5 Hints To Manage Your Low Back Pain

Lower Back Pain Relief

As a practicing chiropractor of 38 years, I have been able to help thousands of patients gain relief of their lower back pain. I know chiropractic care is the gold standard in providing pain relief for back conditions. Patients and I work as a team to reduce and eliminate their lower back discomfort. However, once the pain has been eliminated or improved as much as possible, it is their responsibility to continue a daily routine to manage their lower back pain. This article will discuss five important hints I give to all my patients once they have finished care in my office.

Stretch and Start Slowly In The Morning

I read a research paper many years ago that if a person is going to injure their back at work it is usually in the first hour. That makes a lot of sense, the person isn’t warmed up and subsequently hurts their back. Athletes know they must warm up before practice or a game and we should follow that advice. It is important to stretch gently in the morning.

Simply lying on our back and pulling one knee up towards the chest and holding it for five seconds then extending it out and pulling the other knee up similarly several times can be a big help. If one is familiar with yoga, they can perform a few minutes of gentle poses and stretches.

Also start activity slowly at the beginning of the day to let the back warm up. I like to take it easy the first hour after arising from bed. I don’t perform vigorous activities like strenuous exercise, home chores, gardening or grass cutting until I’ve been up and moving about gently for a couple hours.


 The best exercise we can do is walking. The lower back discs, muscles and joints get the movement they need to maintain tissue health when we walk. Stand up straight, swing your arms and walk as long as you like. It’s a good idea to walk on a trail or grass field to lessen the impact on our lower extremities. The uneven surface also gently challenges and improves our balance.


In general, when lower back pain is present there is inflammation so we should use ice cold to reduce swelling and pain. Three applications of 20 minutes per day will typically bring desired relief of lower back pain. Don’t put the ice pack directly on the skin. Use a layer of cloth insulation so you are comfortable doing the entire 20-minute application.

Good Shoes

The feet are the body’s foundation. Good mechanical foot structure and support greatly aids in lower back alignment and movement. Avoid wearing high heels. If necessary, find a qualified podiatrist to make custom shoe insert orthotics.


Sitting long hours doing desk and computer work is harmful to our spines. It is said that: “Prolonged sitting is the new smoking.” Having a proper ergonomics set up with a home or office setting is important. A good chair, desk, computer screen and keyboard height must be addressed. A set/stand desk can make a huge difference. However, remember that however ideal the aerodynamic setting, we must get up and move about periodically to counteract the deleterious effects of sitting.

Maintaining our health is a responsibility each of us must undertake. Just as a person with cardiac or diabetic problems must discipline themselves to manage their conditions, those with any degree of a chronic back pain issue must be diligent to address daily, simple, indispensable obligations. Conversely, neglecting the basics will unfortunately result in misery.

Please visit here for your local UPMC chiropractor near me. See your McKnight Road chiropractor for neck and back pain relief.

Chiropractic Pain Relief Reduces Opioid Use For A Patient

Pain Relief

I want to tell you about a patient in my office who has been able to gain pain relief from his chiropractic care and maintain a lower dose of opioid medication use.

My patient Ray experienced a series of misfortunes years earlier when he was in several automobile accidents. The collisions were major, involving two of his vehicles being totaled. Ray was transported by ambulance to trauma hospitals with multiple injuries including fractures, dislocations and concussions. Fortunately, the trauma centers were able to save his life, but his injuries required years of rehabilitation to help him return to his home and some semblance of normal life.

Ray was not able to return to his occupation of construction work and was considered
disabled. He could walk and drive and do a certain amount of home and yard chores but had to watch that he not do too much physical activity.

Despite the best efforts of his rehabilitative therapy, he had a moderate amount of pain that he endured from his injuries. Most of this was neck and lower back pain that radiated into his arms and legs. To cope with this, he was prescribed opioid medications for pain management.
Acknowledging the opioids helped him tolerate his pain he found they left him fatigued and lethargic.

Ray initially came to me five years ago to see if chiropractic care could help him with pain relief so that he might be able to reduce the amount of pain medication he was taking.

When I initially examined Ray and evaluated his x-ray and MRI imaging, I agreed with his previous healthcare providers that his injuries were permanent. However, since chiropractic care had not yet been part of his therapy, I was confident that improving the alignment of his spine and pelvis could bring a degree of pain relief.

We set out on a multi-faceted course of chiropractic care in our office. His treatment involved traction to decompress his lower back degenerated discs, chiropractic adjustments to realign his spine and pelvis which had not previously been addressed, pressure point therapy to relieve intense muscle spasms and a daily home stretching routine of 15 minutes every morning.

After a couple months of treatment Ray had a 25% reduction of his neck and lower back pain and 50% less pain in his arms and legs. He went back to his pain management physician and they took a gradual course of decreasing his opioid medications.

