All posts in Low Back Pain

Professional Athletes Treatment for Sports Injuries

Serious athletes come in to my office with complaints of back pain and/or hip pain. Their medical doctors have recommended steroids and/or cortisone injections, but these patients want to try something else before risky shots or pills. These patients are savvy, they think long term recovery. They want what the pro-athletes get! They usually already had the MRI, and they have tried to work it through on their own. They want my advice because they heard I take the time to help them figure out the cause of the pain. The question I need to figure out “Is your movement pattern irritating a disc problem, ligaments, or the muscle system?” Then we figure out the best treatment plan together.

Patients are hearing about Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP), stem-cell regeneration therapy, shockwave therapy, laser, Deep Muscle Stimulator, and other “locker room” treatments for the pro’s. I organized my office so the average person can get what the pro’s get. I use 3 types of shockwave or pulse therapy, and 2 types of laser that create effective treatments for disc injuries, muscle pain, and spinal ligament instability.

Shockwave therapy, laser therapy and the proper movement therapy stimulates the regeneration of the discs. ligaments and muscles directly. Yes, decreased disc height can be changed and scar tissue can be broken up. As with any treatment, the earlier and sooner the treatment intervention begins the better the outcome.

I constantly look for research that helps recovery in sports injuries and therapies that offer effective therapeutic results.

If you want to try therapies that the top pro athletes are getting to alleviate back pain and hip pain call my office at 310-444-9393.

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Acoustic Wave Therapy – Hip & Groin Pain

Hip and groin pain are among the more common problems I see in my practice.

‘Sports hernia’, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, adductor muscle strain, hip osteoarthritis and impingement syndrome are all common diagnosis patients present with. Before presenting to me some patients have tried cortisone shots, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, stem cell injection, physical therapy and exercise.

It is not unusual to find the pain or symptoms in the hip and groin pain being referred pain from the lumbar spine, lower abdomen, and pelvis 1, 2, 3. Figuring this out is all part of making the proper diagnosis.

I will sit and talk to my patients and get a good history, provide a quality physical examination, identify pain causing generators, and come up with a working diagnosis.

Here is what the research tells us:
• The pain at the front of the hip and groin pain is commonly associated with osteoarthritis and hip labral tears.
• Rear hip pain is associated with piriformis syndrome, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, lumbar radiculopathy, and less commonly ischiofemoral impingement and vascular claudication.
• Lateral hip pain occurs with greater trochanteric pain syndrome.4
• Patients may also have hip and groin back from a herniated disc without back pain.5
• I often see tight hips that cause low back pain 6

The beneficial effects of Acoustic therapy for the above conditions are often experienced after only 3-6 treatments. Acoustic therapy is safe and non-invasive.
Please call the office at 310-444-9393 for more information.

1 Tan EW, Schon LC. Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Bearing Sutures for Tendon Repair and Healing in the Foot and Ankle. Foot Ankle Clin. 2016 Dec;21(4):885-890. doi: 10.1016/j.fcl.2016.07.015.
1 St-Onge E, MacIntyre IG, Galea AM. Multidisciplinary approach to non-surgical management of inguinal disruption in a professional hockey player treated with platelet-rich plasma, manual therapy and exercise: a case report. The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association. 2015;59(4):390-397.
2. McSweeney SE, Naraghi A, Salonen D, Theodoropoulos J, White LM. Hip and groin pain in the professional athlete. Can Assoc Radiol J. 2012 May;63(2):87-99.
3. Holmich P, Dienst M. Differential diagnosis of hip and groin pain. Symptoms and technique for physical examination. Orthopade. 2006 Jan;35(1):8, 10-5.
4. Wilson JJ, Furukawa M. Evaluation of the patient with hip pain. Am Fam Physician. 2014 Jan 1;89(1):27-34.
5. Oikawa Y et al. Lumbar disc degeneration induces persistent groin pain. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2012 Jan 15;37(2):114-8. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e318210e6b5.
6. Suarez JC, Ely EE, Mutnal AB, Figueroa NM, Klika AK, Patel PD, Barsoum WK. Comprehensive approach to the evaluation of groin pain.J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2013 Sep;21(9):558-70. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-21-09-558.

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Low Back Pain Treatment

In this study patients with chronic low back pain who followed cognitive intervention and exercise programs (versus surgery) improved signi?cantly in muscle strength compared with patients who underwent lumbar fusion. In the lumbar fusion group, muscle density (meaning ‘weak muscles’) decreased signi?cantly at L3–L4 compared with the exercise group.1

In addition to exercise therapy for chronic low back pain, current treatments include laser therapy and shockwave therapy for spinal problems, especially when scar tissue has formed. If you have damaged spinal ligaments causing spinal instability or ‘Enthesopathy’ (areas of irritable ligament attachment to bone) a trial of exercise and laser is highly recommended.

