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Spinal Decompression and L5-S1 Disc Herniation

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Spinal Decompression Therapy with DRX9000

We have been providing spinal decompression in San Francisco for over 10 years.

The most common disc to herniate in the lumbar spine is the L5-S1 Disc. The L5-S1 disc is the very last disc in the spine and is positioned between the L5 lumbar vertebrae and the Sacrum in the L5-S1 disc space.

The reason this disc is more prone to disc bulges and herniation is because it takes on more stress than the other spinal discs because it is the last one at the base of the spine.

Because of this,  the majority of the patients we treat with spinal decompression therapy have L5-S1 disc herniations.

For the most part, a disc herniation will develop slowly over time as part of a degenerative process that will include the surrounding bone and ligaments. The disc will lose height, water content and flexibility.

As this process unfolds the outer containment walls of the disc give way to the gelatinous center of the disc which pushes out onto the nerves and spinal cord resulting in pain and dysfunction. Sometimes sciatica develops, which is pain in the leg/s.

In any case, spinal decompression is often able to achieve favorable outcomes even in the worst of cases. A favorable outcome can be anything from avoiding surgery to a complete resolution of the problem. In rare cases disc decompression does nothing to help. Just know…this is the exception and not the rule.

If you have been diagnosed with an L5-Si lumbar disc herniation or any other kind of herniation, disc bulge, degenerative disc disease, or facet syndrome…you may be a candidate for disc decompression with the DRX9000.

To find out if you are a candidate for spinal decompression in San Francisco please call 415-392-2225. Ask for a complimentary consultation. 

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Spinal Decompression or Chiropractic?

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Spinal Decompression Therapy with DRX9000

We have been providing chiropractic and spinal decompression services in San Francisco for over 20 years in the Financial District.

Often times patients present to our clinic with back or neck pain related to a herniated disc and say they are interested in nonsurgical spinal decompression with the DRX9000 or DRX9000c.

This is great, but it may not make the most sense. The reason I say this is that pinched nerves due to bulging or herniated discs respond favorably to conventional chiropractic care, which is cheaper and less of a time commitment than disc decompression.

Sure, a certain percentage of herniated disc patients will not respond to chiropractic and will end up on the decompression machine…but we find it works best when we try chiropractic first.

Some patients do not want to try chiropractic for various reasons and we will honor their wishes and initiate decompression. Some patients have already tried chiropractic without favorable results so we go right to decompression. And sometimes we do both chiropractic and decompression together.

All cases are different. When you have as much experience as we do treating lumbar and cervical disc herniations non-surgically, you get good at mixing and matching therapies. We also incorporate acupuncture, physical therapy, and deep tissue laser as needed into the mix and the results are outstanding.

So, if you have been diagnosed with a herniated disc and are wondering if you should try chiropractic or spinal decompression, why not go to a chiropractor that does both and has lots of experience. Chances are you will be glad you did 🙂

To schedule an appointment with one of our back pain doctors in San Francisco please call 415-392-2225.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Neck and Shoulder Pain?

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DRX9000c Cervical Decompression

We have been providing nonsurgical treatment for neck and shoulder pain in San Francisco for over 20 years in the Financial District.

If you are experiencing neck, shoulder or arm pain you may have a “pinched nerve” from a herniated or bulging disc in the neck. There are other causes as well such as misaligned vertebrae, muscle spasms, degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis.

Chiropractic care is probably your best bet for a pinched nerve in the neck. If chiropractic fails to deliver results there is always nonsurgical cervical decompression with the DRX9000c.

Cervical decompression systems like the DRX9000c are designed and built to treat cervical disc herniations and bulges naturally. They do this be enlarging the disc space, elongating the spine, and strengthening the spinal muscles ligaments and tendons.

A typical course of treatment is 20 sessions over a 6-8 week period. The sessions are an hour long. Treatment cost is approx $3500 depending on what level of service is required.

Success rates are high if your case is accepted.

To find out if you are a candidate for neck and shoulder pain treatment in San Francisco call 415-392-2225. Ask for a complimentary consultation.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Low Back Pain Treatment

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Lumbar decompression with the DRX9000

We have been providing low back pain treatment in San Francisco for over 20 years in the Financial District. We use a combination of chiropractic, deep tissue laser therapy, massage, exercise, and spinal decompression with the DRX9000.

Most of the time spinal decompression is not necessary, but when it is, it’s nice to have onsite.

The most common causes of low back pain are subluxations (misalignment’s) in the lumbar spine, sacrum and pelvis, bulging and herniated lumbar discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and Piriformis Syndrome. There are others but they are rare.

When it comes to low back pain treatment it can be a little tricky. Sometimes patients get better right away and sometimes it takes a while. It depends on the patients age, level of spinal degeneration, any complications, and the nature and severity of the underlying cause of the back pain (which can be difficult to identify).

