Dr. Pankonin’s Guide to Chronic Neck and Back Pain

This free report was written by Kyle J. Pankonin, DC, FACO, DACCP, CFMP, CCEP, a board-certified chiropractic orthopedist with nearly two decades of clinical experience treating some of the most challenging pain conditions in the human body, including chronic neck and back pain caused by degenerated, herniated or bulging discs, spinal stenosis, chronic facet arthrosis and failed back surgery syndrome. This training allows him to properly diagnose the cause of chronic neck or back pain and offer research-based, non-drug and non-surgical options.


I want to start this report by addressing the suffering and fears you likely are experiencing if you are living with chronic pain. You know very well how it can negatively affect your life. It affects your relationships, work, hobbies, finances and just enjoyment in life. The ongoing battle of chronic neck or back pain is life-changing and many people suffer greatly.

While there are no absolute guarantees in healthcare, for many of you reading this guide there is hope for significant and meaningful improvement to your condition. There are advanced research-based non-drug and non-surgical options now being used throughout the United States. These are options your traditional doctor will not tell you about. There are ways to reduce disc bulges and herniations and to increase disc height. There are ways to calm inflammation and to stimulate healing in injured spinal tissues. Better sleep, improved flexibility, less pain and overall better quality of life is possible for many people currently suffering from chronic neck or back pain.

Let’s talk about:

  • What causes chronic neck and back pain
  • How modern medicine addresses this problem
  • Alternative treatments that work
  • How to determine if you are a good candidate for alternative types of treatment


Chronic neck and back pain are usually caused by a problem with the discs or facet joints in the human spine. Research is quite clear there is no such thing as chronic muscle strain in the spine even though many patients are told by their medical physician this is the problem. The discs and facet joints seem to be the source of pain in most spine conditions and therefore where treatment should be directed.

Common conditions that affect the discs are degenerated disc, bulging disc, herniated disc or a torn disc. The disc is the most pain-sensitive structure in the human spine and most chronic neck or back pain sufferers have problems with them. They are the shock absorbers in between each vertebra. People with disc problems many times will have associated leg symptoms when it is in the lower back and arm symptoms or headaches when it is in the neck.

The facet joints are the joints that lock or connect each vertebra to the next one. There are a lot of nerve endings in the facet joint capsules. When the facet joints are injured, misaligned, inflamed or full of wear and tear they many times become very pain-sensitive. Unlike discs, they usually don't produce pain in the arms or legs as much, but can produce a lot of back or neck pain nonetheless. Some spine conditions are due to injuries either old or new. Some just develop slowly over time.

Most conditions though are caused by faulty biomechanics in the body. This simply means balance and alignment in the body is not optimal. The number one reason for poor balance and alignment throughout the body is poor balance and alignment in the feet. Yes, the feet are the most overlooked cause of imbalances and problems that develop in the spine. Finally, one common trait in all chronic pain sufferers is inflammation. If you don't get whatever is causing your inflammation under control, your pain and spine will never fully heal.


The specific amount and type of pain you experience will depend if the pain is from a disc or facet joint. Discs often cause burning, tingling, numbness or shooting pain into an arm or leg, along with back or neck pain. The reason is the compromised disc causes pressure or impingement on a specific nerve. Facet joints cause aching, sometimes sharp pain to radiate across the back or from the neck down to the shoulder blade, and can sometimes be a source of headaches.


The medical approach to all chronic pain is basically the same regardless of the condition: "drug it, numb it, cut it." Most neck or back pain sufferers who visit their medical provider will be offered some type of prescription drug initially for pain. If that doesn't provide adequate relief they are typically referred to a specialist, an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon. They next step is usually some type of injection into the spine to try to dull/numb they pain and reduce inflammation. Sometimes they do a procedure to actually deaden the nerve called nerve ablation.

If drugging it or numbing it does not provide relief then sometimes a surgical (cut it) option is offered. Drugs or shots do nothing to fix the root cause of pain, only temporarily mask it. Each year in the United States 16,500 deaths are caused by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs commonly used to treat neck and back pain. According to some of the latest studies, epidural steroid injections have a 32% success rate in giving patients on average six weeks of relief. They are not even FDA-approved for treating neck or back pain and many countries outside they U.S. are no longer even covering them and advising against them.

Surgery can sometimes be a necessary fix or treatment for certain spine conditions, but studies show it is only necessary about 2-3% of the time. Surgery also carries somewhere between a 35-54% failure rate. Patients in this group will have gotten no relief or experience the same pain or problem within one year or less.




The first thing all chronic pain sufferers need to address is inflammation. The book "The Deflame Diet" by Dr. David Seaman provides guidance on how to eat correctly to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Most chronic inflammation - and therefore pain - is caused by or contributed to by what we eat on a regular basis. There is no one magic bullet cure for treating chronic pain. It takes a comprehensive approach to find and address the cause then to correct or at least improve the damage that has occurred in the spine.