Dr. Jeffrey Tucker has created new treatments combining laser therapy, shockwave therapy and exercise to stimulate stem cell activity. Most up-to-date doctors agree that treating back pain patients with conservative care is better than injections or surgery. Doctors that understand how to treat chronic low back pain such as degenerative disc disease, address the problems of spinal ligament instability and scar tissue formation by stimulating the body’s natural ability to regenerate the discs indirectly – decrease spinal stiffness, increase paraspinal muscle activation/strength, and increase hydration in the discs.2 This approach helps decrease pain in the low back.

Please feel free to call my office for a consultation 310-444-9393

  1. Keller A, Brox JI, Gunderson R, Holm I, Friis A, Reikerås O. Trunk muscle strength, cross-sectional area, and density in patients with chronic low back pain randomized to lumbar fusion or cognitive intervention and exercises. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2004 Jan 1;29(1):3-8.
  2. Röllinghoff M, Schlüter-Brust K, Groos D, et al. Mid-range outcomes in 64 consecutive cases of multilevel fusion for degenerative diseases of the lumbar spine. Orthopedic Reviews. 2010;2(1):e3.
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Chronic Low Back Pain & Surgery

West Los Angeles Chiropractor

Patients who are thinking about spinal injections or surgery, or have had spinal surgery (fusion, disc procedure, etc.) should see a Chiropractor trained in proper exercise therapy and who uses laser therapy and other new technology such as acoustic wave therapy to improve spinal strength and stability. In addition, scar tissue and muscle atrophy needs to be evaluated and treated. This can help prevent costly and risky injections and surgery.

Why is failed back surgery syndrome so common? Researchers at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University in Japan:

Up to 25% of patients report unimproved or worse pain and up to 40% are not happy with the outcome of lumbar fusion.

The possible reasons for poor results include instrumentation failure, inadequate surgical technique, and poor patient selection.

In patients who had continued pain after back surgery, muscle biopsies revealed:

Atrophy of paraspinal muscles

Loss of muscular support leading to disability and increased biomechanical strain and possibly failed back syndrome.1

In another study researchers found that the muscles adjacent to the fusion (the paraspinal muscles of the lumbar spine) play an important role in recovery. The muscles become weak and unstable after a spinal fusion.2 If those muscles remain damaged or weakened, the spine is unstable and pain persists.2

I can’t say enough about this…Doctors at Oslo University Hospital examined patients who had continued pain 7 to 11 years after spinal fusion. They found reduced muscle strength and density of tissue one year after lumbar fusion: 27% reduction in muscle density.3 Again, patients need a skilled practitioner like myself to help them properly build strength and stability…but I recommend doing this before injections or surgery if at all possible.

1 Ohtori S, Orita S, Yamauchi K, et al. Classification of Chronic Back Muscle Degeneration after Spinal Surgery and Its Relationship with Low Back Pain. Asian Spine Journal. 2016;10(3):516-521.

2 Malakoutian M, Street J, Wilke HJ, Stavness I, Dvorak M, Fels S, Oxland T. Role of muscle damage on loading at the level adjacent to a lumbar spine fusion: a biomechanical analysis. Eur Spine J. 2016 Sep;25(9):2929-37.

3 Froholdt A, Holm I, Keller A, Gunderson RB, Reikeraas O, Brox JI. No difference in long-term trunk muscle strength, cross-sectional area, and density in patients with chronic low back pain 7 to 11 years after lumbar fusion versus cognitive intervention and exercises. Spine J. 2011 Aug;11(8):718-25.

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Hip & Low Back pain

In a recent study in the journal PMR, (June 2017) a Washington University School of Medicine team found links between the hip and the spine affecting pain and function. The key finding was that hip disease, before it was even evident on an MRI as osteoarthritis, could cause problems in the lower back.The hip was the true disguised pain generator in back pain patients. This is no surprise to me and my patients. Every patient in my office has had a hip evaluation if they present with low back pain. This truly is a case where the science is catching up with what active practitioners have known for years.

What is this research telling us? If you had an MRI of your hip, and nothing presented itself as obvious, then the doctor may chase something in the spine that is not causing the pain.

The link that the researchers are still missing is that tight and immobile hips cause increased dysfunctional motion in the lower lumbar spine and this causes excess rubbing and irritation in the low back.