While he wasn’t able to eliminate his medication entirely, he was able to reduce it to a minimal level that helped him cope with his pain and permanent injuries.

After we had improved his physical pain level as much as possible with chiropractic treatment, I left it up to Ray to call in for an appointment if he needed further care. In the past five years we’ve found that he typically will call in for a visit somewhere between one to three months. Usually, one or two visits of safe, gentle chiropractic care will give him enough pain relief to be able to carry on with his activities of daily living.

By being on a minimal dose of opioid medication Ray finds that he has much more energy and ability to mentally concentrate. We’re all pleased that using an integrative medical and chiropractic approach helps give Ray pain relief from the lamentable injuries inflicted.

Please visit here for your local UPMC chiropractor near me. See your McKnight Road chiropractor for neck and back pain relief.

Lower Back Pain Relief For A Woman With Previous Spinal Fusion Surgery

Lower Back Pain Relief

Recently I was able to help give lower back pain relief to a patient who came to my chiropractic office of 37 years. Jean, a 79-year-old woman, had been experiencing severe lower back pain for approximately one month. Her pain was growing worse, and she was at a point where she decided she had to gain pain relief. Jean’s case was complicated, and interesting, because she had undergone lower back spinal fusion surgery five years earlier. This article described lower back pain, spinal fusion surgery and how a multi-faceted chiropractic care approach gave this patient low back pain relief.

Jean’s case was like many I’ve seen in my three-plus decades of chiropractic practice. Over the course of her life, she injured her back multiple times. When she was younger, when experiencing episodes of lower back pain, she would cut back on her activities, rest and her back pain would completely resolve. As she grew older, into middle age, her lower back pain episodes became chronic, leaving her with a mild, low level, constant, nagging ache. Five years before she came to my office, she experienced a severe bout of lower back pain. She went to her PCP who referred her to a back surgeon. She underwent lower back fusion surgery. The fusion she had involved inserting metal screws and clamps to fuse her lower two spinal vertebrae together. Jean told me it helped diminish the strong lower back pain she was having, however she reverted back to the milder nagging pain she’d had before the surgery.

When I initially met with Jean, she was having significant, constant right lower back ache which referred into her right thigh. She could only stand and walk approximately 10 minutes due to her lower back pain before having to sit down to rest to gain some measure of relief of back discomfort. Perhaps most disconcerting to her was her inability to visit with her children and grandchildren.

X-rays of Jean’s lower back confirmed previous fusion surgery with metal screws and clamps easily visible. X-rays also showed misaligned joints of the pelvis causing the pinching of her sciatic nerve. She also had compression lower back intervertebral disc below the fusion area that was causing a great deal of her lower back pain.

Her physical examination found her having significant muscle spasms of her lower back and a great deal of inflammation.

Jean’s treatment consisted of traction, which was aimed at decompressing her lower back disc problem. A gentle, safe type of spinal manipulation using a specialized chiropractic adjusting table helped to realign her pelvic joints and relieve her sciatic pain. Electrical muscle stimulation and pressure point therapy gave her relief of the intense muscle spasms she was experiencing. She learned how to use applications of cold packs, on her own at home, to reduce swelling and inflammation. I also gave her stretching and strengthening exercises to do.

Over the course of six weeks of treatment consisting of roughly 12 visits to my office, Jean’s lower back pain was improved by 90%. She was able to stand and walk sufficiently so she could do her normal household chores and go shopping.

I was especially pleased that she was able to return to visiting with her family. She said it was the greatest source of her life’s joy!

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Sciatica Pain Relief For a Nurse

Sciatic Pain Relief

Recently I was able to help give sciatica pain relief to a nurse who came to my chiropractic office of 37 years. Natalie, a 30-year-old nurse had been experiencing sciatic nerve pain for over a year. It ultimately worsened to the point where she felt she must attempt to gain some pain relief. Fortunately, her aunt referred her to me, and I was able to utilize chiropractic care to give her relief of her very severe pain. This article will describe sciatic nerve pain and how a multi-faceted chiropractic care approach gave this patient pain relief.

Natalie had entered the nursing profession after graduating from college. She worked as a floor nurse in a hospital which entailed frequently lifting and moving disabled and semi-disabled patients. While Natalie loved her work and found it very fulfilling, it was also very physically difficult. Over the course of a number of years she had several times when she hurt her lower back. Usually, by working lighter duties for a week or so her back pain would lessen, and she would resume her regular, vigorous work activities.

Natalie’s case was similar to many I’ve seen in my three-plus decades of chiropractic practice. Many times, patients have multiple injuries to an area of the body. Left untreated, these injuries accumulate and progressively become a chronic problem. Continued physical activity aggravates the condition and soon the pain becomes excruciating.

