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Lower Back Pain Conditions

Facet Syndrome

Facet syndrome is characterized by the sudden onset of severe pain just above the pants line. This can be one sided, at the midline, or on both sides. There is a constant ache that becomes a debilitating contractile  spasm with unguarded movements like sitting up from a lying down position, or standing up from a sitting position. There is no significant leg pain associated. This is caused by the pinching of one of the joint capsules that surrounds the small joints between the vertebrae like a sleeve.

Lower back pain

We can usually treat this condition relatively quickly (less than a week). Facet syndrome can be so severe and frightening that if feels like something that will never be resolved. Medications can take the edge off the underlying ache, but do nothing for the brief, severe muscle spasms.


Joint Dysfunction

This condition develops slowly over time, but can come on suddenly. The pain comes and goes intermittently; joint dysfunction can present without pain and is often detected during a routine checkup or discovered when you come in for some other problem. The pain can range from mild to moderate, and is located in the mid line, one side, or on both sides.  It can be above the pants line in the vertebrae themselves, or below the pants line in the sacroiliac joints. There usually isn't any radiation of pain into the legs. This can be caused by an old injury or overuse activity. It can be caused by altered walking from a sore foot, sore knee, or sore hip. Sometimes it comes on because of an imbalance in muscle strength or flexibility due to one sided activities or old injuries. This is something that is commonly treated here at Axis Health. We address it in a multidisciplinary manner using chiropractic adjustment, massage, and exercise therapy to restore normal muscle balance.


Pinched Lumbar Nerve Root

This one can be a big deal. Pressure on a nerve root ultimately causes pain, tingling and numbness in the legs or feet. Normally this is on one side only, and affects only a narrow strip down the leg. There is almost always moderate to severe lower back pain on one side that extends down into the rear end. This is caused either by a one sided disc bulge, a bone spur, or fairly severe degenerative wear and tear. It can come on spontaneously, or from some kind of injury or strain. Normally it is treated easily with the conservative care we provide at Axis Health and responds relatively quickly. If this gets out of control it becomes a surgical problem, so this isn't something to be taken lightly. Early detection and treatment will reduce the time it takes to resolve.


Lumbar Stenosis

This is caused by a central disc bulge which presses on the vessels that provide blood flow to the spinal cord. This creates a condition called intermittent claudication, which is characterized by pain throughout both legs that comes on with walking a certain distance which varies depending on the severity. A person who suffers from this develops progressively increasing leg pain with walking until it becomes debilitating. When they sit down and rest for even a minute, the pain resolves and they can walk the same distance again before the same symptoms occur. This can be helped by conservative care, but is often a surgical condition. It is most common in the elderly spine.


Compression Fracture

This is a minor injury that occurs when the spine is compressed. It often happens with a fall onto the rear end, or a fall from a certain height where you land in the standing position. This causes severe pain that effects the entire lower back. The front of the cylindrical vertebral body gets crushed somewhat depending on the severity of the forces. This is a relatively stable fracture which resolves within six weeks. Normally, it is very painful for the first three weeks. This happens mostly in the elderly who have low bone density, especially in women who are past menopause. There is no immediate treatment other than rest. After the fracture has healed, the area often needs care to strengthen muscles and keep normal mobility because of the change in position of the involved bones.


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