Back Pain (Upper, middle or lower back pain) Relief
Lower back pain is recognised as one of the most common reasons for referrals to medical practitioners, and accounts for a large proportion of missed days at work. In fact, research suggests that up to eighty percent of people will experience back pain at some stage of their lives. While for some people back pain is little more than discomfort, for others it can leave them incapacitated.
While some cases of back pain originate from injury, accidents or organic medical conditions such as arthritis or fracture, the most common cause of back pain is stress to the joints and muscles of the back, which accumulates from day-to-day activities such as:
- poor posture
- incorrect bending and lifting procedures
- sitting down for extended periods of time
- sleeping incorrectly
- twisting the body into an uncomfortable position
The lower back is particularly vulnerable as the lower back area supports a lot of our body weight, and relies heavily on the strength of the vertebrae in our spine. If the spines is not in correct alignment, areas of weakness can occur, resulting in irritation of nerves in the spine, or in a bulging disc, which places pressure on the spinal cord. The dysfunction of its major joints can lead to painful results. Other pain-sensitive structures can be stretched, torn and distorted. Using spinal adjustments and other techniques, your chiropractor can treat many of the common low back problems described below.
Facet syndrome (back sprain) is most often brought on by a sudden movement or injury, often following years of back neglect, and results in pain and stiffness and difficulty moving. You may find yourself bent off to one side.
Sacroiliac syndrome occurs from a sudden injury or movement and is felt as a sudden pain in the hip area. You have difficulty changing positions and the pain can be excruciating. It is sometimes difficult to differentiate from a facet syndrome or disc herniation. This is the most commonly misdiagnosed back problem, usually called a muscle pull.
Herniated (slipped) discs are brought on by a sudden movement, often lifting, on top of general wear and tear and may cause severe pain in the back and legs. It takes quite a while to build up and may take quite a while to get better.
Muscle and ligament Strain is most often caused by poor posture or an old untreated back injury. Symptoms are chronic backaches with occasional spasms.
Scoliosis (curvature of the spine) is most common among teenage girls. It is important that it be screened for after the age of 10. Your chiropractor can show you how.
While many people look for medication such as ibuprofen and aspirin when they suffer from low back pain, these should not be considered first-line treatments. While many medications may reduce the symptomatic pain, it does not treat the actual problem. This means that once the medication wears off, the pain usually returns. This will continue until the underlying mechanisim driving the pain is addressed.
Is lower back pain really a serious problem?
First of all, if it makes life more difficult for you, that’s serious in itself. Even if it goes away in a few days, you haven’t really gotten rid of the problem. It will most likely return and, if left untreated, could be more debilitating the next time. Which is why we recommend seeing a chiropractor at the first sign of back pain.
Lower back pain can also be accompanied by a variety of symptoms, some of which indicate very serious problems. Do you currently have or have you ever had:
- Leg pain with numbness, tingling and/or weakness?
- Back or leg pain with coughing or sneezing?
- Difficulty standing up after sitting for any period of time?
- Morning stiffness?
- Pain after extended walking?
- Pain in the hip, buttock, thigh, knee or foot?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these symptoms, it’s time you got help from a doctor of chiropractic.
Common causes of Low Back Pain
There are many different conditions that can result in low back pain, including: sprained ligaments, strained muscles, ruptured disks, trigger points and inflamed joints. While sports injuries or accidents can lead to injury and pain, sometimes even the simplest movements, like picking up a pencil from the floor, can have painful results. In addition, conditions such as arthritis, poor posture, obesity, psychological stress and even kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots, or bone loss can lead to pain.
Whenever there is a disruption in the normal movement or position of the vertebrae, the result is pain and inflammation. In the lumbar spine, these usually occur at the transition between the lower spine and the sacrum. Subluxations can lead to debilitating low back pain. Fortunately, subluxations are easily treatable and often times a significant reduction in pain is experienced almost immediately after treatment.
Contrary to popular belief, a herniated disc does not automatically mean that you are going to suffer from low back pain. In fact, one study found that almost half of all adults had at least one bulging or herniated disc, even though they did not suffer any back pain from it. On the other hand, herniated discs can be a source of intense and debilitating pain that frequently radiates to other areas of the body. Unfortunately, once a disc herniates, they rarely, if ever, completely heal. Further deterioration can often be avoided through regular chiropractic care, but a complete recovery is much less common.
