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Does Spinal Degeneration Cause Back Pain?

Posted Apr 16 2010 12:00am

Chiropractor in san francisco
San Francisco Chiropractor Comments:

Many doctors will show back pain patients spinal x-rays which reveal spinal degeneration and suggest that the degeneration is the source of the back pain.

Is this true? I don't know...but neither do they.

Sure, you can tell if someone has spinal degeneration or degenerative disc disease, but you don't know if it's the source of the patients back pain or neck pain. At least not directly.

Hey...spinal degeneration is not a good thing...and most spine doctors know how to identify degenerative joint disease (DJD), spinal degeneration, and disc disease...it jumps right out at you on x-rays...and is easy for a patient to see. But is it causing a patients neck pain...or low back pain...or sciatica?

And is it something that can be treated with a drug or therapy? What about chiropractic?

It's not helping (your back pain) that's for sure (spinal degeneration)...but there is still know way to know if it is causing a patients back pain.

That's the debate that goes on anyway.

Here's my take: As far as treatment goes...it just depends on the treatment choices. Chiropractors know that the spine can degenerate when it is out of alignment. The spinal degeneration (spurs, inflammation, stenosis) can cause pressure on nerves which can cause back and neck pain. Some of it is treatable with chiropractic...some of it isn't.

So chiropractors work on correcting alignment and posture to the extent it is possible, which can slow down the degenerative process (not reverse it) and reduce inflammation.

And YES...the back pain or the neck pain, often subsides.

Can there be so much spinal degeneration and disc disease that chiropractic is unable to help? YES,  there is a point of no return with all degenerative processes. But from my experience, chiropractic can often help even when it looks like it's too late. You just need to be very gentle and maybe use other adjunctive forms of treatment such as Deep Tissue Laser Therapy to help reduce inflammation.

So...does spinal degeneration cause back pain? Yes, kind of...indirectly and directly by causing inflammation which can stimulate pain receptors and cause tissue swelling wihich can encroach on the environment of a nerve.  And actual bone on nerve (which is rare). Fixated joints can also fire pain signals.

Can chiropractic help? YES, but not always. Does medical care make sense? Probably in some cases if natural methods fail to deliver results.

So anyway, there you go. If you have back pain and spinal degeneration, maybe you should consider gentle chiropractic and laser. That's what I would do.

To find out if you are a candidate for care at Executive Express Chiropractic in downtown San Francisco...call 415-392-2225.  

Map to Executive Express Chiropractic

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