Affected By Low Back Pain?

Staring at your computer screen, you realize you need to take a break.

Deciding to get a drink of water, you stand up from your desk and head to the water cooler. While getting up from your desk, the phone that previously sat on your lap drops to the floor.

You bend down to pick it up, when … bang!

Pain in your low back has frozen you in position and you fight to stand back up. You find yourself hunched forward and to the side. Your low back is in spasm and barely lets you do even the tiniest of movements.

After work, you go home, take a shower, and try to relax and get ready for bed. You can’t get comfortable and you sleep terrible. The next morning is even worse. Pain killers and muscle relaxers aren’t touching it. You go to work and move around a little more and things begin to finally loosen up. A week later you are almost back to normal with only a little bit of pain in the mornings that gets better with a little movement.

You dodged a bullet. Phew.

A couple months go by and things are going great. You go to hunch over a fellow co-workers computer screen and all of a sudden, low back pain strikes again. Same pain — maybe worse this time. You go through the same process and just over a week later things are almost back to normal. But now you’re worried. What is going on? Is it a sprain or is it a disc herniation?

While many people are familiar with low back pain and disc herniation, disc herniation or disc bulges account for only one to three percent of all low back pain cases. According to research, half of the patients similar to the one above will be diagnosed as having a sprain/strain – this is wrong!

Internal Disc Derangement, or IDD, is probably something you have never heard from your doctor. Shockingly, this accounts for almost 40 percent of all low back pain sufferers.  Far too many times this is misdiagnosed, and mistreated!

Symptoms of IDD include:

  • antalgia (forward, hunched posture) with severe pain
  • guarded movement with muscle spasm
  • worse pain in the morning or with rest
  • worsening, multiple previous episodes and relief from symptoms within one to two weeks.

Odds are if you have ever hurt your low back and continue to struggle with pain, even on the rare occasion, this is you.  It is important to note that the muscle spasm and guarding is a protective mechanism of the disc to try to prevent further damage to the disc.

If left untreated the right way, IDD can develop into bigger problems, like disc herniation.  The muscle spasm and pain is NOT a sprain, and your hips are NOT out of alignment!  These are two of the biggest misconceptions with this problem that I see.

So what can you do?  With any pain and injury like this, it is best to get evaluated by a doctor that specializes in treating musculoskeletal conditions sooner rather than later.  With Internal Disc Derangement, the disc is injured – nothing can reverse time and fix that.  Usually, with each incident of pain, symptoms will get worse!

Whether you have been suffering from this condition weeks or months, you will have soft tissue dysfunction, like adhesion, in structures that alter joint mechanics and ncreases stress on the disc. If you are unfamiliar with adhesion, click here for our most recent article discussing it.  Adhesion is one of the most common and misdiagnosed conditions in the body that restricts motion and causes pain.

Overuse Cycle

 

If you have IDD, you must get the surrounding soft tissues fixed to unload the disc to hopefully prevent and reduce future incidences of pain and progressing disc injury! In other words, adhesion must be corrected in order to reduce the likelihood of this problem from returning.

Not fixing this issue will only lead to more problems down the road.  As always when symptoms are present, you have two options — ignore it or fix it.

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are the only full body certified Integrative Diagnosis clinic in the state of Iowa.  The Integrative Diagnosis system is a diagnosis and treatment system to gain a clear picture and full diagnosis of what is causing your low back pain.  By obtaining a full diagnosis, then applying the correct treatment, resolution for your pain is possible!

Simply fill out the appointment request on this page or call our office at 319-423-0925 to get to the bottom of your pain today!  Any questions can be sent to Dr. Cody at dr.cody@thrivespineandsport.com.

 Thanks for reading!

Fixing Adhesion

Let’s be honest, your problem isn’t going anywhere!  In fact it’s getting worse.

You’ve tried rest, ice, stretching, pain pills, adjustments, cortisone, braces, exercise, and the list goes on.  Still your problem persists.  What is going on?

Adhesion is a term you probably haven’t heard about.  Adhesion, or scar tissue, is one of the most common conditions in the human body, but also, BY  FAR, the most misdiagnosed.  Adhesion, when present, limits flexibility and decreases strength.  The good news is that adhesion is completely reversible if treated correctly!

