Common Causes of Back Pain

Pain: A Built-in Warning System

Most people deal with back pain at least once in their life. When you experience it, it's important to not ignore this pain, or any other pain. Our bodies feel pain to warn us that something is not right. 

In the case of back pain, not only is your body telling you of an immediate problem, but it might also be telling you of an underlying problem. Here are some of the more common conditions this pain might be tell you about:

Causes of Back Pain


  • Lumbar Disc Herniation – A disc is the spongy substance between your vertebrae that keeps them from grinding against each other. A herniated disc occurs when one of your discs degenerates and two of your vertebra grind against each other.


  • Degenerative Disc Disease – This is most often caused by the wear and tear of your discs. A major trauma, such a car accident may certainly be a cause, but this condition most likely progresses over time due to a low energy injury impact.


  • Isthmic Spondylolisthesis – This occurs when one vertebrae slips forward because of a small fracture, which is caused by stress, to the bone that connects that vertebrae to the one below it. 


  • Facet Joint Osteoarthritis – Your facet joints, which consist of two bone-like surfaces with cartilage between them, are located in the back portion of your spine. Joints move without pain due to the cartilage and fluid, but the cartilage breaks down because of facet join arthritis and pain occurs 


These are only some of the conditions your back pain might be telling you that you should not ignore. Your body has a built in self-defense mechanism that fights off invaders. It would be nice if one of the ways it fought off these invaders wasn't to cause pain, but pain tells us there's something wrong with our bodies that we should not ignore. 

Regardless of the underlying condition of the lower back, pain is frequently related to imbalances in muscles due to postural misalignments. Injuries to the head, neck or spine can lead to misalignments. The misaligned spine typically begins as a result of a misalignment between the head and the neck leading to compensating misalignments throughout the rest of the spinal column. This is frequently a hidden cause of lower back pain.


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Dr. Dan Spinato of the San Diego Integrative Spine Center in San Diego, California is a Rancho Penasquitos Chiropractor and an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). Over the past 30 years, Dr. Spinato has helped many people find natural relief in San Diego, California. His upper cervical clinic also serves the communities of Rancho Penasquitos, Carmel Valley, Poway, Scripps Ranch and Rancho Bernardo. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, allergy and sinus problems and temporomandibular joint disorders. More information can be found on his website at

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NUCCA Chiropractic Care

What is NUCCA
The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) is an organization of Doctors of Chiropractic dedicated to patient care, education and research.

Spinal health care using the NUCCA procedures focuses on detecting and correcting a small misalignment in the upper neck area. Gentle, non-invasive adjustments don’t require any turning, twisting or popping.

Your upper cervical spine (neck) area influences all areas of your body. Injury or chronic misalignments can cause headaches, migraines, neck pain, low back pain, weakness and more.

The NUCCA technique is currently offered by less than 1% of all the Doctors of Chiropractic.

Before the NUCCA procedure can be performed, I will sit down with you and discuss your history and symptoms. If I determine that NUCCA can help, a thorough examination and x-rays will be done. A complete report of your findings and treatment options will be discussed. 

First adjustment
Precision x-rays are taken of the spine before any treatment begins. The adjustment is performed with the patient lying on their side and the doctor applying a very light pressure behind the earlobe. A full demonstration can be seen on the video above.

The NUCCA procedure can be summed up with 5 major distinctions as compared to traditional Chiropractic:

  • Gentle adjustment to the neck with no turning, twisting or popping.
  • Precision x-rays to measure before and after corrections.
  • Total body posture and balance improvement
  • Greater stability to the spine
  • Hold adjustments longer with fewer visits

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