We provide lower back pain treatment for acute & severe back pain, aiming to reduce pain levels as quickly as possible. If you are suffering with low back pain pain right now, call for your assessment today. We also treat back pain due to injury accidents, chronic back pain and pain that radiates into the leg(s) from the lower back (Sciatica).
Dr. Tracy A. Norris is a Chiropractor and is the only Chiropractor in Wichita certified in McKenzie Diagnosis and Therapy® who treats low back pain. At Wichita Pain Center, we serve patients in and around the Wichita Kansas area, with Chiropractic care and we teach our patients to treat their own lower back pain. We encourage active patient participation in their care in restoring function and reducing pain by using learned self-management protocols and prescribed, specific exercises to affect and gain control over your own lower back symptoms.
Each joint in the lower back is a mechanical joint, that is held together with ligaments and moved about by muscular "levers" and it functions mechanically, similar to car parts working together for a specific function. Mechanical lower back pain occurs when two spinal bones are placed in a position that over-stretches the joint ligaments, disc and other soft tissue such as spinal discs. Disc damage including tears, bulges, herniations and sequestrations can occur, all with different levels of pain and dysfunction. Acute lower back pain due to a damaged disc can cause a person to not be able to straighten up or bend forward, or they may stand off-center to get away from the damaged area and the pain. Treatment of mechanical issues as described above are designed to reduce the disturbance, reduce or abolish pain and return function.
To understand how easily some mechanical pains can be produced, try bending your finger backwards until you feel a strain. Initially there is only a minor discomfort which will go away quickly once you remove the tension, without any damage to the tissue. However, if the bent finger is left in this overstretched position or even pushed into further stress or violently overstretched, pain will come about and if the stress is large enough, will eventually overstretch, tear and cause pain. This tearing results in aching which even continues after the stress is removed. The pain increases with movements performed in the "stressed" direction and pain reduces when the joint is moved the opposite direction. This is the basis of our ability to design a repetitive movement exercise that will reduce the stress and remodel damaged tissue, thereby reducing or eliminating pain and dysfunction.
Research commonly shows that low back pain simply comes on for no reason, as lower back conditions are usually an accumulation of traumas that all of a sudden show up as pain. The two most common causes are improper sitting posture over time and improper lifting technique. However, lower back pain is also caused by known events such as slips and falls, lifting accidents, auto accidents and work-related accidents. Common causes of lower back pain are disc bulges or herniations, facet (joint) syndrome, pinched nerves, sciatica and subluxation (misalignment of the joints).
Discs that have fissures, bulges and herniations can cause lower back pain and radiating pain into the buttock, hip or leg, cause tingling, numbness and weakness. These types of disc problems can be remodeled as long as the disc maintains its integrity.
Why Do Lumbar Discs, Ligaments and Muscles Deform?
Just like the famous handprint in the memory foam pillow, tissues such as discs and ligaments deform because of repetitive movements or long-term improper postures. In healthy discs, the tissue is deformed for a short period, then returns to normal, just like the memory foam pillow. However, when the loads of bad posture or repetitive movements overcome the abilities of the tissue to withstand the forces, it breaks down and fails to return to normal.
When nerves in the lower back become pinched due to lumbar disc bulges or herniations, it can cause a variety of neurological symptoms such as numbness, pain, tingling, burning, and paresthesia (loss of sensation). The doctor uses information provided during the history and from a neurological examination to discover which nerve is producing symptoms. Each nerve provides either sensation or motor (strength) to a certain location in the body, which assists in the diagnosis. Lumbar nerves are named from 1-5 with an "L" in front to designate Lumbar. Sacral nerves are also numbered, but their designation begins with an "S".
Does Low Back Pain Always Require Surgery?
It is surprising the number of unnecessary surgeries that are found in the research. In the U.S., fusion surgeries have increased dramatically over the past few decades, strikingly similarly timed with compensation from insurance companies allowing the service. Conditions like disc herniations and bulges, degenerative disc disease that are found by MRI, CAT scan or x-ray are not necessarily directly linked with back pain. Many with degeneration and disc herniation don't have symptoms at all. So how do you determine if you need surgery or don't need surgery? A thorough examination by one of our doctors can determine if the disc or degeneration condition you have is causing the pain or not and whether your condition can be helped with conservative measures, without surgery.
Unless its an emergency, before having an injection or surgery for your lower back pain or bulged or herniated disc, you deserve to have a mechanical evaluation to determine whether conservative care can affect your pain in a positive way. The assessment done at Wichita Pain Center by Dr. Tracy A. Norris, DC, will provide very beneficial information prior to such an important decision in your healthcare.
Having a mechanical assessment for lower back pain can provide valuable information when you are facing spinal injections and back surgery due to unresolved lower back pain. The assessment moves you around in different directions and we are looking for the bodies response to those movements. Certain movements may produce the pain, others may improve it and yet others may cause the pain to go away completely. If a movement can be found that improves your pain (called a directional preference), the research indicates that you may have a good prognosis and might be able to avoid surgery and even be able to self-treat your own lower back pain and either prevent or treat any future occurrences.