When Natalie first came to me, she was having significant right lower back pain and a burning pain into her right buttock and down the outside of her thigh and calf. Her foot and toes felt like there was a constant tingling and numbness. Her sleep was affected because every time she tried to change positions in bed her back discomfort would awaken her. She said it was all she could do to get through a day of work due to her condition. Additionally, she was getting married in six months and she said she wanted to enjoy the experience of such a joyous occasion without having to deal with sciatic pain.

When I initially examined Natalie, I found that she had misaligned vertebrae in her lower back that was pinching her sciatic nerve. She also had a lower back lumbar intervertebral disc that was bulging created additional impingement upon the sciatic nerve. The muscles in her lower back were in significant spasm and a great deal of inflammation that had occurred.

The sciatic nerve is formed by the combining of several nerve roots exiting the spinal cord. The sciatic nerve then travels down the leg and into the foot and innervates the lower extremity. When the sciatic nerve is injured and creates pain, we call that sciatica or sciatic nerve pain.

Natalie’s treatment consisted of traction which was aimed at reducing her bulging lower back disc. Gentle, safe chiropractic spinal adjustments helped to realign her lower back vertebrae. Electrical muscle stimulation and pressure point therapy gave her relief of the intense muscle spasms she was experiencing. She learned how to use applications of cold packs on her own at home and at work to reduce swelling and inflammation. I also gave her stretching and strengthening exercises to do on her own.
Within two weeks her leg pain was gone and in another two weeks her lower back pain was completely alleviated. I told Natalie that her in office chiropractic care was completed but that she would have to give her back some additional time to heal. I recommended she continue the exercises she’d been given and to take a 30-to-60-minute walk three or four times a week. I’ve found walking is one of the best things a person can do to help a chronic back problem to heal.

I was very pleased that Natalie was able to return to working with her patience pain-free and I asked her to keep me posted as to how her wedding goes. She said she would!

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Falsehoods About Back Pain

Lower Back Relief

Lower back pain is ubiquitous in the United States and throughout the world. By age 40, 80% of Americans will experience a significant back pain episode. Many people have misinformation about back pain which not only increases the risk for the condition but also lowers their chances for recovery. This article will discuss common inaccuracies circulating about achieving low back pain relief.

In the research journal Physiotherapy International Research, October 2021 questionnaires were completed by 3724 adults which revealed that many people have false beliefs about low back discomfort. Let’s explore some of the myths that should be uncovered.

Some patients and even some healthcare practitioners believe that x-ray and MRI imaging is the be all and end all of diagnosing lower back conditions. While imaging is important to identify fractures, dislocations or cancer it is only part of the equation in determining the mechanical back discomfort that most people suffer. I’ve seen many cases of patients whose examination included only an MRI or x-ray. When these tests were found to be “normal” the patient experiencing back discomfort was told there was nothing wrong and they would have to live with it.

As a practicing chiropractor of over 37 years, I am trained to look at the whole person. X-rays and MRIs are tests that I like to obtain. However, my examination also includes palpation (feeling) the muscles, fascia and other soft tissue for spasm, tension and inflammation. I also examine the alignment of the spine and pelvis and the posture generally. Orthopedic and neurologic tests help add to my diagnostic impression. Combined, these testing procedures help to identify the true cause of the back pain and the best methods to use in providing relief for back pain.

Another myth that circulates is that surgery is needed for disk herniation. In reality, back surgery should only be performed in a small percentage of conditions involving herniation of a disk. Over 90% of disc problems can be treated, conservatively and safely with chiropractic care.

Another misbelief is that bedrest and a sedentary lifestyle should be the mainstay of therapy.

While it is true that a person may have to limit activity during treatment for low back pain, they should not spend the day in bed as part of their care. Patients benefit most when they move about gently and spend a portion of their day being upright and walking.

Another incorrect idea is that kids and teens do not experience back problems. Recent research revealed that for school children between the ages of 10 and 15 years, 31% experienced low back pain in a three-month period. I’ve treated many children and teens with gentle nonpharmacologic, chiropractic care for pain relief of the lower back.

I urge anyone experiencing back pain to be open to ideas and opportunities that exist to help them with their discomfort. Following old and invalid concepts that don’t provide help or solutions are best discarded. Embracing possibilities and remedies that work and have merit are the pathway to success in leading a vital life, free of back pain.

Please visit here for your local UPMC chiropractor near me. See your McKnight Road chiropractor for neck and back pain relief.

Chiropractic FAQs

Back & Neck Pain Relief

Many people who’ve never been to a chiropractor have questions. They have heard from friends, family, and coworkers how chiropractic care can help give neck and lower back pain relief. Frequently, there are stories in the media about a famous athlete, actor or singer who is a proponent of chiropractic therapy. This article will answer frequently asked questions about the chiropractic profession and care.

