Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain is the number one reason people go to the chiropractor and a very common reason they visit medical doctors. Low back pain ranges from mild stiffness or achyness that causes restlessness to debilitating spasms with sharp or electric like jolts that interfere with the ability to walk or even crawl. Such low back pain attacks often come on without warning in a person who only moments before seemed to have no physical problems.

Low back pain can be due to severe trauma such as sprain or strain from athletic injury or automobile accident. But more commonly, the cause is a lack of proper care and maintenance of a healthy physique. When this is the case, often a minor move such as bending or turning triggers the onset of paralyzing pain.

For someone suffering with even the worst of pain, this is good news. That is, fixing the pain may be as simple as restoring proper function to the spine combined with simple specific range of motion exercises that improve flexibility and joint lubrication. Even severe cases can often be resolved in a few days.

Sometimes low back pain irritates a nerve that runs down the leg. This can cause “radiating pain” often following a path into the buttock, posterior thigh, calf, and even into the foot and toes. Sometimes “pins and needles” or “numbness and tingling” are felt. This condition is usually referred to as “Sciatica”.

When the problem involves “radicular” pain or numbness such as this, it is an indication of a more severe problem. However, even radicular problems can usually be resolved conservatively with restoration of function combined with proper stretching and range of motion exercises.

If the low back problem is so severe that is causes loss of body functions such as loss of bowel and bladder control, this is an indication of a more serious problem. “Cauda Equina Syndrome” is rare, however, in the event of such symptoms, emergency medical attention should be sought immediately.

Chiropractors are trained to detect and correct loss of normal spinal function, called “subluxation”, and prescribe specific exercises to help encourage and maintain such improvement. Nowadays medical doctors are likely to refer low back problems to the chiropractor given their track record of success.

Dr. Michael Haley has been helping people with low back pain and scitica in the Pompano Beach Fort Laduerdale area since 1996.

Agape Chiropractic
Pompano Beach, Florida 33060
(954) 545-9750



Sciatica – (si-at’i-kah) [L.] a syndrome characterized by pain radiating from the back into the buttock and into the lower extremity along its posterior or lateral aspect, and most commonly caused by prolapse of the intervertebral disk; the term is also used to refer to pain anywhere along the course of the sciatic nerve. (Dorlands Medical Dictionary 27th Edition)


The condition manifests itself when the sciatic nerve is stretched, irritated, pinched, or impinged upon. The most common sites of nerve impingement are the vertebral foramen where the nerve exits the protection of the vertebrae in the low back and in the gluteal musculature where the piriformis muscle passes over the nerve. Symptoms may vary from sudden electric sensations (usually associated with a stretched nerve) to dull burning sensations and/or numbness. The symptoms are usually experienced in the gluteal region, posterior thigh and leg, and often include the foot. There may also be muscle weakness in the back of the thigh, in the leg, or foot. Often, only one side is affected. When both sides are affected, it is usually to varying degrees with one side much worse.

Temporary relief can often be obtained by flexing and abducting the affected side at the thigh and pointing the toes outward. This is accomplished by lying on the back with the foot of the affected leg propped up and slightly away from the body with the toes pointing outward. While standing, this can be accomplished by putting the foot of the affected leg on a low step stool slightly off to the side with the toes pointing outward.

About the Sciatic nerve

The sciatic nerve is the largest and thickest nerve in the body. It leaves the spinal column primarily between L4, 5, S1, 2, and 3. Near the knee, it splits into two large divisions, the tibial and common peroneal nerves.

Different Causes or Sciatica

If the cause of sciatica is a prolapse of the intervertebral disk, coughing or sneezing might dramatically increase the pain symptoms. Mal-alignment or mal-function of the vertebral joints may cause a change in the normal function of the nerve. Bony arthritic changes may affect the size of the opening where the nerve leaves the spine. This may “pinch” or irritate the nerve. A sprained or strained muscle or ligament, or a muscle spasm may affect the course of the nerve. A sudden trauma, such as an automobile accident, may damage tissues such as the vertebral joints. A cumulative trauma, such as repetitive motions that irritate the area or long hours of sitting can affect the surrounding tissues of the nerve and hinder normal nerve function. Rarely, an abnormal growth or condition along the course of the nerve may interfere with its normal function causing the syndrome.

