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Does Back Pain Go Away on Its Own?

80% of people have an episode of back pain.
20% have recurring back pain.

What Can I Do to Prevent Long-Term Back Pain?

If your back pain is not resolving quickly less then 2 days, you need some help. Your pain will often result from mechanical problems that we can address. Many chiropractic patients with relatively long-lasting or recurring back pain feel improvement shortly after starting chiropractic treatment. The relief is often greater after a month of chiropractic treatment than after seeing a family physician according to recent research. Chiropractic spinal manipulation is a safe and effective spine pain treatment. It reduces pain, decreases medication need, rapidly advances physical therapy, and requires very few passive forms of treatment, such as bed rest.

How Can I Prevent Back Pain in Truckee?
  • Don’t lift by bending over 

  • Instead, bend at your hips & knees, then squat to pick up the object

  • Keep your back straight, and hold the object close to your body

  • Don’t twist your body while lifting

  • Push, rather than pull, when you must move heavy objects

  • If you must sit for long periods, take frequent breaks and stretch

  • Wear flat shoes or shoes with low heels

  • Exercise regularly. An inactive lifestyle contributes to lower-back pain

  • Rehabilitation

  • Flexibility exercise

  • Get better control of your body

  • Find the Cause video

For many decades, doctors and scientists believed that most back pain was caused by "slipped" or "torn" discs. We now know this not to be true. Disc problems constitute only a small portion of the causes of back pain and rarely require surgery for pain relief.

Low back pain causes
Causes of Back Pain

Spinal Subluxation

A vertebral subluxation is the improper motion or position of the moving bones of the spine that interfere with or irritate nerves. When a vertebra doesn't function properly, it causes mechanical stress which accelerates wear and tear on surrounding spinal muscles ligaments, discs and joints. Pain, tenderness, inflammation, decreased mobility and muscle spasms soon follow. Because of the direct relationship between the spine and nerve roots, vertebral subluxations can impair nerve functioning and lead to decreases in the communication within the body's nervous system and jeopardizes overall health and wellness of the individual.

Muscle Strain

Muscle strain or muscle pull or even a muscle tear implies damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. You can put undue pressure on muscles during the course of normal daily activities, with sudden, quick heavy lifting, during sports, or while performing work tasks. Muscle damage can be in the form of tearing (part or all) of the muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. The tearing of the muscle can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding (bruising) and pain (caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area).

Disc Injury

What are spinal discs?

Spinal discs are a critically important part of your spinal column. Along with the vertebrae, also called the spinal bones, they perform many functions. The discs provide shock absorption, protecting the spinal cord and ensuring flexibility of the spine. They also perform other functions. The spinal discs are essentially ligaments (structures connecting bones) that attach to the top and bottom of each vertebra. They are thick, ligament-like outer rings, also known as annuli fibrosis. Because they are arranged in an alternating pattern with the vertebrae, annuli fibrosis allow flexibility while preventing the vertebrae from moving too much and causing injury. Inside a single annulus fibrosis is a jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposis. It contains some proteins, but is primarily made up of water. The nucleus provides more shock absorption than does the annulus, and it also acts as a fulcrum to direct the type of movement through which each vertebra travels.

Sacro-iliac joint

This is where the spine and pelvis meet. Low then the spine To diagnosis this correctly we need to have 3 of these test positive. According to this study in the orthopedic journal of physical therapy

Sacro-iliac pain generally responds to a combination of working the muscles surrounding the joint with Active Release Techniques. The Piriformis, gluteus medius, psoas, iliacus. There is also usually some hip joint or lumbar spine involvement that generally responds chiropractic adjustments. Rehabilitation is also part of the solution.

Lumbar Facet injury AKA extension based low back pai, spondylolesthesis.

Pain when extending the back. This often happens during back bends in yoga. Many gymnastics and dance practices also injure these tissue and promote poor movement.
Here is a case report  from BMC Musculoskeletal Disorder journal with the big take away that we need to work on the poor motor patterns and as they improve progress them from simple/ easy to hard/complex as the athlete progresses. This about getting better awareness and control of the lumbar spine, most athletes are already strong.

What are the most common disc problems?


  • A disc "bulge" results from slight tears in the outermost fibers of an annulus fibrosis(the donut part). These small tears can be painful for a short time.