Being examined by a Certified Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy Clinician, like Dr. Tracy Norris, will provide you valuable information you need to understand whether you will be able to control or relieve your lower back or sciatica pain without drugs or surgery. Our goal in the examination is to find a single direction of movement, that when performed repetitively will remodel deformed and damaged tissue in the discs, ligaments or muscles and help relieve pain and return normal function.
After a thorough history and examination our doctors can determine whether your lower back pain is treatable with the McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy®. If so, you will be provided the tools and knowledge necessary to be able to not only treat your own headaches, but be able to prevent, or treat future episodes.
Results vary as each condition is unique. Not all painful conditions can be relieved or functionality be improved, regardless the type of treatment.
Myth 1- Acute Lower Back Pain is Short-Term Pain
The claim that lower back pain is a short-term problem goes against the current body of research evidence. In fact, many research studies show that over 50% of patients with acute low back pain suffer with intermittent or persistent pain or disability, reducing the quality of their lives and interfering with their livelihood. Back pain is really a lifelong problem with occasional grumblings of symptoms, episodes and recurrences. This is why simply treating acute low back pain as a single incident, without providing the patient with a long-term solution of self-assessment and self-treatment tools and knowledge could be considered utterly absurd.
Myth 2- Spinal Manipulation is the Best and Most Effective Treatment for Low Back Pain
There are several medical disciplines that provide manipulation as part of their services (Chiropractic, Doctor of Osteopathy and Physical Therapists), and manipulation has been used more than a century. Recent decades of research suggests that the benefits to spinal manipulation are unproven as this treatment's effect is minor and often has contradictory results (Koes: 1991, 1996).
According to Robin McKenzie (founder of McKenzie Diagnosis and Therapy®), "about 80% of patients with common back problems can be taught self-treatment methods... Of those 80%, only 10% will require any form of clinician applied manipulative therapy" (results may vary). Manipulation has it's place, and when it is called for it is usually effective for it's intended purpose. In any event, "spinal manipulation should certainly not be used before self-treatment measures have proven unsuccessful. Failing to educate patients in methods that allows them to treat themselves indicates negligence" (Robin McKenzie CNZM, OBE, Dip MDT, Dip MT, author-"Treat Your Own Back" 9th edition p.6). Results may vary.
Not so. According to the US Federal Agency for Healthcare Policy, there is no supportive scientific evidence that diathermy or ultrasound provide any long term benefit for acute back care, and that they do nothing for the underlying problem or accelerate healing. A passive therapy is a treatment in which you lie on a table or sit in a chair and a doctor or physical therapist does something to you such as manipulation or ultrasound. Fortunately, modern treatment methods are moving away from such passive type care toward patient self-reliance and empowerment with self-treatment methods to help relieve lower back pain.
This belief is widespread but generally untrue. While inflammation does occur in the presence of certain condition such as Anklylosing Spondylitis (AS), sudden onset acute lower back pain is usually entirely mechanical in nature, meaning it results from the acute or chronic overstretching of lower back ligaments and disc tissue (coined a "slipped disc", but the disc doesn't really slip).
Everyone gets degeneration (arthritis) in the spine at some point in their lives, as it naturally occurs with aging and can be accelerated by trauma. When Osteoarthritis is seen on an x-ray, MRI or CAT scan it means that there has been wear and tear with some repairing processes, but it doesn't mean that the degeneration is the cause of the pain. It has been shown in research that wearing and degeneration in the lower back is found in about as many people who have never experienced lower back pain before, as people that have chronic lower back pain. There is just not a direct connection.
1. "It is expected that most people with an acute episode of Low Back Pain will improve rapidly, but a proportion of patients will develop persistent lower levels of pain and disability" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1274327/
--Pengel LH, Herbert RD, Maher CG, Kathryn RM. Acute low back pain: Systematic review of its prognosis. BMJ. 2003;327:1–5.
--Thomas E, Silman AJ, Croft PR, Papageorgiou AC, Jayson M, Macfarlane GJ. Predicting who develops chronic low back pain in primary care: a prospective study. BMJ. 1999;318:1662–1667.
2. The McKenzie protocol is thought to promote rapid symptom improvement in patients with LBP and this is one of the reasons that therapists (and doctors) choose this therapy.
--Delitto A, Cibulka MT, Erhard RE, Bowling RW, Tenhula JA. Evidence for use of an extension-mobilization category in acute low back syndrome: A prescriptive validation pilot study. Phys Ther. 1993;73:216–228.
--Schenk RJ, Jozefczyk C, Kopf A. A randomized trial comparing interventions in patients with lumbar posterior derangement. J Manual Manip Ther. 2003;11:95–102.
The McKenzie method for the management of acute non-specific low back pain: design of a randomized controlled trial BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2005; 6: 50. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1274327/
3. "What is so impressive about rapidly reversible Low Back Pain is that this extraordinary phenomenon helps solve most individuals' low back pain."
--Ronald Donelson, MD, MS Rapidly Reversible Low Back Pain - An evidence based pathway to widespread recoveries and savings. Introduction pg 2.
Results vary as each condition is unique. Not all lower back painful conditions can be relieved or functionality be improved, regardless the type of treatment