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Case #1 - Low Back Pain and DDD

Case History

Emily is 41 years old and has been a bank teller for over 20 years. She has 3 children (8 year old twins and a 2 year old). In a typical work day, she sits for more than 8 hours with little back support. She does not do any form of exercise, but is of normal weight. Over time, she developed pain in the right low back and pelvic region, especially after waking up in the morning. The pain persisted for more than 3 months.  

Emily had a hunched back posture with her hips protruding forward. She had very tight low back muscles, and the muscles of abdomen and buttocks were also weak. The spinal joints in her lower back were not moving freely, and an x-ray showed a reduced curvature in the lower back, moderate disc space narrowing, and bone spurs occurring at the edges of L5/S1 vertebrae.

Emily’s condition is prevalent in many office workers. She had a habit of sitting at the front end of her chair and rarely leaned back. This caused the back muscles to tighten up to support the upper body: over time, the muscles became stiff and painful, resulting in chronic muscle strain (overuse). Faulty posture and lack of exercise caused poor circulation and impeded normal tissue healing.  Furthermore, her two pregnancies would have added extra load onto her muscles and joints. When muscles are strained, they cause faulty joint mechanics in the spine, which speeds up the wear and tear of joints. This was evident in the narrowing of the disc and presence of bone spurs in the lumbar spine.

Diagnosis

Emily was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) related to chronic Lumbar Sprain / Strain.  

Degenerative Disc Disease

Treatment & Prognosis

Emily’s chiropractic treatment plan included spinal manipulation (adjustments) directed to the lumbar spine, dry-needling and interferential current therapy. After nine treatments, Emily was pain-free and had improved ranges of motion in her low back.  

As part of her treatment plan, Emily also learned stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as techniques for maintaining good posture at work. These tools enable Emily to maintain the results she achieved through treatment.

*As individual conditions vary, you are advised to consult a registered chiropractor for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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