Low Back Pain

Anyone who has ever suffered an acute episode of lower back pain is also acutely aware of how mechanical stress (movement) affects the lower back. For instance, some back pain sufferers will notice it hurts more when sitting than while standing. This is because sitting actually places 50% more weight on the lower back and more weight (pressure) equals more pain. Other back pain suffers notice an increase in pain from mechanical stress due to bending, stooping, lifting, or even from coughing or sneezing.

Chiropractors help many patients with mechanical types of back pain, which usually presents as when the bones of the spine, called vertebrae, are out of alignment. This misalignment between vertebra creates a mechanical stress that causes inflammation to the area that surrounds the nerves. When the nerves of the back become irritated, pain and dysfunction are the end result.

Lower back pain comes in many forms. Pain can range from mild stiffness or the difficulty or inability to move, bend, sit, or walk. Back pain can be constant or intermittent (come and go.) The pain can be dull and aching or sharp and stabbing. There may also be numbness, tingling, a sensation of heat, or weakness in one or both of the legs. In some cases, leg symptoms will present with or without back pain. This is due to a specific type of irritation to the sciatic nerve, called sciatica.

A disc bulge can cause back pain and may be accompanied by symptoms of pain, tingling, burning, or numbness down a leg. Sometimes a disc bulge will only cause the leg symptoms. A disc acts like a shock absorber and a pivot point between the two vertebrae. When a disc gets overly stressed or injured, it begins to bulge. In the lower back, a disc bulge in the side of a disc is more likely to cause leg pain as the predominant symptom. A disc that bulges more to the middle is more likely to cause back symptoms, rather than leg symptoms.

Although back pain is most often caused from a mechanical stress, it could also be caused from other problems such as genetic conditions of the spine (conditions you are born with), nutritional disorders (osteoporosis), malformation of the vertebra (improper bone growth), infection, or even malignancy (cancer).

No matter how back pain presents, if it persists, you should seek professional help to find out what is causing the pain and why it will not get better. However, if your pain happened due to an injury, you should seek attention as soon as possible. As with most any health condition, treatment outcome can be greatly improved by early treatment of the injury.

There are many types of treatments for back-related pain. For those of us who would like to avoid taking medication, which only masks the symptoms, there is a leading alternative choice of treatment called chiropractic care. A Doctor of Chiropractor is highly trained in the diagnosis of back conditions. Through careful history, examination, and the aid of imaging such as x-rays, CT (computerized tomography), or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) a Doctor of Chiropractic can often determine the cause of your back pain and begin a course of corrective treatment.

Chiropractors commonly adjust (manipulate) misaligned vertebra (the bones of the spine) to relieve back pain. When the alignment of the vertebrae is improved, the stress on the soft tissue and nerves in the surrounding area is relieved. This allows the natural healing process in each of us to overtake the adverse effects of the misalignment. Continued treatment, good posture, proper rest, and exercise will help the healing process continue. Disc problems have also been successfully treated with manipulation or by specialized chiropractic treatments with flexion-distraction (a mild traction technique that helps to reduce both disc bulges and small disc herniations.) Advances in the chiropractic care of disc cases has given many back pain suffers a desirable alternative to costly back surgery.

Your chiropractor may also utilize physiotherapy such as massage, acupressure, moist heat, ice, or ultrasound, to help facilitate healing and ease your discomfort. You may be advised to avoid certain activities that could hurt your recovery. You may also be advised to do back-strengthening exercises, to help prevent re-injury. (A little known fact is that injured tissue heals first as a glob of fibers that patch the injured area, but over a two-year period of time, with the proper care, strengthening, and stretching exercises, this patch can be organized into tissue that is almost as good as new.)

In addition to helping your body through a physical approach, chiropractors often help their patients further by providing qualified nutritional advice, which can promote healing and result in over-all improved strength of the back and entire body. If you are one of the many whom suffer from back pain, you may want to consider the benefits of modern chiropractic treatment and take the first step towards putting your back pain behind you.

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DISCLAIMER: Articles posted on this site are for informational purposes only. Articles are not intended for self-diagnosis or treatment. Users of this site should consult with their doctors before making any decisions regarding their health care. 

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