Treatments for Sciatica

Treatments for sciatica range from conservative chiropractic adjustments to surgery. The goal in treating the condition is to remove the interference and normalize nerve transmission.

Chiropractic adjustments align the bones of the spine and improve joint function. This often normalizes the surrounding tissues and removes nerve interference. Chiropractic adjustments may help even in the presence of bony arthritic spurs or herniated discs. Low back traction or massage of the lumbar, gluteal, and posterior thigh musculature may produce results.

As a more aggressive approach, the orthopedic surgeon may choose to remove the offending tissues. There is a host of intermediate treatments that treat the symptoms rather than the cause. If inflammation is involved, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often used. While this may help, the cause of the inflammation will likely need to be addressed to prevent a recurrence of the inflammation and the syndrome. If muscle relaxants benefit, the cause of the muscle spasms may need to be addressed. Otherwise, when the drugs wear off, the symptoms are likely to return. Over the counter pain relievers may also provide some temporary relief, however, they do not treat the cause and may have side effects. Ice packs on the low back where the nerves exit the spine often provide relief. Ice packs should not be used more than 1 time in an hour for a maximum of 15 minutes at a time. Ice packs, however, will not address the cause, but rather, simply treat the symptoms. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (T.E.N.S.) may provide relief of pain (though not treat the cause). If the cause is an abscess, infection, tumor, or blood clot, medical treatment is needed.

Alternative Sciatica Treatments

Alternative sciatic treatments include acupuncture and acupressure.

Dr. Michael Haley has been helping people with sciatica in Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale since 1996.

The information presented is not intended to replace sound chiropractic or medical treatment.

Agape Chiropractic
500 S. Cypress Road #4
Pompano Beach, Florida 33060
(954) 545-9750


Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the most common reasons people go to a chiropractor. Sometimes the pain radiates into the shoulders. It can further radiate down the arm and into the hand or fingers. The sensation in the arms and hands is often described as “pins and needles” or “numbness and tingling”. At other times the sensation is a heavy achiness. Patients frequently report tension headaches related to their neck pain.

Many people associate neck pain radiating into the left shoulder and arm with heart attack. For this reason, some visit the local Emergency Room with their concerns. Those not sufferring heart related pains are usually referred by the Hospital E.R. doctors to chiropractors for correction of the cause of their symptoms.

When “vertebral subluxation” from the neck causes pain to radiate into the “upper extremities” (arms and hands), the symptoms can usually be altered significantly with a minor change in head position. Tilting the head away from the affected limb usually diminishes the symptoms whereas tilting the head toward the affected limb usually increases the symptoms. Such testing and diagnosis should be performed by a licensed physician.

Since head tilt can affect peoples symptoms in their arms, many people discover their problems during rest or upon waking, since they sleep with their heads in less than optimal postures. When people sleep on the side of the radiating pain, a pillow that is too low can cause the symptoms to increase. When they sleep on the opposite side of the radiating symptoms, a pillow that is too big can increase symptoms. A forward posture or extended posture can also affect the symptoms.

When the head posture is affecting the severity of numbness or radiating arm pain, one should not think that moving the head to a lesser pain posture is the solution. Such a choice will only give the “subluxation” more time to cement making it more difficult to correct.

Radiating symptoms into the extremmities are an indication of a more advanced problem and should be corrected as soon as possible. Chiropractors are trained to detect and correct vertebral subluxation complex, the usual cause of such problems.

Dr. Michael Haley in Pompano Beach has been helping people with vertebral subluxation causing neck pain and radicular symptoms since 1996.

Agape Chiropractic
Pompano Beach, Florida 33060
(954) 545-9750