Healthy Hoboken – September 2008


[Every month, Hoboken411 will be posting a column to give answers to Hobokenites’ most frequently asked health questions. The column is written by Dr. Laura Brayton of Hoboken Chiropractic + Wellness. Please send all health-related questions to]

Healthy Hoboken – September 2008


“Dear Dr. Brayton,
“Recently, I have been having lower back pain that occasionally travels into my left leg and makes it difficult to sit for periods of time. I work at a computer for several hours/day and sometimes can barely stand up after sitting more than an hour at a time. The pain sometimes wakes me up from sleep and makes it difficult to get comfortable in bed. I have been taking ibuprofen almost every day for the past two weeks in order to cope with the pain and muscle spasm and have continued to work out at the gym although I am no longer running. I have never had low back symptoms like this before even though I don’t even know what aggravated my back in the first place. What do you recommend?”


Many possible causes for the pain

healthy-hoboken-with-dr-laura-brayton.jpgDear J.R.,

The symptoms you are describing are very common complaints in my office and are seen often amongst young professionals between 20-40 years old, especially men. After a thorough evaluation, most times the cause of the pain is lumbar disc inflammation that is irritating the spinal nerves and causing low back spasm and sciatica-type symptoms into the legs. There are multiple reasons why a lumbar disc (the jelly-like shock absorber between the vertebrae) may become inflamed, swollen, bulging, or even herniated. These reasons include physical stresses like heavy lifting, accidents, poor posture; chemical stresses like junk food, alcohol, and medications; or emotional stresses from work, finances, or home life. That’s why my patients can be so confused as to why they are having low back pain without a specific incident in mind to trigger the pain.

See the rest of the answer after the jump!

(Dr. Laura, continued…)

The misalignments in the spine can be from micro-traumas that are slowly building on each other until you reach the point of “the straw that broke the camel’s back.” At this point, it is important to do a lot of icing over the swollen disc (20 minutes on/ 1 hour off) several times/day, gentle stretches to loosen up the muscles, and chiropractic manipulation to address the spinal misalignments that are contributing to the disc inflammation. Radiographs and even a possible MRI of the lumbar spine (low back) may be necessary in order to definitely determine the cause of the back pain. It is important to properly treat disc inflammation due to its impact on the nervous system and to prevent potential permanent nerve damage from occurring over time.

Yours in health,
Dr. Brayton

[411 note: I had a pretty much the exact same situation, and eventually got an Acute Lumbar Discectomy (bulging disc surgery). Worked amazingly. However, never choose this as your first option. Physical therapy and chiropractic avenues are worth pursuing before surgery. But if you choose surgery, please contact me and I’ll advise who I used – he pioneered the procedure.]

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!