. In fact, Consumer Reports ranks chiropractic #1 for back pain relief. But, chiropractic will not help all cases of back pain. Sometimes when the cause of the back pain is a herniated or bulging disc, chiropractic may even worsen the problem. This is when we turn to nonsurgical spinal decompression with the DRX9000.

The DRX9000 is designed and built to treat low back pain and sciatica due to herniated and bulging spinal discs. The DRX can also help degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and Piriformis Syndrome. The success rates are very high.

So, if you have been suffering with low back pain or sciatica and have been unable to find relief, you may want to see if you are a candidate for disc decompression therapy.

To find out if you are a candidate for Low Back Pain Relief in San Francisco at our Spinal Decompression Center, please call 415-392-2225 and 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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Low Back Pain? Things Not To Do

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Low Back Pain


Here is a partial list of things “Not To Do” if you have low back pain or sciatica:

STAY STILL: You’ve heard, “…don’t do that – you’ll get a bad back!” There is something to be said about being careful, but one can be too cautious as well. In order to determine how much activity vs. rest is appropriate, you have to gradually increase your activities by keeping track of how you feel both during and after an activity. If you do notice pain, it may be “safe” to continue depending on the type and intensity of the pain. In general, a sharp, knife-like pain is a warning sign that you should STOP what you’re doing, while an ache is not. Until you’re comfortable about which type of pain is “safe,” start out with the premise, “…if in doubt, stop.” If the recovery time is short (within minutes to hours), then no “harm” was done. If it takes days to recover, you overdid it. Think of a cut on your skin – if you pick at it too soon, it will re-bleed, but if you are careful, you can do a lot of things safely without “re-bleeding.” Talk to us about the proper way to bend, lift, pull, push, and perform any activity that you frequently have to do that often presents problems. There is usually a way to do that activity more safely!


SURGERY IS A “QUICK FIX”: Though in some cases this may inevitably be the end result for your back condition, most of the time, it is not needed. As a rule, don’t jump to a surgical option too soon. It’s tempting to view surgery as a “quick fix,” but non-surgical care at least for 4-6 weeks and maybe several months is usually the best approach. As the old saying goes, you can’t “un-do” a surgery, so wait. UNLESS there are certain warning signs such as: a) bowel or bladder weakness &/or, b) progressive neurological losses (worsening weakness in the leg). If there are no “surgical indicators” meaning, no instability, no radiating leg pain, and only low back pain that is non-specific and hard to isolate what is generating the pain, DO NOT have surgery as the chances of improvement following surgery drops off dramatically in this group. There are guidelines that we all should follow and they all support non-surgical care initially for 4-6 weeks. Chiropractic is one of the best options cited in these guidelines because it’s less costly, involves less time lost from work, and chiropractic carries the highest patient satisfaction. If chiropractic fails to deliver then there is nonsurgical spinal decompression with the DRX9000.


DON’T STRETCH – IT’S HARMFUL: You may have heard or read that stretching can actually increase or worsen your time if you’re a runner, reduce your ability to lift heavy weight (if you’re a weight lifter), or cycle as fast.  Though this seems obviously silly, there IS a growing body of evidence that has found this TO BE TRUE! HOWEVER, it appears (at least at present), that is applies primarily to static, long hold stretching and NOT to dynamic exercising like jumping jacks, toy-soldier like high kicks, or core stabilization. Moreover, no study YET has found a negative effect for non-athletic competitive activities or for low back pain specifically. A good general rule is, if you feel better after exercising, or in this case stretching, it’s probably better for you than not. Also, as stated last month, there is a “right vs. wrong” time to exercise and WAY to exercise. For example, when LBP occurs in flexion but reduces in extension, there is plenty of evidence published that performing exercises INTO the direction of pain relief is VERY helpful. So until you hear differently, KEEP ON STRETCHING, but follow our advice!  


            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 a complimentary consultation for low back pain relief in San Francisco call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post.

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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