Low Back Pain

Low back pain is the most common orthopedic issue, with 80% of people reporting an episode of low back pain in their lifetime.  While painful and unpleasant, most low back pain is not serious and resolves with conservative management.  Across the board, clinical practice guidelines recommend avoiding early medical imaging, as it is unnecessary in 99% of cases and can negatively impact treatment outcomes. More info >>

Herniated Disc

Intervertebral discs are connective tissue “cushions” in between the vertebrae of the spine. A herniated disc, often referred to by the misnomer “slipped disc,” occurs when the inner portion of the disc, a gel-like substance, is pushed through a weak area in the fibrous outer part of the disc.  When this gel comes in contact with a nerve root, it causes a chemical irritation that can create low back pain with radiating symptoms into the leg.  Contrary to popular belief, most low back pain is NOT caused by a disc issue.  While many believe a disc injury is very serious and will require surgery, disc injuries can heal on their own, just like a scraped knee heals. More info >>

Degenerative Disc Disease

Intervertebral discs are connective tissue “cushions” in between the vertebrae of the spine. The diagnosis of “degenerative disc disease,” facetiously termed “death and despair disease,” by those in the know due to the fear of movement and activity-causing nature of this diagnosis, is not a real diagnosis at all.  Degenerative changes in the discs and other structures of the spine are a normal part of aging, and can be seen as early as your 20s.  We know it is a normal part of aging because these changes are present with increasing frequency as we age, even in people without back pain.  Think of it like gray hairs or wrinkles on your insides – it just happens as we get older, but isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  These degenerative changes are one of the main reasons why early imaging for low back pain is not recommended – studies have shown that knowledge of degenerative changes, even if they are not the source of the pain, can cause a worsening of symptoms and treatment outcomes. See “Low Back Pain” >>


Spondylolysis is a stress fracture to the pars interarticularis, a narrow part of your vertebrae.  The most common low back injury in children and adolescents, it affects 3-7% of this population.  In athletes, it is typically due to repeated and forceful extension at the lumbar spine.  Football lineman, hockey players, gymnasts, dancers, swimmers, and cheer athletes are most prone to these injuries.  Spondylosis can lead to spondylolisthesis, which occurs when both sides of the vertebral ring fracture and the vertebrae begins to slip forward. More info >>


 “Sciatica” is a catch-all term for irritation of the sciatic nerve, causing radicular symptoms, like pain, tingling, or numbness, along the buttock and leg.  The sciatic nerve can be irritated at several different locations, most commonly at the spinal level. See “DDD”/”Low Back Pain” >>