Sprains, Strains and Spasms
This is commonly the source of low back pain among the weekend warriors. You know, the type who have very little physical activity during the week, but once the weekend arrives, they push themselves way too much. By the end of the weekend, they are lying flat on their back counting down the hours before they can get in to see their chiropractor. Overworking the muscles or ligaments of the low back can lead to small tears in the tissues, which then become painful, swollen and tight.
Whenever you become stressed, your body responds by increasing your blood pressure and heart rate, flooding your body with stress hormones and tightening up your muscles. When you are stressed all the time, the chronic tension causes your muscles to become sore, weak and loaded with trigger points. If you are stressed out all of the time and you have low back pain, it is important to do some relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, as well as to get regular exercise.
What is the Gentle, Safe, Drug Free Solution to Relief Back Pain?
Chiropractic for the low back has been repeatedly shown to be the most effective treatment for low back pain. In fact, major studies have shown that chiropractic care is more effective, cheaper and has better long-term outcomes than any other treatment. This makes sense because chiropractic care is the only method of treatment that serves to re-establish normal vertebral motion and position in the spine. All other treatments, such as muscle relaxants, pain killers and bed rest, only serve to decrease the symptoms of the problem and do not correct the problem itself.
The term Sciatica refers to pain, numbness and occasionally muscle weakness in the area supplied by the sciatic nerve, i.e. hip, buttock, posterior thigh, calf and foot. The patient may experience a crawling sensation over the affected area and an inability to walk on his toes or heels due to muscle weakness. There are many possible causes for sciatica, but the most frequent cause has been found to be faulty alignment and mechanics of the lower spine and pelvis. Such faulty alignment serves to compress or irritate the sciatic nerve with a resulting painful inflammation of the nerve. Faulty spinal-pelvic alignment may result from a single fall, accident or unusual exercise or such structural deficits may develop gradually as part of an over all posture distortion pattern.
The top three ways the sciatic nerve is injured:
- The nerve openings between adjacent vertebrae in the lower back may be partially occluded by a misaligned or subluxated vertebra. Nerves which make up the sciatic nerve are compressed and irritated as they pass through the partially occluded openings.
- A sacro-iliac subluxation or distortion may exert a direct pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- The deep muscles of the buttock may be placed under unusual stress by a faulty pelvic alignment. the stretched or even collapsed muscles may squeeze and irritate the sciatic nerve as it passes between them.
Sciatica Gentle, Safe, Drug Free Solution:
Chiropractic treatment works on correcting misaligned or out of place vertebrae and removing the pressure placed on the sciatic nerve, reducing pain and improving flexibility and function. It is based on the scientific principle that restricted spinal movement leads to pain and reduced function and performance. Chiropractic care is non-invasive (non-surgical) and drug-free.
The type of chiropractic therapy provided depends on the cause of the patient’s sciatica. A sciatica treatment plan may include several different treatments such as ice/cold therapies, spinal adjustments (sometimes called spinal manipulation), stretching and/or strengthening exercises. Below are more details on these chiropractic treatment modalities.
- Ice/Cold therapy reduces inflammation and helps to control sciatic pain.
- Adjustments (Spinal Manipulation) At the core of chiropractic care are spinal adjustments. The adjustments frees restricted movement of the spine and helps to restore misaligned vertebral bodies to their proper position in the spinal column. Spinal adjustment helps to reduce nerve irritability responsible for causing inflammation, muscle spasm, pain, and other symptoms related to sciatica. Adjustments should not be painful. Spinal adjustments is proven to be safe and effective.
In university and during their training, students of chiropractic learn many different adjustment techniques enabling them to treat several types of subluxations and disorders. Techniques vary from a swift high velocity thrust to those that combine minimal force and gentle pressure. Mastery of each technique is an art that requires great skill and precision. Spinal adjustments is the treatment that differentiates chiropractic care from other medical disciplines.
- Stretching/Strengthening Exercises improves spinal mobility (keeps pressure of the the sciatic nerves) and strengthening exercises will help to control sciatic pain.