When Your Lower Back Hurts…
Lower back problems are very common. Many people have more that one episode of lower back pain, and many have back pain that continues without relief. If you have lower back problems, you are clearly not alone.
Standard medical management of back pain often involves medications such as painkillers and muscle relaxants. When the condition doesn’t improve or even worsens, surgery may be performed.
A 1994 report form the federal government’s Agency for Health Care Policy and Research concluded that chiropractic care is the safest, drug-free initial form of treatment for cure lower back problems in adults. The study also recommended that for most patients, conservative treatment such as pursued before surgical intervention is considered.
Evidence-and the experiences of millions of chiropractic patients-suggests that chiropractic is often the most effective approach to reducing pain and helping recovery, especially within the first month of symptoms.
What causes low back pain?
Falls, car accidents, sports strains and injuries, heavy lifting, or repetitive work may cause damage to the back. Often the vertebrae (spinal bones) are involved in this damage. Because the vertebrae protect the nerves that travel through the spinal column, even a small changed in their position can profoundly affect delicate nerve tissue. Degenerative changes in the vertebrae also can irritate or inflame delicate nerves.
Another cause of low back pain can be problem with a disc (the fibrous cushion between each vertebra.) A bulging ruptured disc can irritate nerves that travel form the spinal cord. This may cause buttocks or leg pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs. Finally, problems can occur due to wear and tear on the back as we age. Arthritic changes in the spinal bones such as spurs (abnormal bony growths), disc degeneration (breakdown of the discs), and muscle or ligament weakness may change the normal, healthy curve of the lumbar spine. This can lead to irritation of nerves in the spine.
Lower back problems are more common in people who are in poor physical condition and those with jobs that include heavy lifting, lots of bending, or long periods of sitting or standing. Emotional stress or long periods of inactivity may intensify symptoms or trigger the recurrence of a previous problem. But anyone can have a lower back problem.
How chiropractic can help
The chiropractic approach to treating low back pain is to find the source of the problem and correct it, not just to treat the problem, the body can heal naturally. Low back pain often responds dramatically to the restoration of normal position and motion of the vertebrae through chiropractic care.
The chiropractor’s primary tool in treating spinal malfunction is the use of adjustments (spinal manipulation). Applying precisely directed force to a spinal joint that is out of position or not moving properly helps gradually restore it to a more normal position and function. Depending on each individual condition, the doctor’s hands or a special instrument may be used to deliver quick, other adjustments required slow, constant pressure.
Your chiropractor may also recommend therapies to compliment your adjustments. These include exercises to strengthen and retain back muscles, hot or cold compresses, or massage. Lifestyle changes such as eating a healthier diet and reducing stress may also be suggested.
When to seek help for lower back pain
Back problems are often more easily treated within the first month of the onset of symptoms. While some patients seek chiropractic care only when pain is unbearable, this “crisis” approach often costs more in the long run; in stress and in dollars.
So the sooner you see a chiropractic physician and fix what is causing your back problems, the faster you’ll find relief from your pain. Don’t continue to suffer.