Low back pain is one of the most common complaints we see in our office, and one we are adept at treating. Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability in the US. 4 out of 5 americans will suffer from disabling low back pain in their lifetimes. Mechanical or non-organic low back pain, meaning it is not caused by any serious conditions such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer can be a complicated subject, because it varies so much in nature. A trigger point or tight muscle might cause excruciating back pain in a 20 something year-old, while the 74 year-old woman with severe arthritis might be completely pain-free. What we do know about low back pain is that there can be a combination of factors playing in.
- Facet joints may be irritated or sprained
- The large nerve roots in your back may be pinched
- The smaller nerves in your back could be irritated
- Your erector or QL muscles might be spasmed or overworked
- The muscles on the front of your spine (psoas) might be tight and shortened
- Your gluteal muscles might not be firing
- One of your intervertebral discs might be bulging or herniated
- Your low back might be unstable
- The arches in your feet might be weakened or collapsing
- You may have degeneration of the bones and joints
Firstly we have to look at the mechanism of injury. Was it traumatic? Did you deadlift a little too much weight, or lose your form? Maybe you slipped on ice, or were in a car accident, or bent over to pick up a pencil (We consider this traumatic… your body just let you know how old you really are).
Is it a repetitive stress problem? You might have a job that requires you sit or stand for eight hours a day. Maybe you have to repetitively bend or twist to perform at work. You do a ton of sit-ups on a daily basis.
You’re overtraining. You’re undertraining and deconditioned. Your diet sucks and you are chronically inflamed.
Chiropractic care is an incredibly powerful tool for the majority of these injuries, and is the most cost effective treatment. When the body is injured, whether traumatic or chronic, it goes into “protective mode”. Your body is going to do everything it can to protect the injured tissues, in this case your low back, from becoming more damaged. So your muscles splint to guard the area. This splinting decreases the normal range of motion in your low back, so you ultimately start stealing from another area to compensate.
As the injury heals, it will heal around this compensatory pattern. Chiropractic care helps with this issue by getting you out of pain faster, and by resetting your nervous system and restoring the tissues so that your body can heal in an optimal environment.