Adhesion

Adhesion develops primarily in two different ways – overuse, from either repetitive movements or prolonged positions (think working out, running, or sitting at a desk all day), and from trauma (think sports injury or car accident).  Adhesion acts like glue on a muscle by sticking muscles and surrounding soft tissues together.  When this happens your body has to work harder than normal to move or function normally.  You may feel “tight” or weak at first, but eventually develop inflammation and pain.

Overuse Cycle

When adhesion is present, it has to be physically broken down by a provider certified to find and fix adhesion in order for it to go away.  Stretching and exercise wont help!  Neither will a foam roller or a lacrosse ball.  These may make you feel good for a few hours or even a few days, but they are not long term solutions!

Adhesion is at the root of many common problems like low back or neck pain, sciatica, most tendinitis cases, carpal tunnel syndrome, and even headaches!

Unfortunately, if left untreated long enough, adhesion can lead to other problems like disc herniation, stress fractures, labrum tears, muscle tears/sprains/strains, and early arthritic changes.  How can that be?

Adhesion makes muscles work harder.  When muscles work harder they become overworked sooner.  Instead of the muscles absorbing most of your day to day activities, the body transfers the load into the cartilage, bones, and joints instead.  This begins a very bad cycle of chronic pain.  The sooner you fix adhesion the better!

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are certified through the Integrative Diagnosis system for the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion.  Currently, Thrive Spine and Sport is the only full body certified Integrative Diagnosis office in the state of Iowa!  Integrative Diagnosis is the premiere system for diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems.

If you, or someone you know is continuing to struggle with pain, we invite you to call our office today at 319-423-0925!  Most patients have tried numerous providers before finding relief in our office.  If you have any questions, or not sure if we can help you or not, feel free to send an email to Dr. Cody at dr.cody@thrivespineandsport.com.

Thanks for reading!

One Simple Test For Finding Headache Relief

It has been estimated that upward of 50 percent of the population will have suffered a headache in the past year.

For some, that number may seem low.

Unlike most musculoskeletal conditions, there can be a multitude of causes behind your headaches. Some headaches may be caused by hormones or food sensitivities. Other may be triggered by dehydration or the weather.  But for a large majority of headaches, the root cause often comes from dysfunction in neck muscles.

At the base of the skull there is a group of small muscles, called the suboccipitals. These very tiny muscles are responsible for movement of the skull and the first two vertebrae in the neck. With the modern day lifestyle these muscles are under constant stress and strain. Sitting at a computer for an extended time, grinding your teeth, poor posture and even previous injuries or accidents to the neck (think whiplash) can damage these tiny muscles, altering joint motion and function.

The most common result of overuse and trauma in the muscles is adhesion.

Adhesion

Adhesion may be a new term for you. Adhesion is one of the most common causes of pain, decreased flexibility, and strength. Adhesion is a buildup of fibrotic, or “scar-like” tissue, on muscles or around nerves. When present, it continues to alter load, posture and increase strain on the neck. If adhesion is present, it can be a root cause of your headaches and needs to be fixed in order to find relief.

So how can you know if you have adhesion present? Fortunately, there is a very easy test that you can do at home. Start by standing flat against a wall — heels, butt, shoulder blades and the back of the head should be touching the wall. If you cannot get your head to touch the back of the wall, the test already is positive and the presence of adhesion is most likely. If you are able to get the back of the head against the wall tilt your head back slightly until the jaw is parallel to the floor. Slowly try to tuck the chin to your neck without the back of the head leaving the wall. Any pain, or tension in the base of the neck or lower, is a positive test.

Continue the test by trying to touch the chin to the top of your chest. If you find this painful, “tight” or are unable to reach your chest, adhesion is the most likely cause of pain.

Healthy cervical flexion.
Healthy cervical flexion.

 

In order to reduce or eliminate your headaches, these tests must be cleared. In order to pass these tests, adhesion must be eliminated. Manual therapy to the affected tissues is the most effective and fastest way to relief.

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we are full body certified through Integrative Diagnosis for the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion.  Many patients of our office have tried numerous providers before finding relief in our office.  If you have been struggling to find relief from headaches, we invite you to call our office today at 319-423-0925 and get to the bottom of your pain!  We also invite you to like and share this with friends and family who may be in need.

Thanks for reading!