  • Multiwave Locked System (MLS) Laser Therapy is a powerful class IV laser and is the most powerful available on the market for treating chronic pain conditions. We are the only clinic in SW MN to offer this breakthrough technology. Deep tissue robotic laser therapy penetrates into the facets and discs and stimulates energy production which promotes healing. The laser uses two different wavelengths: one works on pain and one works on inflammation. They are synced together to produce a synergistic effect.
  • Non-Surgical Spinal Axial Decompression Therapy utilizing the Hill DT table is one of the most advanced decompression tables on the market for treating tough cases of chronic neck and back pain. We are the only clinic in SW MN to utilize this advanced treatment option. This specialized treatment table gently decompresses the disc to relieve pressure on the nerves. It can increase disc height and help reduce bulging and herniated discs. Studies on the Hill DT table show about a 91% success rate. It is gentle, well-tolerated and can be a real game-changer, especially when paired with laser therapy.
  • Chiropractic adjustments: We are one of only a few clinics in Minnesota that is specially trained in the application of Cox technique adjustments. It is one of the best researched chiropractic adjusting techniques for treating disc and facet pain and also in treating a specific condition called spinal stenosis. It is a gentle technique and involves no cracking or aggressive maneuvers which many chronic pain sufferers find a relief. It opens up the spine and improves spinal motion.
  • Custom orthotics or a custom pillow: For our chronic back pain sufferers we prescribe them custom orthotics from Foot Levelers. Studies show just wearing them can reduce chronic back pain by 34.5%. When paired with chiropractic adjustments studies show symptom relief can be over 40% with a 30% improvement in function. Foot Levelers addresses the imbalances as mentioned earlier that start in the feet. Wearing them can improve overall body balance and alignment. For our chronic neck pain sufferers we prescribe a custom Exclusively Yours pillow. We take four precise measurements of the head, neck, neck to shoulder and upper torso, which are then used to create a custom pillow uniquely designed for each patient. This can help keep the neck properly supported and aligned at night and alleviate waking up with a stiff/sore neck or headache.
  • Targeted supplementation containing ingredients that have been shown to help heal and support the discs of the spine are prescribed. We use a supplement called Disc-Discovery which contains forms of chondroitin sulfate specific for enhancing disc health. Improving the health and hydration of the disc is a big component to helping chronic back or neck pain.


A thorough review of your condition and overall health history and a thorough examination is the only way to determine how far your spine condition has progressed and if it can be helped. We will be honest with you. If your condition is too severe, has been present for too long, or if you are unwilling to make changes to follow the program then we will tell you we cannot help. On the other hand, if your history and exam shows us a treatable condition and you are willing to make some changes and follow the program, then we will let you know we likely can help. We have an 89% success rate in reducing chronic neck or back pain by at least 50% or more.


Your options now are to do nothing, continue to do whatever it is you've been doing, or to try this research-backed, comprehensive program. Chances are if you're reading this, you are looking for more answers and other options, and it may be safe to assume what you are currently doing is not working. Remember, chronic neck and back pain rarely gets better on its own. If it was going to it would have by now. Disc degeneration is progressive and tends to get worse with time. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Decompression Frequently Asked Questions

According to published research, patients with a chronic (long-term) condition will need about 24 visits to achieve long-term physiological changes.

Research shows someone with chronic back or neck pain has a 91% chance of achieving full or very significant pain relief. Many patients are able to avoid surgery.

Programs cost about $3,300 for one area and $4,600 for two areas. Payment plans are available.

Decompression therapy, chiropractic adjustments, MLS laser therapy, rehab exercises, custom pillow and/or orthotics from Foot Levelers and nutritional supplementation with Disc-Discovery are all important parts of our comprehensive program. 

According to published research, more than 50% of patients were able to maintain a pain-free or near pain-free status for up to four years after treatment had ended.

No. Decompression therapy creates a true decompression in the spine, meaning it reduces pressure in the disc to a negative amount. 

Degenerated discs, herniated discs, bulging discs, facet syndrome, failed spine surgery, or failure to respond to traditional chiropractic, physical therapy, steroid injections or pain medication.

Many chiropractors and physical therapists are not comfortable treating complex spine pain cases, especially if they do not have the same extra training and certifications as our staff. The decompression therapy table is an expensive piece of equipment which may deter some clinicians from purchasing one.

Some aspects of your chiropractic care may be covered by insurance such as chiropractic adjustments, therapeutic services and rehab exercises. Custom pillows or orthotics from Foot Levelers, nutritional supplements, MLS laser and decompression therapies are not covered by insurance. Decompression is a relatively new technology and insurance takes a while to cover some new treatment options. Also, decompression therapy has been proven effective and works so well that if insurance covered it almost everyone with neck or back pain would give it a try. This would not be profitable for insurance companies. 

Take control of your health today!

Schedule your initial consultation with our experienced team now and start your journey towards a pain-free life.

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