So, we take all the information we have and formulate a treatment plan. A typical treatment plan at our SF back pain center is 10 visits or so over a 3-4 week period. We will use spinal adjustments, massage, stretching, ice, and home/work modifications to achieve favorable outcomes in the majority of cases. If low back pain or sciatica persists we may want to order an MRI of the lumbar spine to quantify the problem and rule out herniated or bulging disc pathology.

Our next step is spinal decompression with the DRX9000. This is typically 20 sessions over 6-8 weeks. The sessions are one hour long and include muscle stimulation and ice…laser if needed. The cost is $3500. Sure, it’s expensive but we have helped over 2000 patients with the DRX9000 and most are happy they did the treatment. It’s all about quality of life. Decompression therapy is safe, gentle and highly effective.

If you are looking for low back pain treatment in San Francisco you should give us a call. Ask for a complimentary consultation and tour of the DRX9000.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Disc Bulges and Herniations: Most of Us Have Them

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Lumbar decompression with the DRX9000

Disc Bulges and Disc Herniations are Common. That’s right. If we were to randomly select 100 people off the street and perform a diagnostic MRI to their lumbar spines, 60%+ would reveal disc bulges or disc herniations.

And most would not even have any symptoms or loss of function. But some would have severe low back pain and sciatica and be unable to function normally.

Heck, 80% or more of us will have a bout of severe back pain at least once in our life. And the #1 predisposing factor to chronic back pain is previous back pain. Back pain is epidemic.

Some experts believe discs are becoming injured all the time and the body is repairing these injuries itself. In fact, research suggests that it is best to wait and there is no real advantage to having QUICK low back surgery when it is determined a person has a herniated disc in the low back. It may heal on it’s own and there are nonsurgical treatments now to speed up the process or help initiate the process when the body is unable to.

BUT…just like the immune system is always battling germs and fighting disease (and some still get sick)…in some people the disc herniations do not repair themselves and they DO cause symptoms and loss of function….sometimes severe.  From my studies this occurs about 15% of the time and still amounts to a very large number of people. WHY?

Well…the discs get lodged and displaced in a certain way that puts pressure on the delicate spinal cord and nerve fibers and the body is unable to fix it. Then, the immune system attacks the area as if it were an enemy in a war over and over to prevent further harm (the inflammation process). The muscles go into spasms to protect the injured disc and restrict the motion that the disc needs to take in nutrients and waste products. The chain reaction can be devastating to some. The condition becomes chronic (over 90 days) and continues to degenerate until the nerve pressure can be removed.

Does this require surgery? Maybe…but maybe not!

There is a treatment called nonsurgical spinal decompression that is done on a machine that is designed and built to repair disc bulges and disc herniations in the low back and neck. The disc decompression machine we use in San Francisco is the DRX9000.

Just like a “respirator” helps the lungs to breath until they can do it on their own, a “spinal decompression machine” does the same thing for the spinal discs. The decompression process mimics the natural motion of the spine and helps to unlock the herniated discs and relocate them to a more normal position.

Now this does not happen overnight…it takes 20 one hour visits or more and a lot of effort by the patient and doctor. It is NOT a “magic bullet”. What it IS is the most technologically advanced nonsurgical treatment for herniated and bulging disc available in the marketplace today.

Our Spinal Decompression Clinic in San Francisco has been offering the DRX9000 to herniated disc patients as a surgical alternative for almost 10 years now. We introduced San Francisco to spinal decompression and we have helped thousands and thousands of patients avoid back surgery and return to more normal lives.

To find out if you are a candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression in San Francisco please call 415-392-2225 and ask for a “complimentary consultation”. We validate parking at the Embarcadero Center in the Financial District where we are located.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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When Choosing a Spinal Decompression Doctor: Experience Matters!

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Spinal Decompression Therapy with DRX9000

We have been providing spinal decompression in San Francisco for over 9 years. We have been serving downtown  San Francisco for over 20 years providing natural solutions for cervical and lumbar herniated and bulging discs. We specialize in chronic and severe neck pain,  low back pain and sciatica. The machine we use is the DRX9000 spinal decompression system. Prior to this we had perfected a back and neck pain treatment regimen that included chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, and deep tissue laser therapy.

Spinal disc  decompression gave us a “next step” for disc patients that did not respond to our normal lumbar and cervical disc treatment protocols. Instead of referring for a surgical consultation we could now handle these cases in house. Since then we have performed over 25,000 spinal decompression sessions on thousands of patients and the result have mostly been outstanding.

When it comes to spinal decompression results “experience matters”. There are many decisions to be made from the very start to the finish and then post care and rehab.

A Spinal decompression machine is NOT a commodity like a gallon of milk. Just because a doctor has a DRX9000 or similar machine does not mean they know what to do with it. The DRX9000 is a tool, and like all tools it’s use must be mastered.

