Our doctors at Chicago based Advanced Spine and Sports Care treat low back pain and other spinal disorders on a daily basis. When it comes to low back pain, there are many different structures that can cause the pain. Differentiating what is causing the pain is important because it guides how the doctor treats the problem. Two of the typical low back pain producers are facet joints and the spinal disc. The facet joints are the joints in the back of the spine that allow for motion and various types of movement. When these joints get misaligned or have restricted motion, there can be an increase in pain due to irritation of the joints and the surrounding nerves.
Pain resulting from a spinal disc can often be different in nature than pain arising from facet joints. The spinal disc is a shock absorber located in-between the vertebrae (bones in your spine). A healthy disc space between the vertebrae also allows for proper spacing for the nerves to exit the spinal cord. There are a few different ways the disc can be involved in causing low back pain. A disc that is degenerating is one that is shrinking in size and losing a good amount of fluid contained within the disc. This is a process that typically takes place over a number of years and is a problem that you may not be aware of until it gets to the point where enough of the space is lost and pressure is applied to the nerve. A second way that the disc can cause pain is a disc bulge or herniation. This is when the outer edges of the disc become injured and can not properly contain the disc material and a bulge is formed. If this bulge or herniation is large enough, pressure can be put on a nerve and a number of symptoms can result from this pressure. Some of the symptoms caused by this pressure are: pain shooting into the buttocks or down into the leg, numbness or tingling in the leg or foot, loss of muscle strength in the leg or foot, and in an emergency situation there can be loss of bowel or bladder function (this would be a hospital emergency).
The doctors in Uptown’s Chicago Spine and Sports Care may treat these two conditions differently and always do a thorough evaluation to find out what joints and nerves are causing the pain and why they are causing the pain. For example, if it is the facet joints causing the pain, there is a good chance that a patient may respond better to traditional chiropractic care. If the patient has a disc bulge or herniation, treating the patient with non-surgical spinal decompression on the DRX 9000 may be beneficial.
Chicago based Advanced Spine and Sports Care is located on the north side of Chicago in the Uptown neighborhood. Uptown is close to both the Lakeview, Andersonville, and Edgewater neighborhoods. For more information or to schedule an initial evaluation for your low back pain, please call 773-649-5531.