Low back pain ranges from a mild, nagging ache to a sharp, debilitating pain. It may resolve in a few weeks or turn into a chronic, lifelong condition. No matter what form it takes, it’s one of the most common causes of pain. More than 80% of all people experience low back pain sometime during their lives.
Your lower back is vulnerable to pain for two reasons:
Its lack of structural support: The lower back is designed to be flexible so you can twist, bend, and move. But that mobility also means there’s little structural support to hold it steady, which makes it unstable and prone to injury.
It supports your body weight: The 5 bones, or vertebrae, in the lower back support the weight of your entire upper body. This constant strain damages the discs that serve as cushions between the bones.
According to experts, lower back pain is the number one disability culprit in workers’ compensation claims. In addition, the latest research shows most lower back problems which cause low back pain do not fully resolve without extensive treatment and proper rehabilitation, contrary to previous beliefs.
Muscle spasms, spine or muscle injury, and degeneration of the spine due to normal wear-and-tear are all common causes of lower back pain. While there are multiple causes, your chiropractor frequently treats the lower back stemming from the following problems:
Spinal misalignment: When bones in the spine are dislodged or displaced from their normal position, the misalignment may damage discs, irritate nerves, or restrict blood flow, which result in pain and inflammation.
Disc herniation: A herniated disc — when the disc bulges out between vertebrae — may not have symptoms, but it usually causes intense pain that radiates down your leg. Herniated discs seldom heal completely, but regular chiropractic care may prevent progressive deterioration.
Sprains, strains, and spasms: Running, gymnastics, sports, lifting a heavy object, over-exercising, and pivoting the wrong way are just a few causes of sprains, strains, and muscle spasms.
Stress: Muscle tension increases when you’re stressed or anxious, which leads to pain, often in the lower back. Then a cycle develops; chronic back pain causes stress, which in turn triggers more pain. Adjustments to the realign the spine may stop that cycle.
Chiropractic treatment of low back pain has an advantage over medications and conservative treatment such as rest, heat, and ice. Those strategies only treat symptoms, while chiropractic adjustment may correct the problem by repositioning the spine. Depending on your history and condition, your chiropractor will assess your back on X-ray, determine optimal chiropractic adjustments, and develop an exercise regimen to help you regain strength and function in your back.
The chiropractic doctor is unique in the health care field in that much of the training in chiropractic colleges is specifically aimed at identifying and successfully treating and managing lower back conditions. As chiropractors, we have learned the skills necessary to effectively identify and treat most back conditions.
Low back pain is usually associated with lifestyle choices and conditions. Common factors that attribute to low back pain are a history of smoking, repetitive bending, and lifting at work, age, and unhealthy lifestyle choices related to nutrition and exercise. Exercise is an important element in a healthy lifestyle, keeping us fit and balanced, as well as allowing for a quicker recovery when an injury does occur. Ensuring you have strong core muscles is a crucial component of spinal health and injury prevention. Strong core muscles allow our body to work effectively, and maintain correct posture, taking unneeded stress off the spine.