Low Back Pain
If you're suffering from lower back pain you're not alone. More than 80% of North Americans will at some time in their life suffer from the disabling confines of lower back pain.
According to experts, lower back pain is the number one disability culprit in workers' compensation claims and accounts for more than $50 billion annually in the US through medical care and lost production. 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.
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. General medical practitioners generally lack adequate training in this area and have not learned the skills necessary to most effectively identify and treat most back conditions.
Causes of Low Back Pain
Many tissues can generate low back pain. Unfortunately, research shows that the exact tissues causing low back pain cannot be specifically identified in up to 80% of individuals. In other words, we cannot single out the tissue(s) responsible for the pain. These patients are said to suffer from "nonspecific low back pain"; the specific cause of the pain cannot be determined.
Although the specific tissues causing low back pain are difficult to identify, chiropractic doctors have found a number of factors consistently present in low back pain patients. These factors include vertebral subluxations, faulty spinal biomechanics, deconditioned spinal musculature and the practice of poor postural habits and techniques. By addressing these factors - the actual causes of the tissue injury - chiropractic doctors are able to obtain extraordinary results in low back pain sufferers.
Identifying The Cause
The first step in treating low back pain is to determine what has and is causing the low back pain. Once the causes and contributing factors are identified, a successful treatment plan can be structured to eliminate the pain and achieve the goals of the patient.
Most individuals experiencing low back pain have a combination of:
- vertebral subluxations
- faulty spinal biomechanics
- deconditioned and weak spinal musculature
- improper firing patterns of spinal musculature
- poor postural habits
- poor diet and nutritional practices
- a history of activities (work or play) generating high levels of spinal stress
Treatments for Low Back Pain
Doctors of chiropractic are the health care leaders in the treatment of low back pain as well as other spinal conditions. Treatments are gentle, safe, natural, noninvasive and highly effective. Also, the treatments are designed to correct the root cause of your problem and not simply cover up the symptoms you experience.
In fact, a Canadian government commissioned study on the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of chiropractic management of low back pain concluded,
"Chiropractic manipulation is safer than medical management of low back pain. Chiropractic management is greatly superior to medical management in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction."
- The Manga Report
Other manual therapies such as massage, trigger point therapy, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and acupressure therapy may be utilized to assist in the relaxation of lumbar muscles and increase lumbar spine mobility.
Low back stabilization exercises are commonly prescribed to patients suffering from low back pain. These exercises are designed to teach the patient a "neutral spine" position as well as subconsciously enhance the muscles ability to stabilize and protect the spine from injury. Exercises and stretches are unique in that they can be performed outside the office without the assistance of the doctor.
Physical therapies may also be employed and include hot and cold applications, muscle stimulation, interferential therapy, therapeutic ultrasound, and diathermy.
Diet and nutrition also play a key role in the health of the spine. Without the proper nutrients, the lumbar spine and rest of the body are less able to remain healthy and heal once injured. If your diet and nutritional status is poor, we can help get you on track.
Structures which are often the source of lower back pain include:
- lumbar intervertebral discs
- lumbar facet joints and joint capsules
- lumbar and pelvic muscles and ligaments
- lumbar and sacral spinal nerves
- sacroiliac joints