At my Dry Needling Clinic & Orthopedic Acupuncture Clinic in Tampa, FL I see this story time and time again. A patient tells me that a few years ago they their back went out, sometimes they say they woke up with the pain but usually it’s after some routine activity. This was the first time that their low back was ever this bad and they basically had to lay on the couch for a week before they could do anything.
It took weeks to completely get better but then everything seemed fine.
They had no low back pain until their back blows up and they make it to my office.
So did they ever fully recover?
The answer, based on the scientific research and the fact they are in my office, is NO!
Back in the 1990s researchers figured out that patients who had back pain had smaller spinal stabilizing muscles in their back (the multifidus).
The Multifidus Muscle
These muscles are critical for protecting the spine. Now a new research study shows that even when these important low back muscles look OK on a routine MRI, they’re really not.
This study used sophisticated functional MRI to look at the tissue specific properties in the back muscles of patients who had a first major episode of back pain. Even if they had no symptoms at one month, their low back multifidus muscles were different, indicating that they weren’t as active as in normal patients.
This critical spine muscle lives deep in your low back and when it gets smaller and weaker, many research articles have shown that it causes low back pain and leg symptoms (mimicking sciatica).
Why is the Multifidus so important??
It’s job is to control the motion of the two vertebra as you move. So when it’s weak or not working properly, there is excessive motion between the vertebrae, which leads to extra wear and tear on the facet joints and disc. This also provides less protection for the spine when you move suddenly, making it more likely for a nerve to get pinched and a really bad back episode to ensue.
What is the best way to fix the Multifidus?
Dry Needling & Electro-Acupuncture!
Over the years, I’ve developed a comprehensive procedure to treat low back pain that involves the direct treatment and electro-acupuncture stimulation of the multifidus muscles. This is a procedure that your regular acupunctruist doesn’t use and there’s no way a weekend train physical therapist with 20 hours of training and experience can perform.
We use a gentle combination of a low frequency electric current combined with a high frequency electric current to jump start the multifidus muscle and strengthen it. Furthermore we help to change the chemical environment around the nerves that make this muscle function, so it can do it’s job more efficiently.
If you have low back pain and never have this type of treatment, then there’s a big chance your pain will come back. There’s really no other effective way to turn these muscles back on!
If you have an episode of severe low back pain and then your back feels fine, it’s probably never really OK until these muscles get fixed with a comprehensive dry needling & electro-acupuncture procedure.