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Back Talk: Back pain is No. 1 cause of disability worldwide

By By Dr. Layne Towery
June 11, 2013 at 1:11 a.m.


I have lived and practiced in the Crossroads area for almost 30 years. I come from a long pedigree of chiropractors and acupuncturists.

We have had a total of eight chiropractors in the immediate family: my dad, my grandpa and grandma along with aunts, uncles and cousins. I graduated from Texas Chiropractic College in 1984 and received my acupuncture certification in 1995.

I am currently board eligible in spinal and appendicular orthopedics with more than 360 hours of clinical training.

Today and in the future, I will be answering your questions and giving you advice on a variety of topics like back and neck pain, weight loss acupuncture along with some nutritional advice. I will educate you on various treatments options that are available and try to make your life more pleasant and comfortable.

There seems to be a lot of people disabled from back pain. Do other countries have as much trouble as we have here in the United States?

A series of studies has emerged from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Project, a massive collaboration between the World Health Organization and many other health entities. They concluded that the No. 1 cause of disability worldwide is low back pain, with neck pain the No. 4 cause.

Overall, musculoskeletal conditions represent the second leading cause of global disability. Low back pain, neck pain and spinal arthritis affect more than 1.7 billion people worldwide.

Back problems are a enormous problem here in the United States and need to be given the same priority for policy and resources as other major conditions.

First of all, I am a smoker and cough frequently. The other day I was bent over washing my face when I had to cough and sneeze at the same time. I twisted to my left and coughed and sneezed hard. I heard a loud "pop" and immediately had severe back pain that went into my hip and down my leg. I went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with hip bursitis. The visit was more than $2,500. I was given pain pills. Do I need surgery?

The first thing I can tell you is you do not have a hip bursitis. Your mechanism of injury is classic of a herniated disc. The disc is the cushion between two vertebra. You overloaded it when you coughed and sneezed while twisting.

You need to be lying down frequently and applying ice on the lower back for about 30 minutes at a time. You need to take something for inflammation, like Aleve or even aspirin.

A lower back brace should be worn at the beginning until you can walk without pain. Spinal manipulation and acupuncture will help relieve the pain and get the disc back in place so the body can heal itself.

If you do not respond to the above conservative treatments, an MRI may be needed along with a trip to the pain management specialist for some epidural steroid injections. If that does not help, then surgery should be considered.

Dr. Layne Towery is a Victoria Chiropractor and Acupuncturist and can be reached at towerygl@yahoo.com or 361-570-6284.

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