Do You Have Back Pain?
Why Do So Many of Us Suffer from Back Pain?
If you’ve ever been told to lift with your legs and not with your back when picking up something heavy, there’s a good reason. Eight out of 10 people will have some kind of back pain and Americans spend at least $50 billion a year on back pain relief. It’s the leading cause of disability in Americans under age 45.
Back pain may be one of the most universal reasons people seek chiropractic help. In 2010, low back pain was considered the third most common ailment, with only heart disease and pulmonary disease ranking higher. It is estimated that nearly 32 million Americans are experience back pain severe enough as to consult a health professional or use drugs to relieve pain or reduce inflammation.
Backache is the leading cause of worker absenteeism, costing businesses $30 billion annually in lost time and medical benefit.
It’s easy to see the purpose of the lumbar joints because they face each other like two hands touching. This means the joints can move like two hands sliding forward and back on each other.
This means that lumbar facets are primarily for flexion and extension of the spine. Some rotation of the lumbar spine is possible, but only with bending the spine forward, and much of that movement comes from the lumbar spine disc and its ability to twist. The disc and joints need balance and have specific motions they are designed to do and the joints have unique orientations and shapes that help them support your structure.
There are many different conditions that can result in low back pain, including: sprained ligaments, strained muscles, ruptured disks, trigger points, arthritis, obesity, psychological stress and inflamed joints, sports injuries or accidents, and sometimes even the simplest movements, like tying shoe laces, can have painful results. Back pain can limit the range of activities that might be enjoyed and prevent engaging in fun activities with friends and family. Temporary solutions such as heating pads and over-the-counter analgesics might give relief for awhile, but do not treat the underlying problem of back pain.
What Kind of Back Pain Can Be Treated?
There are several types of back pain that can be helped by chiropractic care, but the most common types are acute low-back pain and chronic low-back pain.
Acute Lower Back Pain
Acute Pain means that the injury occurred less than 72 hours. This could be from a traumatic injury such as a fall, a car accident or simply bending to pick up something up. It is important to listen to your body. The sooner you can have the area evaluated the better. A recent research study showed chiropractic to be superior to anti-inflammatory medications and placebo. In addition to spinal manipulation, we recommend using cold packs for 15 minutes out of an hour to help control pain and inflammation during the acute phase. Remember the pneumonic RICE – R = rest, I = ice, C = compress & E = elevate. Though you may not be able elevate your lower back, you can do the RIC. This process can be applied to any acute injury for the first 72 hours.
Chronic Lower Back Pain
Chronic pain is described as a pain with an onset over 3 months. As pointed out with the statistics above, it is very common to have back pain, however it is NEVER normal. Common does not equal Normal. At Living Well, we take pride in digging to uncover the underlying cause of back pain. Once the source of the pain has been revealed, a course of treatment to correct the problem can be prescribed. Research has shown that taking Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) worked as well as Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), without the harmful side effects of the medications if taken long-term. Fish oils, along with chiropractic care, can be a highly effective, natural solution to those suffering with chronic back conditions.
Symptoms of Back Problems
Symptoms of back problems can manifest very differently from person to person. Some of the more common presentations are
- Muscle spasm
- Pain in the back
- Pain in the buttock
- Sensitivity of spine to touch and pressure
- Pain after prolonged inactivity
- Pain that gets worse and lasts longer
- Numbness or tingling into the legs or feet
- Weakness in the legs
What Causes of Back Pain?
There are several possible conditions that can cause back pain and can get more serious if left untreated. Dr. Brian is an expert in diagnosing the cause and determining the proper treatment for your particular back pain. Common conditions that create back pain include:
Vertebral subluxation occurs when there is a disruption, misalignment or abnormal separation in the position of the neighboring vertebrae, resulting in pressure to the spinal cord or spinal nerves. Because of the relationship between the spinal column, the spinal cord, and the spinal nerves, vertebral subluxations have the potential to impair proper nerve function. Over time, this can develop into debilitating back pain and inflammation. In the lumbar spine, these usually occur at the transition between the lower spine and the sacrum.
Dr. Brian has been helping patients overcome back pain since 2001. At Living Well, through highly-skilled, gentle adjustments of vertebrae, physical medicine techniques and spinal decompression treatments, our patients are able to get back to work, back to living and reduce or eliminate the need of painkillers. If you are suffering with back pain, whether acute or chronic, talk with Dr. Brian to see if Chiropractic care is right for you.
Bulging, Herniated or Degenerative Disc
A bulging or herniated disc does not always mean that you are going to suffer from low back pain. But some people find disc issues to be a source of intense and excruciating pain that frequently radiates to other parts of the body. Disc problems usually occur over a long period, and due to a lack of direct blood flow can take months or years to heal. The longer the disc is compromised, the more likely there is to be breaking down, or degeneration of the disc itself. Further deterioration of the spine can often be avoided through regular Chiropractic care. Spinal Decompression Therapy may also be of benefit
Sprains and Strains
This common source of back pain happens to the type of people who are generally inactive during the week, but get on high-impact activities around the weekend and pushing themselves too much. Before the new week begins, they find themselves immobile and lying on their back and finding the nearest chiropractor. Even over-doing yoga or sitting-meditation can over-stretch the muscles or ligaments of the low back and lead to small tears in the tissues, resulting in swollen and painful back.
Regular stress aggravates blood pressure and causes heart rates to rise, floods the body with stress hormones and tightens muscles. When you are constantly stressed, the chronic tension causes your muscles, including your lower back, to become sore, weak and loaded with trigger points. At Living Well, we can recommend other treatment modalities to compliment your spinal adjustments. Based on his findings, Dr. Brian may prescribe massage therapy, guide you nutritionally and/or suggest relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing, as well regular exercises to help you manage stress as it is often times unavoidable.
What to Expect from Seeing Dr. Brian
Medical History Evaluation – Dr. Brian will conduct a complete physical exam and medical history to determine the source of your back pain or to discover the source of your pain.
Individualized Treatment Plan – After a thorough assessment of your back pain condition and identifying the source of your pain, Dr. Brian will put together a comprehensive treatment plan that is designed to address your specific condition and requirements for healing and pain relief.
The goals of Dr. Brian’s healthcare plans include the restoration of optimal function and prevention of further injury in addition to back pain relief. If you are suffering from back pain or have any further questions, contact our us today to schedule a consultation (206) 842-4929. Or, if you are ready, make an appointment.
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