Decisions like whether or not to even accept a patient for disc decompression therapy. Where to start as far as pounds of pull? What spinal disc to target? What other therapies to do along with the decompression treatment? How many sessions to do? When to change the angle of pull? Nutritional support to reduce inflammation? What about meditation and relaxation techniques…do they help? Then, the choice of exercises and rehab and whether or not to incorporate acupuncture, physical therapy or chiropractic…what about weight lifting? These are all decisions that are better made with lots of experience and help determine treatment results (or not)…it’s not just about the machine.

Plus, does your spinal decompression doctor have a decompression support blog? Are there spinal decompression patients onsite you can talk to? How many years have they been in business? How many years experience do they have performing cervical and lumbar spinal decompression? It all matters…Big Time!

To find out if you are a candidate for care at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center, please call 415-392-2225 and ask for a complimentary consultation.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Low Back Pain Travel Tips: Part 3

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Low Back Pain

Low back pain (LBP) and the discussion of traveling tips will be concluded this month. Please refer to the last 2 months for other great traveling tips. Keep a copy of these in your travel bag!

BE PROACTIVE WITH THE AIRLINES: 1. Get an aisle seat. Request an aisle seat out of “medical necessity.” By stating it this way, the airlines will go out of their way to find you an aisle seat. It is easier to exit the seat in case you have to use the restroom or an emergency occurs. It also allows you to get up and walk around for exercise, which can reduce the irritation of LBP and reduce the chances of blood clots. We can provide a letter to travel with stating that you have LBP, which can help you get special considerations. 2. Request a wheelchair. Make sure the airline knows you would like a wheelchair. They will handle your carry-on, get you through security quicker, and get you to and from the gate in a safe, timely manner. Typically this request is done at the time you make your reservation, but you can also tell a flight attendant prior to landing and they will have it arranged by the time you de-plane at your arrival site. Since there is no way to know how long the security line will be or how long the distance will be between gates or to baggage claim, having a wheel chair pre-arranged is wise. 3. Request a row of seats. Typically, if the plane isn’t full, you can ask for a row of seats that are empty so you can put the arm rests up and spread out, lay down and be much more comfortable. 4. Recline your seat. Depending on your type of low back condition, you may feel most comfortable either in a vertical upright position or reclined position. Some seats, such as in the exit row or last row, do not recline so ask when booking your flight or when you check-in to make sure your seat is adjustable. 5. Stay stretched. Prolonged sitting has many negative effects on muscles, joints, and circulation. Performing stretches from sitting or standing can help a lot, especially on long flights. Ask us to show you some easy-to-perform exercises that can be done in confined spaces! 6. Pre-board. This option allows you to board the plane first and gives you extra time. 7. Handicapped parking sticker. Consider this if walking is challenging for you. We can assist you in this effort and it will allow you to park close to the entrance at the airport. 8. Get a seat assignment. Getting “bumped” is common practice these days due to airlines purposely over-booking. If you do not initially obtain a seat assignment, call the airlines immediately to obtain a seat. Getting bumped can mean a delay for a couple hours up to a couple days!

SIT WITH SUPPORT: 1. Back Support. Using a special back support (if possible) or even a rolled up towel, pillow, or airline blanket between your back and seat can really help decrease low back pain. A small water bottle (tighten the cap!) is also a good option. The “bottom line” is comfort. If it feels good and relieving, it will be of benefit and help you. 2. Sit “supported.” Sitting with your knees bent at a right angle (90°) pushing your feet into the floor can be relieving and offer good support, especially during take-offs and landings. Also, stretch your legs out straight periodically under the seat ahead of you. You may have to place your briefcase or carry-on behind your legs, in front of your seat to open up the space so you can stretch out. Lastly, drink plenty of water, slip your shoes off at times, get up and walk periodically, carry a note from us for special needs, and most importantly, ENJOY YOUR FLIGHT!!!

            We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule an appointment for back pain treatment in San Francisco Call 415-392-2225

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Spinal Decompression Soreness in the Beginning

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Lumbar decompression with the DRX9000

It is not unusual for lumbar and cervical spinal decompression patients to get even more sore than they already are temporarily. It’s like that splinter in your finger that is really bugging you. The longer it’s there the deeper it gets into your finger and the harder it becomes to remove. Then, when you finally decide to dig it out it becomes even more sore…temporarily, before it starts feeling better.

There are all kinds of examples and analogies we can use to describe why some people get sore when they start a DRX9000 spinal decompression program. Heck…the treatment IS physical. Just like when you start a new exercise program…good chance you will get sore. Now the more out of shape you are the more potential for soreness.

Depending on where the starting point is with your back or neck pain when we start decompression you may be more prone to soreness in the  beginning.

