Schuylkill County: Did you know that about 10% of back injuries do not resolve in two months time and the back pain is considered chronic? Is there something different about backs from other tissues or joints in the body? Yes, there is!
Chronic Back Pain, What Is Different
In 1987, the journal Spine published Dr. Vert Mooney’s Presidential Address of the International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine. In his address, he presented many known facts concerning chronic back pain.
This is what is special about disks! In summary, Dr. Mooney said:
The disk is the primary source of both back and referred leg pain.
Spinal mechanical problems (from an injury or long-term distorted body mechanics) reduce disk movements, which leads to altered disk chemistry.
The altered chemistry within the disk activates the pain nerve endings in the disk causing chronic pain.
Therefore, the most rational approach to the treatment of chronic low back pain is mechanical therapy that restores the motion to the spinal joints and especially the disk. (This means such treatment as manipulation, mobilization, manual muscle therapy work to restore body mechanics, and therapeutic exercise.)
Prolonged rest is inappropriate management for chronic lower back pain.
Many studies support Dr. Mooney’s presentation.
Dr. Stephen Kuslich and colleagues in the journal Orthopedic Clinics of North America presented one study in April 1991. The title of their article was:
The Tissue Origin of Low Back Pain and Sciatica: A Report of Pain Response to Tissue Stimulation During Operations on the Lumbar Spine Using Local Anesthesia
Between 1987 and 1990, 193 consecutive patients were studied. All of these patients were operated upon for complaints of intractable lower back and/or lower limb pain (sciatica). Instead of the use of general anesthesia, only a “progressive” local anesthesia was used, leaving the patients fully awake and responsive. (First, let us all be glad that we were not one of their patients that had spinal surgery under local anesthesia!)
During the operation, the surgeon randomly “stimulated” various tissues in and around the exposed disk and spinal nerve/nerves by means of ‘mechanical force’, i.e., the ‘smashing of the tissue with a blunt surgical instrument, or the electric shocking of the tissue with low volt electricity.
The patients were then asked to describe and rate any associated sensations of pain, numbness, or burning on an analog scale of 0 to 5, where 5 was severe pain that was exactly like their usual and customary pain.
Several of their important findings include:
Back pain could be produced by several lumbar tissues, but by far, the most common tissue of origin was the outer layer of the disk.
The lumbar fascia (tissue around muscles) could be “touched or even cut without anesthesia”, without producing any pain.
Any pain derived from muscle pressure was “derived from local vessels and nerves, rather than the muscle bundles themselves.”
- “The normal, uncompressed, or non-stretched nerve root was completely insensitive to pain.”
In summary, these authors found the outer layer to “the disk” to be “the site” of chronic back pain.
What To Do If You Have Chronic Back Pain?
A well-established finding in chronic back pain is lumbar muscle weakness. One of the treatments we use for chronic back pain is MedX lumbar extension exercise.
This treatment strengthens the weak muscles and uses controlled motion to create and restore motion in the painful disk as Dr. Mooney almost 25 years ago.
To find out how successful the MedX treatment can be see:
We are committed to help you or a loved one that is suffering with chronic back pain, and sharing this information may be one of most evident acts of kindness you can give.
This information is solely advisory, and should not be substituted for medical or chiropractic advice. Any and all health care concerns, decisions, and actions must be done through the advice and counsel of a health care professional who is familiar with your medical history.