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Do You Need a Second Opinion for Back Pain?

Do You Need a Second Opinion for Back Pain?

My name is Dr. Lilly Bojic, DPT and I am an expert in treating low back pain.

Every week I see many patients who come to see me for a second opinion. They come because they have concerns regarding persistent low back pain. Some of them are already receiving some kind of treatment (by MD, Chiropractor or PT) but are not getting better. They are seeking better, faster and more efficient solutions.

Most of them report being told by their MD’s that they need medication, injections, surgery, corticosteroids, or an MRI to help their back pain. Some of them were recommended extensive, weekly adjustments or expensive decompression therapy.  Others have received Physical Therapy but failed to get good results.  Many were referred inside of the preferred network, to practitioners with no expertise in treating complex low back pain just because of insurance limitations or physician and hospital financial preference.

All of the experiences my patients shared with me have 8 points in common.

These are 8 common signs you are in need of second opinion:

 1) You are hearing about only one possible treatment

Look for a second opinion if you get only pain medication or muscle relaxants prescription with no further instruction regarding self care, healing movement and exercise. Back pain is a symptom of complex problem and requires careful musculoskeletal system rebalancing. Your doctor should present you with multiple options and alternatives, along with pros and cons, so you can make informed decision and do what is best for you.

2) Your Doctor is fast to prescribe pain medication

Pain medication masks symptoms without helping resolve root cause of the problem. They can even make injuries worse by masking symptoms so your damaged tissues without knowing it.  Most drugs have harmful side-effects while doing nothing to help your body get healthy.  Some of side-effects are increased risk of falls, heart attacks, strokes and ulcers.  Working, driving, lifting children and operating any kind of machinery is dangerous while on pain medication and muscle relaxants. Narcotics create addiction, cause fuzzy thinking and increase sensitivity of nervous system reacting by more pain to less stimulus.

3) Your Doctor is fast to prescribe corticosteroids

The same as pain medication, corticosteroids just mask symptoms and don’t do much to help you heal. They have multiple side-effects ranging from connective tissue tears, muscle, tendon, nerve and ligament injury to severe systemic damage.  Last week, I evaluated 40 year-old patient who suffered left eye blindness from corticosteroid injections he received to treat his chronic SI and low back pain. I feel that this is very unfortunate and avoidable.

4) Your Doctor orders expensive MRI to figure out the cause of your back pain

Even though necessary in some cases, MRI results show poor correlation with back pain. John Hopkins study published in 2011, suggested that imaging studies are costly and unnecessary for many back patients. If you look at 100 middle aged people who never had back pain, two thirds of them would still have spinal abnormalities on MRI. Also, some people who complain about back pain and leg pain will have positive MRI reading that is not the cause of the pain. Others will have negative MRI reading indicating pain originating not from spine but somewhere else.  Since correlation in between MRI reading and back pain is low, MRI should not be routinely prescribed especially considering high cols of roughly $1500-$2500.

 5) Your Doctor is pushing for surgery without trying less invasive options first

Surgeons rationalize recommending surgery by pointing spinal abnormalities in the patient spine even though the research indicated that the correlation in between back pain and many of these “abnormalities” is virtually zero. In result, spinal surgery is effective in less than third cases of low back pain and often cause more harm than good. During my long career, I had opportunity to meet very many spinal surgery patients who had little improvement, none, or they were worse than before surgery. Some patients I know ended up with more pain after the spinal fusion as their spine deteriorated above and below fusion. I am grateful for the opportunity to help these patients, but disturbed by the fact that most of their failed spinal surgeries could have been avoided with comprehensive Physical Therapy intervention.

 6) No explanation of what is causing the problem

Seek second opinion if you left your doctors office with a gnawing doubt because there is no mention of specific diagnosis or explanation of cause of the ailment.  Your doctor should have some kind of the clue what is going and explanation should make sense to you and it should match your research.

7) You were prescribed extensive, continuous treatment by your Chiropractor

Some of my patients were told that they have to continue coming for months and months, even years to get adjustments and expensive decompression therapy. Proper back pain treatment should yield fast results and lead to complete resolution within weeks. Patients should never be kept addicted or dependent on continuous intervention.

8) Your symptoms are not getting better despite you sticking with Physical Therapy treatment.

Many of my patents come for second opinion while in Physical Therapy treatment elsewhere. They learn about my expertise from their friends or family and come to me with concern regarding poor progression in therapy. The truth is that an expert level Physical Therapist should make you feel better fast. If you are in care of experienced back pain specialist, you should  feel better within 3-4 visits or 2 weeks. Therefore, you should seek second opinion if you are in the third or fourth week of your treatment and symptoms are still persistent and not at least 50% better.

Back pain is complex problem and requires balancing musculature, resolving fault lines, correcting alignment, stabilizing core and hip musculature, mobilizing  vertebral levels, eliminating inflammation, and improving nerve and tissue healing.  Pressure of the nerve and irritated structures have to be relieved for neural structures to heal. Advanced manual skills, healing movement and cutting edge technology has to be implemented for fast results.


 Here’s what one of my patients had to say: “I had Sciatica for 16 years and have tried everything and anything. I came to Dr. Lilly with a little hope. I thought I would never get better but Dr. Lilly and her staff re-assured me really fast.  She worked a miracle and I was able to bend forward and touch my toes by the end of very first session. I highly recommend Lilly Physical Therapy to anybody suffering from low back pain.” (P. M., Sciatica Patient)

If you want to receive a second opinion, and get better quickly, book a $79 discovery exam special while this offer stands.

The Discovery Exam Includes:

1. A private one-on-one exam by a licensed physical therapist and pelvic specialist.

2. A detailed explanation of the ROOT CAUSE of your pain/problem.

3. List of exercises and things you can do at home to start feeling better right away.

*If time permits, you’ll receive a quick treatment as well.


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Reserve your spot and claim this offer before it expires.
Call (425) 224-2476 if you have any questions.

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In the mean time, try out my tips for low back pain here.