I am a 39 y.o very active female and after 2 years of lower back pain I finally had xrays and MRI done. The MRI reports reads: 'disk desease at the L4-5 and L5-S1 level' and 'small annular tear in the L5-S1 disk with a very tiny central disk herniation. No evidence of nerve root impingement'. My doctor suggested some stretches, but after about a month not working out, not lifting, not bending and taking it easy I feel worse than before. I even started having trouble walking with the pain centered on the right of my lower back and right leg. I went to see a chiropractor this morning and he says he can help by adjusting my spine that will relieve pressure from nerves. He has 32 years of practice but I am sceptical. Has anyone on this site used a chiropractor in a similar situation? Do they help or is it a complete waste of time and money?
Thanks in advance.
Thank you very much for your response. I spent the whole day yesterday reading posts on this site and it was very depressing. There are so many people who are constantly in pain and it seems that they tried every possible treatment with no result. I see that many did go for a surgery (which was mentioned to me as well), but most of them are still in pain and I hear that when it comes to back problems doctors often don't know what they are doing... I am going to try a chiropractor, I'll see him tomorrow and if I get any positive results I'll post them here. Thanks again.
Do keep in mind that the success stories post fusion aren't hanging around here. Most of the time, this surgery goes very well and the patient gets his/her life back. There is a 3-5% failure rate.
I would echo what justoneofus said about chiros. My first hand experience with them has not been positive!
Please remember that all chiros are different first of all. You don't come across people bashing the entire dentistry profession if they come across a "bad " dentist. They go to a different one. For some reason chiros get a bad rep for simply trying to aid in the pain relieving process without the patient having to take a controlled substance. If something is putting pressure on the nerves in your back (such as an inflamed disc), common sense will tell you that the only thing to relieve the pain is to remove the nerve pressure with a spinal alignment to take the stress off the disc (NO pill,injection, or exercise can do that). Once the chiro has done his/her job in realigning the spine as best as it can, then, Physical Therapy will strengthen your spine once the pressure is off the nerve in order to help everything stabilize. Also, just as with an exercise routine, chiropractic takes time and commitment. Nobody loses weight by going to the gym "every now and then" . It takes repetition and dedication on the part of the patient and the doctor. If your a chiro patient and something is not working for you, you need to let your chiro know that. They, like ALL drs., are not mind-readers and can change their technique just as an MD can change their prescription to something that can better suit you. This is my point of view on the situation, being that I see a chiro religiously who has gotten me back on my feet from a severe scoliosis and probably helped me avoid a very serious spinal surgery. ALL spinal surgeries are serious and need to be treated that way!!! I'd be more concerned about the doctor who is eager to cut on me then a chiro who is trying to help me avoid the surgery!!!
Last edited by jcspina76; 09-17-2008 at 01:19 PM.
Reason: Adding line
I do agree that all chiros are different. And they do have their time and place. But generally speaking, people with serious back issues should be cleared by a medical doctor before letting someone "crack" their back.
I've been to, I think, 9 different chiros over the years. Only 1 out of all of them did anything to help me in the long term. Most did nothing significant at all for me, but one did actual damage to me! Another one could have permanently paralyzed me if he had succeeded in doing what he was trying to do. I was very naive!!!
I would not recommend a chiropractor because of the annular tear and small herniation. They can easily cause you to have even more problems by doing adjustments.
I saw one when my back problems flared up three years ago. If I hadn't, I doubt that I would have gone down the road of needing to have surgery.
They are very good at treating sciatica, when it is not caused by herniations or tears in the discs.....not so great when dealing with problems like that..and in fact, can make things considerably worse.
What type of adjustments are you talking about? Because my chiro can use several techniques, including one which does not involve any twisting of the spine. Another one utilizes a tool that can stimulate the joint mechanoreceptors just as an adjustment can. Another technique called Flexion/Distraction can stretch the joints and increase the spaces between the discs without any stress on the discs. I think people need to do more research before jumping to the conclusion that chiropractic can harm people.
How do I know what to watch for when dealing with a chiro? I had my first adjustment yesterday and I feel no different...
I don't even know whether he can help me. It turned out that I have a birth defect - I am missing lamina in L3,4 and 5. My original MRI noted that I had laminectomy - which I did not, so now they say I probably never developed it. I also understand that it's very rare to have lamina missing in 3 disks in a row. I am not even sure if I am explaining this right... Anyway, the chiro says he'll 'unlock' my disks and restore nerves functions... If he is doing something wrong, will I feel pain/dizziness/anything that will alert me to stop treatments?
Thanks for sharing your experiences... I am also very naive and I know close to nothing about all these things...
I said that chiropractic treatment has it's place.....if there is nothing seriously wrong with your back, in other words herniations, canal stenosis, foraminal stenosis, or spondololysthesis, then there is nothing wrong with seeing a chiropractor. But, a chiro can do nothing for any of those above mentioned conditions. I had all of them, and never should have been adjusted .....period.
I am well aware that there are actuators that chiros can use, and that they can use the table to perform the adjustment so as not to twist the body as well, but those are limited in their usage. They can offer heat and massage as well as diothermy treatments which may help with muscle spasms but in the end, if the problem is not muscular , it will not help.
There are many good chiros out there and there are also many not so good ones.....I happen to have dealt with a not so good one.
As far as what you should watch out for , if you develop foot drop, or increasing or spreading numbness, or pain after an adjustment, then you need to stop chiro treatment and go see a physiatrist or orthopedic or neurosurgeon who deals with back pain....Chiropractic treatment is not supposed to hurt.
I tried Chiropractor as an option for disc disease-no disc left between two vertebrae-extensive pain in right leg(sciatica)-he looked at my x-rays and said he would do two adjustments and if there was no improvement he would send me right back to my Orthopedic Specialist. He was honest and careful-it didn't worked and I ended up with a successful fusiov. The recovery was really great-only two years later I have enough scar tissue that its pressing the nerve root again. This isn't the doctor's fault. ITs how my body heals.
Disc disease means that they are going to degenerate-period. I was taking 8-10 vicodin daily. The Ortho and Physiatrist both recommended the fusion. They said I would get my LIfe back and I did. I am 80% of what I was. I will take that considering the size of the surgery I had. I am still active-work full time, garden, clean my own house, etc...A pretty normal life. I still take some meds for the nerve pain but I am better able to live my life!
Praying for you!
I see a chiro and I have disc disease and spondy. My Ortho gave the go ahead to go back to my chiro with caution on a few areas that need special care.. You should seek out a chiro who does the computer aided adjustments. It's very non violent. I am lucky in treatment, my chiro helped develop the actuated adjustments so he knows what he's doing. As jcspina said there are many different types of treatment.
Take your MRI report with you when you do go. Do those stretches , it hurts now but will help once you get some muscle tone back. Even my chiro tells me to keep up on stretching and to not over do things when the pain is subsided for a day or 2. It's not a cureall, with back problems I don't think there is such a thing. We make the best of what we can.