Low Back Pain ICD10: 9 out of 10 People Don’t Know Their Diagnosis Is

Low Back Pain ICD10: 9 out of 10 People Don’t Know Their Diagnosis Is Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic

20 Jun Low Back Pain ICD10: 9 out of 10 People Don’t Know Their Diagnosis Is

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What does your doctor use as a diagnosis for your low back pain ICD10 code?

Did you know that 9 out of 10 people don’t know what their diagnosis is for their low back pain?

It’s called non-specific low back pain.

Imagine your car wasn’t working and your mechanic didn’t know what the problem was 9 out of 10 times?

Would you say:

“Just change the oil or rotate the tires”

You’d never say that.

Intuitively, you’d know this wouldn’t work.

But this is exactly what people do when it comes to their low back pain.

“I’ll just go to the chiropractor that my friend said helped him.”

But how do you know need an adjustment or what other treatment the chiropractor does?

Low Back Pain ICD10 – Your Diagnosis

Your ICD-10 diagnostic code is what the doctor uses to submit to insurance to get reimbursed.

Search ICD-10 for low back pain and you’ll see M54.5, which is a label for “low back pain.”

Using this code is kinda like having stomach discomfort and getting a label of “stomach discomfort.”

What the heck does a doctor treat you with to fix the stomach discomfort?

It’s not helpful at all.

A diagnosis of “low back pain” doesn’t tell us anything as far as what you need to get treated.

All non-specific low back pain means is  the doctors have ruled out any grave diagnoses ie. cancer, infection, cauda equina (severe neurological condition).

So, now what?

Do you need:

  • an adjustment?
  • a massage?
  • a cortisone shot?
  • acupuncture?
  • to get your diet better?
  • adhesion removed?

I don’t know – do you?

In this blog post, I discussed a 2018 review that showed many low back pain treatments result in small improvements in low back pain 1 month after treatment.

In order to get PERMANENT pain relief for your chronic pain, you need a tissue-specific diagnostic list.

Your Diagnosis is a Pile of Blocks

We call each BLOCK to your diagnosis “dysfunction” (DYS).

Your body’s ability to do work is like a bucket.

When all of the water fits inside the bucket, you experience NO SYMPTOMS.

(SX) is your symptom threshold, the point at which you’d experience pain or symptoms.

Below is an example of a person with ONE problem (one block) that is under symptom threshold.


Now, here’s a picture showing ALL of the dysfunctions contributing to someone’s pain, which is above the symptom threshold.

This person has 5 problems.

The “Osteoarthritis” block has an “X” through it because there’s no direct treatment to remove this problem.

Now, here’s a graph with those specific problems with the GOLD STANDARD (best possible) treatment for each problem.

This line of thinking is the ONLY way to fix your chronic low back pain.

You’d never try to fix y0ur car without identifying all of the problems so you could pick the best possible solution for each problem.

It’s time we stop doing this with chronic low back pain.

The Biggest Problem in Chronic Low Back Pain

Here’s another thing that 9 out of 10 of low back pain sufferers have never heard of.

It’s kinda like glue in your muscles called ADHESION.

ADHESION is made of fascia (it literally looks like spider webs) and makes your muscles tight & weak.

Here’s a picture of what fascial adhesion looks like courtesy of @janainacintas on Instagram.

Looks gluey, doesn’t it?

No amount of:

  • stretching
  • adjustments
  • massage
  • cortisone shots
  • decompression
  • surgery
  • acupuncture

… will remove the adhesion.

THIS is why Barefoot Rehab in Denville, NJ, chose to stop adjusting patients in 2012 and focus entirely on adhesion.

We identified a HUGE problem that almost no doctors are talking about that if we chose to develop our skill sets, we’d be able to help a massive amount of people get permanent pain relief.

Here’s how we remove adhesion in the low back muscles.

Now, if you have chronic low back pain, don’t forget that you also need to get the following major tissues treated (because when they have adhesion, they all put stress on the low back):

  • Supraspinous ligament and interspinous space
  • Quadratus lumborum
  • Psoas
  • Iliacus
  • Sciatic nerve (along it’s whole course)
  • Posterior hip capsule
  • Adductor magnus

There are other tissues that can also be involved, but this list would be 30-50 tissues long and they’re addressed on an individual basis depending on how a chronic low back pain sufferer’s symptoms present.

Helpful Info to Get Your Chronic Low Back Pain Fixed

Here’s some other info to help you finally find answers to your chronic low back pain.

Tell us what has your experience with getting diagnosed for your chronic low back pain? Please share anything you’re comfortable sharing and we can point you in the right direction to getting permanent relief.

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Dr. Chris Stepien, DC, Full-Body ID Certified, ART Certified, CSCS, and CrossFit Level 1 Certified, fixes your annoying and frustrating pains, even when it's been over 6 months and you've seen 3-5 other doctors or therapists without lasting relief Barefoot Rehab in Denville, NJ. And when you're sad, depressed, or not enjoying life, Dr. Chris wants to hug you. He invites you to reach out, no matter what your concern is. Barefoot Rehab is here to serve you.
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