When it comes to back pain, be sure you aren’t barking up the wrong tree!

Back pain of any kind, is a fairly common condition.

It seems that recently we are seeing at least one or two new patients a month who share similar histories.  Each of these patients say they experience one-sided lower back pain.  They also all report that they have had an MRI that shows some kind of disc bulge.  Many of them also report that have pain into their buttock or groin.

When someone goes to a doctor for back pain, the typical medical standard of care is to order an MRI.  The thought is to first rule out any serious pathology.  When the MRI results of the lower back are discussed, the most common findings is a disc bulge.  The thing is, most humans have some sort of mild to moderate disc bulge (or two) and mild to moderate disc bulges are mostly asymptomatic.  What happens is that the MRI rules out anything serious but it provides the doctor with a quick and easy diagnosis which results in the prescription of rest and medication to quell the pain.

The trouble, however, is that it does nothing to fix the problem.  It only sets the stage for future bouts of chronic pain, which only worsens over time and in the end, weakens the condition.

This is what I call barking up the wrong tree.

Fortunately for the patients I mentioned earlier, the ones I’ve been seeing have found their way into a chiropractic office.

In our office, we perform the usual neurologic and orthopedic examination, but we also perform a structural chiropractic evaluation, which looks at balance, symmetry, and motion.  By doing this complete examination of patients with one-sided low back pain, invariably the things we discover points to the sacroiliac joint as the culprit, not the bulging disc.

The good news for my patients is that the initial examination protocol and care recommendation creates almost immediate relief.  When we do a complete examination and are able to confirm the diagnosis of a mechanical problem that rules out any serious pathology.

This is what I call barking up the right tree. 

Please understand, I say this with all due respect.  The frequency with which I see this occurring has made it become clear that this very painful, and very common low back instability frequently eludes the biggest and the best medical doctors.  Perhaps the reason that many in the medical profession miss the issue with the sacroiliac joint might be that even if they were aware of the prevalence and significance of Sacroiliac dysfunction, they wouldn’t know how to treat it.

If you are experiencing left or right-sided low back pain, with or without radiations into the leg or groin, I welcome the opportunity to evaluate your condition.  My hope is to be able to provide the relief that barking up the wrong tree has not yet been able to give you.  My goal is to help as many people as possible experience better health, naturally!

Peter A. Holst, DC