  • A disc protrusion/extrusion, also called "herniation," is a more significant injury. It results from a complete or significant tear of the fibers of an annulus-when some of the nucleus leaks through(the jelly part). A herniation can also be painful and may even cause nerve compression. In the most severe cases, the spinal cord can become compressed.

  • The most common disc problem suffered by adults is degenerative disc disease. This occurs when the nucleus loses water and small tears develop in it. The body then forms osteophytes (bone spurs), along the edges of the vertebra and the disc space narrows. We used to believe that this was a function of "wear and tear" as we aged. The most recent evidence shows that, most often, there is a hereditary link to the development of degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease can also be caused by trauma/injury.

What are the common signs and symptoms of disc problems?

Common signs of disc problems include, but are not limited to:

  • Back or neck pain

  • Leg or arm pain

  • Stiffness

  • Tenderness of the spine and spinal muscles

How are disc problems diagnosed?

Disc problems are most often diagnosed with the use of a thorough history and physical examination, including examination of your nervous and musculoskeletal systems. Your doctor will most likely move your back and arms and legs into various positions while applying pressure to your joints. Plain film x-rays are helpful in only some forms of disc problems. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become the mainstay for the diagnosis of disc problems, as it images the discs quite nicely. Your doctor may order an MRI if he or she feels it would be helpful in diagnosing a disc problem and determining the proper course of care for you. Most often, however, this is not necessary. Video on how to find the cause and how best treat.

How are disc problems treated?

Luckily, in most circumstances, disc problems are easily treated with conservative interventions. Spinal Adjustments, Active Release Techniques,  rehabilitation exercises, ice and if needed anti-inflammatory medications are effective in managing the pain of acute low-back injury. I will help you determine which is most effective for you. In addition, getting you back on your feet and moving as quickly as is safely possible is critical. Typically, the less time you spend in bed, the better off you are in terms of long-term results. You'll also need to learn not to be afraid to move. If you "baby" your back, in most cases, the long-term results will be worse. Chiropractic spinal adjustments have also been demonstrated to be a safe and effective tool in the management of disc problems. Adjustments are especially effective when combined with therapeutic exercise.


We all get arthritis eventually; some of us do not even know that it is there because it does not usually cause pain. If it is causing pain then we need to get the joint healthier and pain free by improving it bio-mechanics. We can do this through adjustmentsActive Release Techniques and Pilates based rehabilitation

Yoga and Back Pain

There are several studies on the yoga helping heal back pain. I think it is part of a healthy life and essential part of treating back pain. It strengthens, increase flexibility, reduces stress, increases healing and maybe most importantly increases awareness of body positioning and movement. One of the questions that comes up is is spinal twisting and flexion harmful or helpful to the spine? The answer is it depends but always pay attention to what your body is saying. Pain means damage and what you are doing is wrong. Here are 2 great articles so you can make better choices.

Some additional thoughts:

  • When doing spinal twists the normal curve (lumbar lordosis) needs to be maintained. Please see my video on ideal alignment and engagement . Those that are not flexible need to maintain the curve in seated twists and should use props like a bolster or 2. 

  • Slow mindful movements are essential

  • Don't go twist crazy slowly add twist in your practice.

  • When it comes to the spine the different parts have different characteristics

  • The lumbar spine(lower back) where most of the disease is is flexible. You may fell like it is stiff but that is telling you that it is being injured 12-36 hours before the stiffness occurs. We generally should not push the twist in this part. The thoracic spine(middle part) is stiff because of the rib cage and we usually need to promote more movement here.

Rehab progressions

  • Phase I: Non-Rotational/Non-Flexion Phase (Acute Inflammatory Phase) Best ice practices video

  • Phase II: Counter rotation/Flexion Phase (Repair Phase) The most important thing you can do video

  • Phase III: Rotational Phase/Power development (Remodeling Phase). These last 2 phases you need the help of a Sports Physical Therapist, Chiropractor or Athletic Trainer

  • Phase IV: Full return to sport


Common causes
  • Improper movement 

  • Abnormal biomechanics 

  • Imbalance muscles 

  • Previous trauma injury 

  • Repetitive micro trauma 

  • Adhesions/scar tissue of Gluteals, Hamstrings, Psoas, Para-spinals

  • Spinal misalignment/subluxation of the Lumbar spine and Pelvis

  • Tight muscles 

  • Acute trauma 

  • Overuse injury 

  • Poor posture 

  • Arthritis

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