The same team of researchers, publishing earlier in February 2017 were also able to conclude that physical examination findings indicating hip osteoarthritis (loss of range of motion and acute pain) are common in patients who also have low back pain. A patient presenting with low back pain should be examined for hip osteoarthritis).2

1 Prather H, Cheng A, May KS, Maheshwari V, VanDillen L. Association of Hip Radiograph Findings with Pain and Function in Patients Presenting with Low Back Pain. PM&R. 2017 Jun 16.

2. Prather H, Cheng A, May KS, Maheshwari V, VanDillen L. Hip and Lumbar Spine Physical Examination Findings in People Presenting With Low Back Pain With or Without Lower Extremity Pain. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2017 Feb 3:1-36. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2017.6567.

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Is Sockwave therapy and laser therapy the right treatment for damaged discs and bulges?

Both Shockwave and laser help damaged disc and bulges by:

  • Stem cell activation: Stem cells are effective in inhibiting disc degeneration and disc herniation. It’s a pretty complex interplay between the stem cells and the immune system cells but the result can be disc tissue regeneration.
  • Stem cell activation: This will promote regeneration of the outer tissue of the disc and help contain and lessen the bulge (scar tissue formation).
  • Stem cell activation:The increased number of cells to the area brings more oxygen to the damaged disc and accelerates healing by reversing the low-oxygen (degenerative or dying) environment in the spine. Everything heals better and faster with increased oxygen.
  • Stem cell activation reduces and prevents herniation by suppressing the non-healing inflammation.

Office phone 310-444-9393

References: Cunha C, Almeida CR, Almeida MI, Silva AM, Molinos M, Lamas S, Pereira CL, Teixeira GQ, Monteiro AT, Santos SG, Gonçalves RM, Barbosa MA. Systemic Delivery  of Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells for In Situ Intervertebral Disc Regeneration. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2016 Oct 11. pii: sctm.2016-0033.

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CROSSFIT Chiropractor Los Angeles

You say you want to be like an athlete? Ok, then let me check the range of motion in your breathing patterns, neck, thoracic region, lumbopelvic region, hips, shoulders and feet. I don’t mind if you are slow when you run or workout. I do mind if you are stiff, because that can put you at risk for injury.

Then let me check some ‘isometric hold’ positions of your back side, abdominal side and lateral side muscles. I am more interested in you owning your own body weight then I am interested in how much you can squat, or how much you can deadlift, or bench press. I want to watch you perform body weight squats, deadlifts and perform a push up because I am interested in your movement patterns. These tests are part of a good functional assessment.

If you can demonstrate that you own your body weight in isometric holds and squats, I want you to start thinking about more STRENGTH in everything else. For my CROSSFIT patients this means using barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, TRX, sleds, and sandbags, etc. I need you to demonstrate strength and power in every plane of movement both bilaterally and unilaterally.
I work with the general population and crossfit athletes, and give them cutting edge treatments like laser, shockwave, pneumatic cupping, and vibration therapy. I use training tips and methods from how athletes train.

Dr. Jeffrey Tucker is a Diplomate in Chiropractic Rehabilitation and a Sports Practitioner, Certified Chiropractic Soft Tissue Practitioner, PES/CES – NASM, FMS Level 1 & 2 Certified & SMFA Certified, Instrument Assisted Tools Certified and a Performance Health Lead Instructor.

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Knee osteoarthritis: Stem cells vs laser/shockwave therapy

New research continues to establish stem cell therapy as a first line of treatment for athletic joint injuries.

In the Journal of Knee Surgery doctors from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh:

  • Biologic agents (stem cells and blood platelets or PRP therapy) are gaining popularity in the management of bony and soft tissue conditions about the knee. They are becoming the mainstay of nonoperative therapy in the high-demand athletic population.

In my office I use non-invasive laser and shock wave therapy as the first line of treatment of various joint conditions. We are demonstrating improved outcomes following laser and shock wave therapy treatment compared to standard physical therapy modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation. To my knowledge, I am not aware of studies that compare TheraLase laser and Enpuls shockwave or PiezoWave acoustic wave therapy to injection. We are the most experienced Los Angeles chiropractic office for providing non-invasive treatment for early osteoarthritis of the knee, chronic patellar tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis.

  • Early clinical evidence also lends support for PRP in the augmentation of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Research investigating the role of biologic agents in collateral ligament and meniscal injuries is ongoing. Studies assessing the utility of stem cells have shown encouraging results in the setting of osteoarthritis.

Again, I prefer to have patients start with a trial of TheraLase and shock wave therapy especially for knee osteoarthritis instead of spending a lot of money and risk with shots/injections. 

