San Francisco Spine Surgeons

Alternative
Therapy Northern California

Introduction

Spinal problems are very common, and approximately 90% of people will have some back problem severe enough to seek a healthcare practitioner during their lifespan. It is also true that 90% of the problems will resolve within six weeks regardless of therapeutic intervention. In part because of this, many various therapies are available and, when administered early on the course of disease, will have an apparent high success rate. In general, these treatments have a very low rate of possible complications, and their main risk is likely delaying appropriate treatment when severe structural disease is present and may be worsening according to its natural course.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is effective for some people in diminishing pain. It will not, of course, correct a severe structural problem, and the benefits may be transitory.

Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic treatment usually includes manipulative therapy, various forms of traction, and various modalities, depending on the practitioner. The success of the treatment intervention will depend on the skills of the chiropractor, who is able to apply a host of different techniques. The effects of the treatment will usually not be lasting in the face of marked spinal structural derangements.

Feldenkrais

This system of motion and body position control is often effective for muscle and joint dysfunctions that are not too severe.

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Stimulation (PEMF)

These devices have been shown to accelerate wound healing and diminish inflammation in chronic and acute settings. They produce a pulsed electromagnetic field, which stimulates the healing capacity of irritated or injured cells in the range of the field.

Traction

Traction applied properly can actually enlarge the nerve passageway in the spine. For the lumbar spine, a fairly elaborate setup is required, which physical therapy and chiropractic offices often have to effectively apply traction across the lumbar spine. Aside from these elaborate setups, gravity traction units are effective for some people and can be purchased reasonably for home use. For the cervical spine, because of the neck’s smaller structure, traction can be very effective and delivered in home units. The preferred units work in the supine position and do not rely on the jaw, such as the over-the-door type. Chronic pressure on the jaw can cause temporomandibular problems, which also can stimulate neck symptoms.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

These devices, which are placed on the skin, cause an electrical stimulation that competes with the area that is causing the pain. These are usually applied by physical therapists.


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