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1st Chiropractic visit this AM and I feel like I got beat up..

scmgurusscmguru Posts: 103
L5S1 DDD w/ Sciatica.. Pain since 8.2009.

I'm just about to pull the trigger on MicroD, but figured I'd give a visit to the Chiropractor a shot.

I've never been to one before, but this gentleman was highly recommended.

He did a lower, mid and upper back "adjustment" and then the same to my neck.

Ironically, the configuration he put my arms and legs in before pushing on me to make the adjustment, is the same position that causes my pain/weakness to flare up.

I'm feeling really sore and have nerve pain and slight tingling down both legs, worse than before the Chiropractor.

Is it normal to feel sore and maybe a bit worse afterward?

He said I'd need 3 visits over 3 days to re-adjust my lower back before I could even start thinking of stretches etc..

Is it normal to feel sore and maybe a bit worse afterward?

The last thing I want to do is make this worse.



  • I would be very careful about chiros. I am only talking from personal experience as some have said great things about them but I have found they are good if you have back pain that usually comes with age and work over time. For issues like a herniated disc or DDD I would recommend going with orthos, spinal orthos, PM or NS.

    In my experience by the end of 3 weeks I was having to walk with a cane. On top of that they would not refund the sessions I did not use. Also based upon people who had a positive experience with a chiro they feel great right after the session and than it goes back to feeling worse and with every session the good feeling lasts a bit longer.

    Please be careful as feeling worse after a session is not a good sign. This is not one of those first need to break through pain areas and than feel better.

  • I agree with js. If there is any nerve involvement, you don't want someone trying to rearrange your spine. Unless you have been advised by a spinal specialist to see a chiropractor for your problem, I would be very careful.

    Have you had a flexion/extension X-ray to see if you have any instability? It is fairly common with a problem at L5-S1. You would not want a chiropractor touching your back if there is any spondylolisthesis. It could do more harm than good.
  • Went to my 2nd session and am in pretty rough shape.

    I've got bilateral radicular pain and both my legs are feeling weak and a bit shaky.

    The leg sensations I've got right now are pretty disconcerting.

    I'm done with the Chiro.

    As an aside, my diagnosis is a 6mm broad based bulge w/ mild foraminal stenosis.

  • You are very lucky that you caught us here after the first appointment. The chiro would have done much more damage than good.

    Which type of DR are you going to? My suggestion would be to go straight to a spinal orthopedist. He will probably recommend PT and meds. I would tell him that you are in too much pain and would also like to see a PM and maybe get an ESI too bring down the swelling.

    During this time that you are waiting, avoid sitting, stand more often and look at some of the exercises on this site. Try to do lots of walking. Walking will be best for you. Than throughout the day do ice/heat 20 minutes atleast 3 times a day.

    Get ready mentally for a battle...focus on your recovery and do not think in terms of just doing normal life things. You will need to make adjustments right now.

    These are all the things I would tell anyone based upon my own experience. You can beat this but this has to become your focus.

    Good luck and keep us updated.

  • Thanks for the note.. I've been in this for a while (Since August).

    Already had 2 ESI's w/ only 3 days of relief.

    Any exercises other than walking cause a bad flare up.

    I don't know what else to do other than surgery.

  • I've had some success with visits to the Chiropractor. He used an 'activator' which is a much more gentle type of adjustment. It is a hand held device. I have a spondylolisthesis and did feel nervous at first. My surgeon does recommend Chiropractors as one type of conservative treatment. I have been over 50 times. Because of my slipped vertebra, my problem won't go away, but I do think I get help from my visits.

    After my very first visit, I was warned that I would have pain, and yes I did. I felt so sore and stiff. After that, my visits made me feel better. I must say that my treatments have been very intensive, going 4 times a week at first. I only go once a month now.

    I wouldn't want to be adjusted by the Chiro jumping on me though!
  • Have you tried them all as they will all have different ways to help you.

  • I've seen a neurosurgeon/orthopedic surgeon and a spinal orthopedic surgeon.

    Neuro/Ortho is the head of surgery at a VERY respected academic hospital. He didn't have much to say other than, I need to either get a MicroD or live with the pain.

    Orthopedic Spinal Surgeon wants me to try conservative measures which I have, but to no avail.
  • My issues started in March 09 and early on it was mostly weakness with some discomfort. I than slowly got worse with the wrong diagnosis initially of priformis syndrome and series of shots and sloppy PT. By August I went to a chriro and was using a cane about a month after.

    Finally the doc sent me for 2 esi, the first was great but second made worse. It was through this site and finding out my own PT and getting my doc to bypass the PT specialists and tell me the exercises to do, gweenie's sugestions and hubby story and than just do them.

    I can now walk for 4 miles and probably much further. I can do leg presses of 240 lbs, lat pull downs of 150 lbs, bench of 180 and added more and more core exercises. Before the accident I was a gym rat so I love being able to do more.