Doctors of Chiropractic (DC’s) treat patients of all ages for a variety of health conditions. Painful musculoskeletal conditions like lower back pain, neck pain and headaches respond particularly well to chiropractic treatment. Treatment through chiropractic adjustments or manipulation is a safe, gentle procedure that utilizes the highly refined skills developed during the chiropractor’s intense years of education and clinical experience. Patients are especially pleased that they quickly obtain a reduction of muscle spasm and pain by correction of spinal and pelvic misalignments.

Doctors of Chiropractic undergo an education that is similar to other primary-contact healthcare providers such as dentists, MDs and optometrists. To achieve a degree as a Doctor of Chiropractic a student must have undergraduate study at a traditional college or university. This is followed by five years of training at an accredited chiropractic college. DCs are educated in orthopedics, neurology, physiology, human anatomy and clinical diagnosis including laboratory procedures, imaging of x-ray and MRI, rehabilitation, exercise and nutrition. A significant portion of time is spent in clinical technique training to master important manipulative procedures. Following graduation, a chiropractor must pass national and state board examinations.

Gallup recently conducted a poll noting that 50% of the United States population has been to a chiropractor. Yet, some wonder about the safety of chiropractic manipulation. Fortunately, studies give chiropractic care high marks in this category. With lower back pain relief, the US Department of Health and Human Services notes the risk of complications from back manipulation is rare and conservative chiropractic treatment should be pursued before surgery. When providing neck pain relief Spine Research Journal stated: “The risk of serious adverse event, immediately and up to seven days after treatment, is low to very low.” Consumer Reports magazine noted that patients being treated for lower back pain by a chiropractor had higher satisfaction than when treated by physical therapist, acupuncturist, or primary care physicians.

Those contemplating visiting a chiropractor may be unsure of what it will cost. Charges in a chiropractic office are generally very affordable whether the patient plans to self-pay or utilize insurance benefits. Most mainstream, responsible health insurance policies have approved the coverage of chiropractic treatment.

Expertly trained DCs offer pain relief for acute and chronic spinal mechanical problems that create neck and lower back pain discomfort. Treatment has been proven to be safe and provide reasonably rapid pain relief especially when compared with other types of care. Chiropractors are uniquely suited to fulfill the role of spinal pain providers. Patients with improved or eliminated spinal pain can certainly enjoy being able to engage in work, recreation and family time more easily.

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Relief Of Tailbone Pain

Tailbone Pain Relief

Recently, I had a patient, Robert, who came to my office because he was experiencing pain of his tailbone. He had been skiing a month earlier and fell directly on his tailbone. He said the initial pain was very intense, being so bad that he had to stop skiing that day. His discomfort had lessened but was still a mild to moderate, constant ache. He was concerned that while his pain was improved, it was still an ongoing, continuous problem that wasn’t getting better. This article will discuss tailbone pain, its causes and how chiropractic treatment can give relief of tailbone pain.

Back and neck pain relief are what most people think of when they consider chiropractic care. And while neck and back problems make up the majority of reasons patients come to me; I also help other conditions in my chiropractic practice of over 37 years. Robert’s tailbone pain is something I’ve commonly seen and have been able to help.

Robert had already been to his PCP’s office who had him get x-rays at another facility. The physician’s assistant from the PCP’s practice called Robert and said there wasn’t anything wrong with the x-rays. Robert was told it would just take time to go away and to take Tylenol for the pain.

Because his tailbone pain was not going away and taking medication was not something he was interested in Robert thought seeing a chiropractor worthy of investigating.

Sometimes a fall on the tail bone will cause a fracture or a very deep bruise. Fractures show up on x-rays. Bruises heal with time. In Robert’s case there was no fracture seen on the x-ray and any bruising should have healed in a month.

The anatomical word for the tailbone is the “coccyx.” The coccyx is the bottom, tail end of a larger bone called the sacrum. On either side of the sacrum are two large bones called the iliac bones. The sacrum and each iliac bone form a joint called the sacroiliac joint (SIJ). The sacroiliac joints are gliding joints. They glide back-and-forth when we walk.

When a person falls on their backside, they commonly can cause a misalignment of the SIJ. Because this joint is in the lower part of the pelvis it feels as if the pain is coming from the tailbone but, it is really coming from the sacroiliac joint.

In Roberts case this is exactly what happened. As a chiropractor I’m trained to look at the whole person. When I examined Robert, I found that he had tenderness and some muscle spasm over one of his sacroiliac joints. I obtained the x-rays that were taken earlier which confirmed a slight misalignment of the SI joint.

By utilizing safe, gentle chiropractic adjustments I was able to realign the SIJ in several treatments and I’m happy to report Robert had complete tailbone pain relief.

Visit here to learn more about  pain relief. See this site for information about a pain relief chiropractor near me.