Lower Back Pain – Chiropractic Can Help
How Can Back Pain Affect You?
If you never have back pain in your life you are lucky because back pain affects about 80 per cent of adults at some time. The effects can have a major impact on quality of life both physically and financially as it is the most common reason for time off work.
It does not discriminate as both men and women can be affected. The pain might be dull with a constant ache but it can also result in a sudden sharp sensation that renders the sufferer unable to cope. Often there is loss of sleep and pain medication may not be effective.
Sometimes the pain comes on gradually or it can strike suddenly and often there is no obvious reason. Most low back pain is acute, or short term, and lasts a few days to a few weeks. It tends to resolve on its own with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. The majority of acute pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back (the spine, muscle, intervertebral discs, and nerves) fit together and move.
What is the Back or Spine?
The spine is a series of 33 interlocking bones forming an ‘S’ shaped curve which is designed to act like a coiled spring during walking. Between each segment are discs which are water filled sacs that act as shock absorbers. The spinal cord runs the length of the spine to carry electrical messages between the spinal nerves and the brain. The brain and spinal cord are contained in a bag (the dura or meninges) of fluid known as the cerebrospinal fluid and between each bone the spinal nerves emerge on either side to control body movement. These nerves are sometimes involved in back pain. The bones are supported by bands of ligaments and the tendons attach the muscles to the bones. The lower area of the back is called the lumbar spine and is composed of five bones that are known as L1-L5. Most low back pain is around the L5 area.
Causes of LBP and Risk Factors
Pain in the lower back is rarely related to serious underlying medical conditions. Most back pain is mechanical, meaning there is a change in the working parts. The likelihood of pain is commonly associated with degenerative changes in the joints, discs and bones of the spine, especially in older people. This can result in various conditions that can sometimes respond well to chiropractic management.
There are recognised risk factors associated with this type of pain. Lifestyle factors such as poor posture, inactivity and poor lifestyle choices increase the risk for many health-related problems, including back pain. The first attack (deleted) is often between the ages of 30 and 50 and as poor fitness is also a risk factor it may be that there is a relationship between age and fitness. This video is an interview with Dr. Joan Vernikos who was a scientist with NASA and who studied the health effects of prolonged sitting on astronauts and how this also adversely affects people with sedentary lifestyles.
Chiropractic Management of Lower Back Pain
Chiropractors are trained to treat this type of pain. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines dated November 2016 for Low Back Pain and Sciatica in over 16s: Assessment and Management states:
‘Consider manual therapy (spinal manipulation, mobilisation or soft tissue techniques such as massage) for managing low back pain with or without sciatica, but only as part of a treatment package including exercise, with or without psychological therapy.’
Chiropractic adjustments work by helping to place your body in the proper position that then allows the body to heal itself. One of the key focuses of chiropractic care is realigning the spine and thereby reducing pressure placed on sensitive nerves, which can contribute to dysfunction.
Chiropractic can be an effective method of overcoming pain without the use of drugs or surgery. Help and support can be offered to patients on how to get the best out of their backs. For more information or advice please give us a call on 023 80273545.