    I was told by all my docs that I should not have the surgery as the risk is too high given the size of my herniation. Given a doc told you to have it than it is your decision based upon the amount of life interruption, discomfort and the doctor's advice. I was always of the mind set unless I am bed ridden no surgery as I have just heard too many stories of multiple surgeries. But they do say 95% do work. I am not pain free, driving is still difficult and still have discomfort and can not do my love of cycling. I am giving it till January/March as I finally found a doctor who said there is a procedure called Targeted Disc Decompression which is not at all as invasive as a microD and perfect for the size of your herniation. My other doc said tha I should feel great by January and by March should be cycling.

    I am not sure if this story means much but this is how I came to my decisions. It took many docs and lots of conservative treatments first.


  • If you've tried six weeks of intensive physical therapy and the injections, and have not had any results, you may have to realize that the two choices given to you by the first surgeon are what is left to try. If you're not happy with either of the first two surgeons, you can always go for more opinions!
  • I'll be very interested to hear how you get on with acupuncture as it's something that I've been considering trying.

    Hope it helps you.
  • I did accupuncture for several months while it was at its worst and I have found that when you are in the pain you describe that the accupuncture will probably not be able to touch it. As the pain started to reduce it was able to make a difference than he was able to begin to give relief.

    When I was at my worse I could not walk more than 10 minutes without almost falling to the floor in pain from severe muscle spasm. It seemed you were making some progress with the simpler McKenzie exercises like I did in the beginning. Also if you can walk that is the best exercise. Standing also gave me great relief.

    Are you off all your meds now? Even after my two esi I needed my meds to allow me to do the PT. I was a combo of lyrica, soma and sodium diclofenic. I found the diclofenic to work best to help me get through the day.


    Also if you are going to do the surgery I would definitely get atleast one more opinions before going forward.
  • Still on meds.. Neurontin, Soma, Naprosyn, and then Norco for breakthrough pain.

    Had my 1st acupuncture session on Friday.. it wasn't all that unpleasant. The needles in my right ankle, achiles tendon were the most uncomfortable. Probably because that was the leg that was flaring up and the needles were hitting the nerve.

    Also had an 'adjustment' right after my acupuncture session.. It was much less painful than before and didn't pop anywhere nearly as much. Dr. said that was good.

    In any event, I feel a bit better this weekend and have been trying to do some minor core strengthening exercises.

    My acupuncturist says he truly believes that he can get me pain free.

    He said he wants me to strengthen my lower core muscles because he feels that a large part of my problem is due to weakness in my core.

    I'm back in there next Tuesday.. will keep you all updated.

  • I hope that they manage to help you and get you comfortable for Christmas.
    Take care.
  • Your accupunturist also does body work or the other way around chiro does accupuncture? My accupuncturist also did body work but after taking my pulse he said you are in too much pain and I do not want to take any chances especially with your experience at the chiropractor.

    I am also glad to hear that you are doing core exercises and I would continue some of the McKenzie exercises. I would also try to include atleast 30-40 minutes of walking daily if you can do it. Also do not forget the simple key stuff that gweenie posts really made a difference in terms of the standing, good posture with shoulder blades pulled down and some good traction positions. I started with this basic program and than built it to weight training as prescribed by my doc.

    I know this is frustrating that you have been dealing with it since August but that is not as long as you may think. Most docs would say atleast 6 mos of different conservative methods and usually you will find ones that work and ones that make it worse and than once you find the ones that work than you need to give it some more time. I have talked to and read many stories of people hitting rock bottom before making the comeback.

    If you read many posts here people are dealing with this issue for atleast a year. Give it time and know there will still be some ups and downs but keep a journal so you know you are heading in the right direction.

    Keep us updated...


  • Thanks for the words of encouragement everyone.

    Has anyone here ever tried one of those zero gravity recliners?

    I tried one a couple of weeks back and it sure felt nice when I was laying diagonally w/ my feet above my head.

  • to a chiropractor who used the activator method. He was great. As I got worse and we found out I had bulging and herniated discs, he asked me to stop coming. He said the chances he'd make me worse were too scary.

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Just wanted to update all of you.. I had my 3rd Acupuncture session yesterday and I think I'm slowly but surely starting to get a BIT better.

    I never would have considered something like Acupuncture (or a Chiro), but being in pain and the fear of a bad surgical outcome definitely motivated me to seek every alternative.

    The pain in my right leg seems to have more or less subsided and the one in my left is now manifesting itself as a tightness and cramping in my left gleut and the occasional burning in my left back (after sitting too long). Definitely more tolerable than the burning up and down my leg.

    Stretches still seem to irritate everything, but much less so than say a month ago.

    I've been working on some core strengthening exercises and I've been walking for 45 minutes a day as well.

    I'll keep you all posted as things progress.

  • Went out of town over the holidays... my back/leg started feeling pretty miserable again.

    My regular medication didn't put a dent in the pain I was having so I began to look for another option.

