Low Back Pain

About 85 percent of the population will experience disabling low back pain at least once during their lives! That's almost all of us. The problem is so bad that at any one time, according to one researcher, 6.8% of the U.S. adult population is suffering from an episode of back pain lasting more than two weeks. That's a lot of bad backs. The estimated cost of this problem in the U.S. is over $50 billion a year.

The standard medical approach to back pain varies depending on the severity of the condition. Muscle relaxers, painkillers, rest and physical therapy such as traction, diathermy, ultrasound, hot packs and cold packs are sometimes used. This approach has not been found very helpful, however. If the problem doesn't improve or worsens, then surgery may be performed.

The medical approach is at times necessary - even back surgery has a place. But according to some studies, most spinal surgery for acute lower back problems should be rarely performed. Many people who have had back surgery report a recurrence of their symptoms within a year or two of the operation and may return to the operating table. In some cases the surgery makes no difference whatsoever.

As a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist, I take a different approach to the treatment and prevention of back pain. After a thorough neurological examination, I determine which part of the nervous system is not functioning properly. In many back pain patients, I find a high mesencephalic output.

There are three parts to the brain stem: top, middle and lower. The mesencephalon is the top part of the brain stem. A high output of the mesencephalon will cause an increased pulse and heart rate, the inability to sleep, or a waking, fitful sleep. Other symptoms might include urinary tract infections, increased warmth and sweating, and sensitivity to light.

Along with a high mesencephalic output, the back pain patient may present with a decreased output of the cerebellum. The cerebellum controls coordinated movement and al of the muscles of the spinal column.

No matter what the condition, it is imperative that the chiropractic neurologist performs a thorough and comprehensive examination to determine the exact nature of the patient's condition.

Dr. Michael L. Johnson is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist, one of only 700 in the country, with over twenty years of experience in private practice. He has completed over 850 hours of neurological studies and 3800 hours of postgraduate education. His book "What Do You Do When the Medications Don't Work? - A Non-Drug Treatment of Dizziness, Migraine Headaches, Fibromyalgia, and Other Chronic Conditions" outlines his groundbreaking work in the treatment of chronic pain and is a national best-seller. It is available wherever books are sold.

© 2005 Michael L. Johnson, D.C., D.A.C.N.B.

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