Lower Back Pain & Sciatica Specialist

R2 Medical Centers

Casey Walker, DC

Chiropractor located in Lowell, IN

About two out of three American adults have back pain, but most just put up with it without seeking treatment. There are ways to effectively treat lower back pain, and booking an appointment with Dr. Casey Walker and the team at R2 Medical Centers in Lowell, Indiana, is a first step toward living a pain-free life. Call or click to set up your consultation.

Lower Back Pain & Sciatica Q & A

What causes lower back pain?

The spine is a complex structure, and there are many causes of lower back pain. Strain and overuse are common problems, and more serious issues that lead to chronic pain occur as well.

The first step to effective treatment is an understanding of what is causing your pain. It’s entirely possible that your pain will be classified as “nonspecific” and no primary cause can be identified. As bad as that seems, it’s good news: nonspecific lower back pain is considered acute, meaning it doesn’t usually last more than a week or two.

In up to 10% of cases, lower back pain becomes chronic and lasts more than three months. Degenerative disc disease can lead to a ruptured or herniated disc and long-term pain. Osteoporosis, canal stenosis, and a few other serious conditions often lead to chronic lower back pain, too.

How is lower back pain treated?

The best treatment depends in large part on the cause of your pain. Physical therapy, decompression therapy, and massage all play a role in treating lower back pain.

  • Physical therapy
    • Slowly strengthening and increasing the flexibility of muscles and tendons that support your spine can both improve your current pain and help prevent future pain. A 2017 study found that when patients have direct access to physical therapy, overall medical costs decline.
  • Spinal decompression
    • Nonsurgical decompression therapy is a type of traction that stretches the spine. The goal is to relieve pressure on the discs.
  • Massage
    • Particularly useful for pain resulting from overuse, massage is often an effective way to deal with lower back pain. At the end of a 10-week study that compared usual care with massage for lower back pain, between 36-39% of participants in the massage group reported their pain as nearly or completely gone.

Is chiropractic adjustment effective for treating lower back pain?

Chiropractic adjustments, sometimes referred to as spinal manipulation, can be an effective treatment for some types of lower back pain. Dr. Walker and the team evaluate your situation and determine whether or not chiropractic adjustments are appropriate.

A meta-analysis of 26 studies published in JAMA in 2017 found that chiropractic adjustments led to improvements in pain and function with little risk of harm. A thorough evaluation by an experienced practitioner is the best way to determine whether or not spinal manipulation is the best treatment for your pain.

What is sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body. It runs from your lower back, over your buttocks, down your thighs, and into your legs and feet.

The word sciatica does not refer to a medical condition. Instead, it describes any pain, irritation or pressure felt along your sciatic nerve.

What are the symptoms of sciatica?

In its early stages, sciatica does not always present symptoms. However, as the problem progresses, it is common to experience sharp, shooting lower back pain that extends into your hips and legs.

Other telltale signs of sciatica include:

  • Burning sensations
  • Tingling sensations
  • Constant pain
  • Weakness
  • Numbness

Sciatica is different from other types of lower back pain in that it typically only affects one side of your body. Depending on where your sciatic nerve is irritated, pain may also extend into your toes.

Sciatica symptoms also vary in severity. For some, the pain is excruciating and interferes with work or other activities. Other people with sciatica experience only minor stiffness and continue to participate in their normal routine.

Trigger point injection (TPI) may be an option for treating pain in some patients. TPI is a procedure used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points, or knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. Many times, such knots can be felt under the skin. Trigger points may irritate the nerves around them and cause referred pain, or pain that is felt in another part of the body.

What Happens During a Trigger Point Injection?

In the TPI procedure, a health care professional inserts a small needle into the patient's trigger point. The injection contains a local anesthetic or saline and may include a corticosteroid. With the injection, the trigger point is made inactive and the pain is alleviated. Often, a brief course of treatment will result in sustained relief. Injections are given in a doctor's office and usually take just a few minutes. Several sites may be injected in one visit. If a patient has an allergy to a certain drug, a dry-needle technique (involving no medications) can be used.
In the TPI procedure, a health care professional inserts a small needle into the patient's trigger point. The injection contains a local anesthetic or saline and may include a corticosteroid. With the injection, the trigger point is made inactive and the pain is alleviated. Often, a brief course of treatment will result in sustained relief. Injections are given in a doctor's office and usually take just a few minutes. Several sites may be injected in one visit. If a patient has an allergy to a certain drug, a dry-needle technique (involving no medications) can be used.

Patient Testimonials

“Originally my pain was so horrible in my low back, it made working difficult. After a couple of weeks of therapy, I felt a lot better and could control my pain. The therapy was really nice and relaxing, knowing it was at least an hour of time spent taking care of myself. I would recommend the program to anyone struggling with pain. Dr. Casey and his staff are always so pleasant and fun to be around” ~ Niki S

“I feel fantastic! I came in barely able to walk and feel like a new person now. The healing process here was fun, which made the experience even better!”~ Christy

"Prior to coming to R2 Medical, I was experiencing pains in my lower back every morning, and I had really bad pains occasionally throughout the day. After going to rehab and getting adjusted 3 times a week all my aches and pain have diminished and if any new pains were to occur, they have no issue treating the problem. They do a great job and have helped me feel better." – Kevin

“When I first came in, I was in pain and I didn't think it would work. After two months, I had less pain in my back. I appreciate all the work Dr. Casey and the rehab techs have done for me. I will be back for treatment to keep on living a healthier, pain-free life with my husband!” ~ Kathi