Low Back Pain

Although chiropractors care for more than just back pain, many patients visit chiropractors looking for relief from this pervasive condition.

In fact, up to 85% of the adult population will develop back pain at some point of time in their life. So it is not a question of “if” but “when” and “how are you going to prevent it?”.

The cause of millions of dollars of lost work and untold suffering every day, lower back pain is a result of several factors, or a combination of factors, such as:

  • improper sitting or lifting
  • over-exertion
  • poor muscle tone
  • trauma
  • inherited spinal abnormalities

Facet Joints

The two interlocking “fingers” at the back of each spinal bone contain many of the pain-sensing nerves of the spine are and these are called facet joints. Problems arise when the normally smooth surfaces on which these joints glide become rough, irritated, and inflamed.

Surgical treatment often involves removing these “troublesome” facet joints in the belief that they are the cause of the problem. Often surgery such as this results in exposing the spinal cord itself!

Disc Protrusion

A damaged disc which bulges, putting pressure on the spinal cord or a nearby nerve root can be another cause of lower back pain. Often numbness, tingling, or pain down the leg can also result.

Surgery often involves cutting away the bulging disc tissue which results in permanently altering its ability to separate and cushion the adjacent bones. This is another surgical view of removing a symptom of back pain rather than understanding its’ cause.

Alternatively, the chiropractic approach is to help restore a more normal motion and position of affected spinal bones by specific chiropractic adjustments.

The philosophy of chiropractic understands and works with the fundamental nature of the spine to help it regain its natural function and is a much better alternative to risky surgery.

It’s simple to find out if your low back pain will respond to chiropractic care and to obtain the positive results that millions of patients the world enjoy.

Facts About Backs

  • Low back pain affects 60 to 80 percent of U.S. adults at some time during their lives.
  • Back symptoms are among the ten most common reasons patients to visit an emergency centre in hospital.
  • Back pain will become chronic in 5 to 10 percent of those who suffer if left without treatment.
  • Back symptoms are the most common cause of disability for persons under age 45.
  • People who follow an unhealthy lifestyle such as smokers, those who are obese, depressed, anxious or have high stress jobs, are shown to suffer a higher incidence of low back pain.
  • The first hour after waking and any time after prolonged periods of sitting or sleeping is the time when the back is more vulnerable to injury or trauma.
  • Most back injuries are not the result of a single trauma such as heavy lifting but instead are related to repetitive motion which causes strain and chronic stress.

Eight steps to lifting safely

Repeated motion and lifting is the number one way in which people injure their back.

These basic rules can help keep you free from injury

1. If an object is too heavy or awkward, get help.
2. Spread your feet apart to give a wide base of support.
3. Bend at the knees and do not arch the back.
4. Hold objects close to the body to reduce the load on the back.
5. Lift using leg muscles, not back muscles
6. Stand up without bending forward from the waist.
7. Never twist at the waist while lifting something heavy. Turn your whole body to change direction or set something down.
8. If an object can be moved without lifting, pull it, don’t push.

Preventing Low Back Pain (LBP)

Good posture will flow naturally from a healthy spine. The ears, shoulders and hips should be in a straight line, with the head up and stomach pulled in. It is very important to keep the head in a “neutral” position i.e. not leaning forward or backwards.

Standing in one position for any length of time is not advisable. However, resting one foot upon a step or stool can help to relieve the back from strain. In situations, such as work environments, try to take short, frequent walks. Wear flat-soled shoes with cushioned soles. Avoid high or narrow based heels.

Sitting puts a great deal of pressure on the back. Chairs which have ergonomic features such as adjustable backs or low back support are recommended. To avoid twisting whilst seated, swivel chairs are best. A good chair would have armrests and adjustable height control. When sitting, the knees should be a little higher than the hips, so a low stool can be useful to rest your feet on.

When driving or riding in a car for a long period of time move the seat as far forward as possible in order to avoid bending forward. The seat should be reclined not more than 30° and the seat bottom tilted slightly up in front. When undertaking long drives/rides, it is recommended that you take regular breaks, about every hour and to “stretch” by taking a walk. Be careful to avoid lifting heavy objects immediately after a long journey.