    I was in the SF Bay area and went to a recommended Acupuncture place in Chinatown on Saturday.

    The session was excruciating.. he used HUGE needles directly in my back which caused unbelievable pain.

    Had I known.. I NEVER would have had this session.

    He also performed something called cupping which left some horrible bruising on my back.

    Net Net.. It's Monday and I've felt miserable all day.. I've got left leg pain and really bad back pain not so much nerve pain, but pain all across my whole lower back.

    The middle of my lower back is also swollen pretty badly..

    At least this pain is something that Norco quickly resolves.. unlike the nerve pain I had all weekend.

    I'm pretty unhappy right now and I'm questioning if this will ever improve..
  • It may be hard to hear but I wish someone told me this during my journey that you will have some good days and some bad days and actually not as many in between. What should happen in the long run is the number of good days will far outweigh the number of bad days.

    It is just a very long journey and you will need to take chances as you did but some may make you worse.

    I do accupuncture also but I went out of my way to pick a guy who uses smaller needles. I know many who have had your experience. It will pass and you know not to go to him again. Honestly I have found accupuncture to really not work too well when you apin levels are too high. Once the come down to manageable levels does accupuncture work.

    Do not give up and keep trying different things and I can not stress enough the life style changes as in not sitting too often and using ice throughout the day.

    I have been where you are and today is one of my bad days...sitting really tough today and the gym produced a bit more discomfort than I like. Hang in there and believe me it will get better. Just get ready for a long haul.


  • Just a follow-up to my Chiropractor thread...

    I'm going in for surgery the 1st week in Feb and I'm finally confident I've done everything in my power to try and resolve this non-surgically..

    I'm 39 YO and was very active.. I've been suffering leg and pack pain due to a bulging L5S1 disc since early August.

    I've gone through exercises to strengthen my core, I walk 3 miles+ a day, I've done chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, anti-inflamatories, 3 rounds of medrol packs and epidural injections.

    3 MRI's over the course of 7 months have shown no improvement in the pressure being put on my S1 nerve.

    Interestingly, my back pain has been reduced by about 70% over the last 7 mo, but my leg pain and tingling have not gotten any better.. in fact, I think it is worse.

    I'll be having a L5S1 MicroD w/ bilateral foraminotomies to give my nerves some room.
  • Gwennie,

    I did about 2 weeks of PT (see below towards end) which didn't seem to work out too well.

    Yesterday, received a call back from surgeon who said to try chiro for 2 weeks and if not better, let him know.

    Just a bit of history

    I'm a 39 Y/O active male with no history of any orthopedic problems.

    I originally started hurting in my hips around April (a burning pain when I would pivot). I figured I'd just worked out too hard, but it got worse At that time, I told by a Dr. I just needed to strengthen my core.

    Did some exercises and then around August, my mid back started to really hurt with random left leg pain.

    MRI in August indicated broad based 6mm central/paracentral L5S1 bulge w/ annular tear, compression of left S1 nerve and mild foraminal narrowing/stenosis.

    At this point I had a stinging burning pain in my low back just left of center with occasional left leg pain.

    I went through a round of Medrol which knocked it down for about a week and then it was back.

    Was on Naprosyn twice daily which seemed to work pretty well.

    In early September, I had my 1st ESI. The anesthesiologist said that there was a lot of pressure in my epidural canal. Immediately following the injection (ie before I even left the facility), my left leg felt great.. but the stinging and burning moved over to the right side and my right leg felt like pins and needles.

    The relief in my left leg lasted 3 days and the burning/pain was back again.

    Ironically, I never had right leg pain before the injection.. but I do now.

    Second round of injections, 2 weeks later, both sides feel better for 3 days.. and then back again.

    From late September to November, I'm on anti-inflammatories, Neurontin and Norco..

    Also, in mid November I started PT and discovered that any type of stretching or exercises that pull on the sciatic nerve made my legs start to burn and tingle really badly.

    My 1st round of PT simply involved me laying on my back and kicking my legs (they called it the dead bug) .. 2 hours later, I was bedridden in excruciating pain.

    My PT felt that she didn't want to have me do anything else because it was causing pain.

    I continued to do light McKenzie type exercises which seemed to help things.. at the very least, it moved the pain out of my legs and into my back, which I could deal with.

    I figured I had turned a corner and was pretty optimistic.. but it was short lived.

    Pain was back.. second MRI indicated the disc had shrunk a bit (.5-1mm), but no real change in the dural compression and foraminal involvement.

    Mid November, pain was back, so on to another round of Medrol.. day 2 and 3 w/ Medrol were wonderful.. but that's about it.

    I went out of town in late November for the holidays and I felt a lot better after a couple of days of being out of town.

    When i got back home, I felt better, but slowly slid back to where I was..

    Now here I am in mid-December and I'm as bad or worse than ever.

    Walking seems to feel the best out of any activity... Standing and sitting are the worst.

    I'm going to try acupuncture today for the 1st time.. hopefully I'll get some relief.

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