Back Doctors In Davenport: What’s The Difference?

Surgery In Davenport

Davenport Chiropractors


What Kind Of Back Doctor Are You Looking For?

This question depends a lot on the severity of your condition, how much you want to pay, how much work you want to miss, and ultimately whether you want to repair a problem or fix an underlying issue.  There are a number of different things that can cause low back pain, and depending on cause, there are often a variety of treatment options. Massage Therapy, physical therapy, Chiropractic care, and surgery are your main options.

What Do You Need A Back Doctor For?

Tight muscles are often a source for all kinds of pain, including neck pain and back pain. This is often where the problem originates. A muscle gets overworked and causes tightness, which also often causes weakness in other muscles. Muscles move bones, so if muscles are tight, often the bones will not move properly. This starts a bad cycle where the bone is out of place so muscles get tight and pull on the bones even more. Trauma or injuries can also cause bony mis-alignment that can lead to muscle tightness and pain as well. In this instance, it started as a muscle problem, but eventually led to a bony problem. Now the underlying root cause of the problem becomes the bony mis-alignment.

When bones are mis-aligned for a long period of time and the muscles are pulling on them for a long period of time, it starts to put stress on the ligaments that hold the bones together. Two major things can happen when a lot of stress is placed on the bones of the spine. 1. The ligaments begin to calcify to strengthen the joint and prevent the muscles from pulling the bone too far out of place. 2. The disc can begin to weaken leading to degenerative disc disease and a possible disc herniation. So, how can you keep this from happening? Check out the pros and cons of each type of practitioner and then you can make an informed decision.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can involve many different treatment types. Some physical therapists use ultrasound to help loosen up tight muscles, some rely primarily on stretches to loosen tight muscles. Depending on what muscles are tight, there are often weak muscles as well. Physical therapists help to strengthen these weak muscles. Often, you will have to be referred to a physical therapist by a Chiropractor or medical doctor. Physical therapists often follow progression protocols to advance your treatment. This way it is easy to monitor if you are staying on track, or if there may be something more serious going on. Unfortunately they cannot directly evaluate and treat the underlying bony mis-alignment.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy involves relaxing and loosening tight muscles. A massage therapist uses their hands to apply pressure to tight muscles. Massage therapists focus on increasing blood flow to muscles and increasing muscle length via rubbing from the origin of the muscle to where it attaches. Massage therapy can offer pain relief and muscle loosening without strengthening or addressing the underlying bony mis-alignment.

Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractors offer a variety of treatments. A Chiropractor uses their hands to evaluate for muscular tightness, bony mis-alignment, and strength testing to evaluate muscular weakness. A Chiropractor’s main tool is the Chiropractic adjustment, which corrects the underlying bony mis-alignment. Some Chiropractors also utilize soft tissue treatments to loosen tight muscles. There are also Chiropractors that incorporate re-hab and strengthening exercises into their treatment to continue the healing process outside of the office. The best Chiropractors utilize all three of these tools to maximize the amount of healing and pain relief in the shortest amount of time.

Unfortunately, Chiropractors cannot detect ligament calcification or disc herniation without the use of special imaging such as x-ray or MRI. If there is an indication that something more serious may be going on in your body, a Chiropractor may order an x-ray or MRI to help them further evaluate your condition. Depending on the amount of pain that you are experiencing and the muscular tightness that the Chiropractor finds will help to determine the technique that the Chiropractor will use.  Low force techniques such as Activator, Lumbar Flexion, SOT, Myofascial Release, and Nimmo Trigger Point Therapy can be utilized to limit pain and still correct the underlying bony mis-alignment.

Chiropractic care can be very effective for lower back pain even if there is a disc herniation or ligament calcification. Preventing low back pain through core stability exercises and correcting bony mis-alignments before they create too much damage is a great reason to visit your Chiropractor. Typically, you need a 30% change in muscular tightness or calcification to notice pain or observe changes on an x-ray. This means that you could be having problems and not even know about it. There comes a point where the bony changes become so bad that a more invasive approach may be needed. This is where surgeons come in.


Surgery is irreversible when we are talking about back conditions. Typically, an orthopedic surgeon will evaluate x-rays and MRI’s to determine the type of surgery that you will need to give you the best outcome. There are a number of different surgical techniques that can be used for disc herniation. One is call a laminectomy where the surgeon will remove the back part of your vertebra to create more space for the spinal cord and the nerves exiting the spine. Another option is often fusion of the spine with metal plates. This prevents the problem from getting worse in the area that is already bad.

There are a few drawbacks of surgery. 1. Infection. Anytime that you have surgery and have your insides opened up to the outside, there is a chance of infection. This can be bad if the spinal cord is infected. 2. Scar tissue. Anytime that you break something in your body, they body will put down more tissue to make that area stronger so that it does not break again. This means that you will probably have additional surgery’s in the future to clean up the scar tissue as it becomes a problem. 3. Restricted movement. When you fuse things together, they lose their normal motion. So an area above or below the fusion must move more than it should to compensate for the fused area. This leads to faster degeneration in these areas because they are moving more than they should. You will typically have to see the physical therapist after surgery to get you moving better. Chiropractic care can also be very beneficial after surgery to correct any bony mis-alignments above and below the fusion. This may limit the degeneration.

What Should You Do?

Now that you know what each type of practitioner can help you with, you can make a more informed decision about the treatment path that you want to take. Always call and find out what the doctor does for treatment and a timeline for a projected outcome. I always recommend to start with a more conservative approach, such as Chiropractic care, massage therapy, or physical therapy. You can always get more aggressive with a surgical approach, but once you have surgery, it can’t be undone.

If you are having back pain in Davenport and are interested in Chiropractic care, be sure to give me a call. We can discuss your condition, treatment options, and potential outcomes. Get Adjusted & Be Well!

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