CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN
WHAT IS CHRONIC BACK PAIN?
Pain is considered chronic pain when if it lasts beyond six months. Six months is the “dividing line” because 90% of low back pain resolves on its own before six months, and anyone suffering from chronic low back pain beyond those six months are unlikely to get better on their own. Further, no study shows that chronic lower back pain can be permanently solved through epidurals, physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, or any other treatment unless the underlying cause is healed. Today, we know that annular tears are the underlying cause of most non-traumatic spine problems.
Harmful inflammatory chemicals within spinal discs, known as the nucleus pulposus, may cause chronic low back pain. When these damaging inflammatory chemicals leak out of the disc onto the adjacent spinal nerves, they cause leg symptoms like sciatica, as well as arm symptoms.
However, once annular tears are repaired, all symptoms of chronic low back pain are successfully treated. The only treatment shown to permanently repair annular tears leading to chronic lower back pain is Dr. Pauza’s Discseel® Procedure.
CAUSES OF CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN
To better understand back pain, one must understand the structure of the spine. There are five vertebrae bodies in the lumbar spine which are bones that make up the lumbar region of the spine referred to as lumbar levels L1-L5. In between these vertebral bodies are spinal discs, which act as shock absorbers to cushion the bones as we move. Bands of tissue, called ligaments, hold the vertebral bodies in place and there are tendons which attach the muscle to the spinal column. There are also 31 pairs of nerves that are rooted in the spinal cord that help control the body’s movements and communicate with the brain.
Some of the most common causes include:
- Herniated disc
- Annular tears
- Degenerative disc
- Facet joint dysfunction: two joints behind each disc that become arthritic as torn discs collapse.
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction: the sacroiliac joint can become painful if it becomes inflamed (sacroiliitis) and may cause back pain.
- Spinal stenosis
- Compression fracture(s)
- Autoimmune disease(s)
The range of symptoms of chronic low back pain revolves around the definition of pain. The most common are as follows:
- Dull or achy pain contained to the lower back.
- Pain that worsens after prolonged sitting or standing.
- Stinging, burning pain that moves from the low back to the backs of the thighs, sometimes into the lower legs or feet.
- Numbness or tingling (sciatica)
- Muscle spasms and tightness in the low back, pelvis, and hips.
- Difficult standing up straight, walking, or going from standing to sitting.
This is not a definitive list. Chronic lower back pain has many more symptoms that are varied and intricate. You should consult your doctor if you feel that you have chronic low back pain.
There are dozens of treatments for chronic low back pain, and as many as several hundred if all non-medical options are explored. Here are the most common treatments:
- Heat or cold packs: only provide temporary relief of muscle spasms.
- Activity, exercise, and/or physical therapy: may cause more problems if not done properly.
- Medication (anti-inflammatory, pain, steroid injections): cannot repair annular tears, which are the underlying cause of chronic low back pain.
- Spinal manipulation/mobilization: this only provides temporary relief and may worsen annular tears.
- Biofeedback therapy: only provides temporary relief.
- Spinal Laminectomy: cannot address annular tears.
- Discectomy: an irreversible procedure that may worsen leaking discs.
- Spinal fusion: this procedure is also irreversible, and it leaves the spine with limited mobility and accelerates the degeneration of adjacent discs.
Some treatments are simple and some are complex, but none show the kinds of results that the Discseel® Procedure offers. The recovery time and the methods used for the Discseel® Procedure create a potent treatment method that gives hope back to patients.