However…we know this and we try to minimize it by starting off very light and slowly increasing the pounds of force of the pull. We have you wear a back support all day, ice frequently, drink lots of water, take fish oil, eat lots of plant foods, and get plenty of rest. All these things help to reduce inflammation which is the primary source of pain.

As time goes on and you progress through the treatment the pain levels will subside. And usually the pain is not unbearable, it’s just uncomfortable. But like the old saying goes… “No Pain, No Gain”.

Believe me…it’s a small price to pay to reach our treatment objectives like most of our decompression patients do. It’s a process that thankfully usually has a happy ending 🙂

To schedule an appointment at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Clinic please call 415-392-2225. Ask for a complimentary consultation.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Leg Numbness with No Back Pain?

Have you been experiencing leg numbness or tingling in the leg or legs but you have no back pain? Well, you are not alone as this is a very common finding and symptom of a herniated disc in the low back. This is actually a form of Sciatica.

That’s right…it’s possible to have pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg but have no back pain. The reason for this is that the nerves that exit from the lumbar spine travel down the leg to the foot and carry nerve impulses and chemicals that are responsible for motor (movement) and sensory (what you feel) functions. Any kind of pressure on these nerves from a herniated or bulging lumbar disc and you can feel numbness, pins and needles, hot and cold, or burning sensations.

If the leg numbness in your leg/s persists you should visit a chiropractor or orthopedic doctor to be evaluated for possible lumbar disc pathology.

If you are diagnosed with a herniated disc you should not rush to have back surgery even though it may be recommended as a primary option. The reason for this is that we now know ruptured spinal discs can heal on their own with a little help from a chiropractor or a nonsurgical spinal decompression machine like the DRX9000.

Sure, there are rare situations where surgery is the only option but they are far and few in between. Most of the time it makes sense to try non invasive treatments for herniated disc repair first. And in my experience favorable outcomes are achieved more often than not.

So…if you are experiencing numbness or tingling in the legs (sciatica) and you want to find out if you have a herniated disc make an appointment to see a chiropractor ASAP.

If you live or work or plan on visiting San Francisco in the near future you can come see us.

To schedule an appointment with one of our Spinal Decompression Doctors in San Francisco call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation. We validate parking at the Embarcadero Center where we are located.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Is my Spinal Decompression Therapy Working?

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Lumbar decompression with the DRX9000

We have been providing cervical and lumbar disc decompression therapy in downtown San Francisco for over 8 years now. During this time we have helped thousands of patients with herniated and bulging discs return to more normal lives.

When we first consult with a spinal decompression patient we try to manage the expectations based on the nature and severity of their condition, their age, and our experience with similar cases.

The most important factor is the condition itself. Is there more than one disc herniation? Is there extensive spinal and disc degeneration? Are there any congenital factors like scoliosis or a short leg? Are there other spinal problems or previous micro-surgeries?

In general, the younger the patient is, and the better the overall condition of their health, the higher the odds of a favorable outcome during the typical recommended treatment plan, which is 20-24 sessions.

What happens along the way varies from patient to patient. Sometimes herniated disc patients feel worse at first because the body resists the decompression. The decompression machine (we use the DRX9000) senses this and makes adjustments to the force of the pull but still patients can and do get sore. This is why it is so important to ice frequently, drink lots of water, take fish oil supplements, and eat mostly vegetables and plant foods if possible during treatment, because all of these are “anti-inflammatory” and help reduce pain levels and promote healing.

We always start off slow and increase the intensity as the patient progresses. We look for what we call “signs of life”. Signs of Life can be standing for longer periods with less pain. Sleeping better. Less numbness or tingling. Feeling stronger. Being a little more mobile, etc. Rarely will someone just start feeling 100% better from the start…but it does happen. And when it does we still recommend following through with the treatment protocol.

More likely, treatment  progress is a slow steady progression with occasional setbacks. After-all, the back and neck conditions we are working on took a long time to develop and we are treating them naturally without drugs or surgery…so you feel the changes taking place. And the treatment is physical. The problem itself is physical and so is the solution…so expect to be kind of sore along the way.

Some patients feel better right away and some patients don’t start to feel better until the end…and everything in between. Our advice is to just “stay the course”. Let the treatment process unfold. At our clinic we only accept cases that have an exceptional chance of a favorable outcome. If you are ever concerned along the way that the treatment may not be working than let us know. We can put you in touch with some of our DRX9000 Alumni that went through the same thing.

On your end…make sure you do your home care, wear your back support, ice as much as you can, eat right, and do your exercises once we prescribe them for you. And of course, make all your appointment’s. If you do you increase the odds of success.

If you have any questions or concerns we are always here to help.

To find out if you are a candidate for care at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center please call 415-392-2225 and ask for a complimentary consultation.

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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