  • I believe the shift is occurring where the volume and quality of evidence continues to grow for biologic agents, and laser/shock wave therapy are poised to become an integral component of comprehensive patient care throughout all orthopedic specialties.2

1 Kopka M, Bradley JP. The Use of Biologic Agents in Athletes with Knee Injuries. J Knee Surg. 2016 May 20. [Epub ahead of print]

2 Filardo G, Perdisa F, Roffi A, Marcacci M, Kon E. Stem cells in articular cartilage regeneration. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research. 2016;11:42. doi:10.1186/s13018-016-0378-x.

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Low Back Pain Chiropractor

 

Chronic low back pain serves no known helpful purpose. “Back pain is complex to diagnose and expensive to treat. The implications of chronic unremitting low back pain on health quality, worker productivity, and social dynamics are marked. As with any area of medicine, inaccurate diagnosis leading to treatments that do not target the underlying disease exposes patients to risk without benefit (University of Minnesota’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery). It is my opinion that patients should exhaust non-invasive treatments before scheduling back surgery. I am not opposed to surgery but (only) approximately 60% of patients derive clinically important benefits from lumbar surgery.”1 The key to success is patient selection and the proper procedure. Failed back surgery syndrome is self-explanatory and all too common.

 

In the August 3, 2016 edition of the New York Times, an important update on back pain was written by author Gina Kolata. She concluded: Surgery was no better than alternative nonsurgical treatments, like supervised exercise and therapy to help patients deal with their fear of back pain. In both groups, the pain usually diminished or went away.

 

As a sports medicine and chronic pain specialist I treat chronic low back pain with a combination of modalities such as TheraLase laser, Light Force laser, EnPuls shockwave therapy, PiezoWave acoustic wave therapy, SCENAR, Ketogenic diet, supplements, ergonomics, and gentle movement. These treatments are being given the new name of “regenerative chiropractic care”. If you have acute or chronic pain you may require stabilizing the spine, but please, first try by non-surgical repair of muscles, tendons and ligaments.

 

1 Polly DW, Cher D. Ignoring the sacroiliac joint in chronic low back pain is costly. ClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research: CEOR. 2016;8:23-31. doi:10.2147/CEOR.S97345.

2 Schütz U1, Grob D. Poor outcome following bilateral sacroiliac joint fusion for degenerative sacroiliac joint syndrome. Acta Orthop Belg. 2006 Jun;72(3):296-308.

  1. Shaffrey CI, Smith JS. Editorial: Stabilization of the sacroiliac joint. Neurosurg Focus. 2013 Jul;35(2 Suppl):Editorial. doi: 10.3171/2013.V2.FOCUS13273.
  2. el Barzouhi A, Vleggeert-Lankamp CL, Lycklama à Nijeholt GJ, Van der Kallen BF, van den Hout WB, Koes BW, Peul WC; Leiden-Hague Spine Intervention Prognostic Study Group. Predictive value of MRI in decision making for disc surgery for sciatica. J Neurosurg Spine. 2013 Dec;19(6):678-87. doi: 10.3171/2013.9.SPINE13349. Epub 2013 Oct 18.
  3. Kurosawa D, Murakami E, Ozawa H, Koga H, Isu T, Chiba Y, Abe E, Unoki E, Musha Y, Ito K, Katoh S, Yamaguchi T. A Diagnostic Scoring System for Sacroiliac Joint Pain Originating from the Posterior Ligament.Pain Med. 2016 Jun 10. pii: pnw117. [Epub ahead of print]
  4. Butt AM, Gill C, Demerdash A, Watanabe K, Loukas M, Rozzelle CJ, Tubbs RS. A comprehensive review of the sub-axial ligaments of the vertebral column: part I anatomy and function. Childs Nerv Syst. 2015 May 1. [Epub ahead of print]
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Chiropractic & Inflammation

Dr. Tucker uses natural ways to fight back against inflammation without resorting to risky meds.
For example:

  • Research continues to support a Mediterranean-style diet that can help improve the “quality of life” for arthritis patients. That includes cutting down on red meat, eating more servings of fish and veggies, adding a variety of nuts to your diet and using olive oil almost exclusively in your cooking and meals. Dr. Tucker can also recommend specific vitamins for you to take to help decrease inflammation.
  • Laser therapy — Dr. Tucker has two types of laser treatments to offer for pain relief! This method of treatment is safe and especially useful for inflammation in the neck, shoulders, hips and spine.
  • While exercise may be the last thing you probably feel like doing with an ‘inflammation’ condition, being more active, even small increases in movement have been found to help. One study that looked at over 1,600 adults with arthritis found that just 45 minutes of moderate activity a week was enough to significantly improve their ability to function. Swimming is said to be one of the best exercises you can do, even when you’re having an arthritic flare. Call 310-444-9393 to schedule an appointment.
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