Do you find our website user friendly?
Yes   No


So, we want to understand back and neck pain.  But what is pain? In its simplest terms, Pain is nothing more than a signal to your brain from a nerve ending somewhere in the body. In a properly functioning nervous system, this signal only gets sent when an outside stimulus is acting on that nerve ending.

What can those stimuli be? In this post, we go over 5 basic ways to irritate a nerve:

1)Compression - Certain nerve receptors, and nerves in general, don't like to be squeezed.  If we put enough pressure on these nervous tissues to deform them, they will send the signal to the brain that they are unhappy. 

2)Tension - Again, nerves and their receptors don't like to be stretched past a certain point.  If they get to the point of losing their slack, they will send that pain signal. If you follow our instagram, you’ll know that stretching isn’t always the best response to pain. 


3)Chemicals - This is what we think of as inflammation.  Anytime there is tissue damage, cells break or tear. This releases chemicals.  Some of these chemicals, when near a nerve ending, can cause a pain signal. Most medical doctors aim to treat this chemical pain with Anti-inflammatory medication, but it is not usually the primary cause of back pain. 

4)Temperature - Certain nerve receptors don't like to be too hot or cold. Putting your hand on a hot stove tends to hurt.  This can happen to a lesser extent if you have a high fever, but luckily is pretty rare in people with the types of pain that bring them into our office.

5)Malfunction- Our nerves are plastic - meaning they change the more they are used.  If a pain pathway is constantly being signaled, it is possible that the pathway becomes so effectient at firing, that, over time, it starts to fire with the original cause of the pain no longer present. This leads to chronic pain syndromes

When a patient tells us the story of their pain - whether it be from their back, neck, shoulder, knee, or any other joint - it is most commonly an issue of compression and tension. Even when there may not have been an accident or injury that started the pain. People forget gravity is constantly putting force on their weight bearing joints. Inflammation sometimes plays a role, but is rarely the main culprit.  Our goal is to utilize movements and load the tissues in a way that will offer relief from these 3 main pain drivers.

Dr. Todd Peterson, DC, Cert MDT. Dr. Todd Peterson Dr. Todd Peterson is a chiropractor and certified provider for Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy (MDT, aka the McKenzie Method). Dr. Peterson played football at the University of Nebraska, where he was a 4 year letter winner and Academic All American. He briefly played professional football in 2009 before returning to Chiropractic School in 2010. He earned his doctor of chiropractic (DC) degree from National University of Health Sciences in 2013, graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Cervical Spine Retraction & Extension

In this post, we go over one of the staples of Mckenzie method treatment for neck pain - the retraction and extension exercise. This, combined with chiropractic and manual therapy, helps resolve many neck problems quickly.

Introducing Dr. Todd Peterson

Come meet Dr. Todd Peterson, owner of Axial Spine & Wellness. He is a chiropractor, and the only certified provider of the Mckenzie method of mechanical diagnosis and therapy.

What to do when your exercises are painful

As the only certified chiropractor in the Mckenzie Method in Chicago's west loop neighborhood, almost every patient who comes in with low back or neck pain will receive some sort of exercise to do at home. But what if those exercises hurt? Come find out..

Extension in lying

In this post, we go over the proper technique to perform the extension in lying exercise. This exercise is a staple of the Mckenzie Method, and we often combine it with chiropractic adjustments to get fast relief from low back pain.

Cervical Spine Retraction

In this post, we go over the proper technique to gain relief from neck, upper back, and headache pains by performing Cervical Spine retraction. This movement is one of the staples of the Mckenzie method.