Lower back injuries and pain is something which has become quite common. Everyone has either had lower back problems or knows someone who has. There are a number of causes of lower back injuries and some are fairly obvious while others are more complex. A chiropractors main goal is eliminating your lower back pain in the least invasive way possible. Surgery and heavy duty opiates are occasionally called for and they do have their place.....but for a majority of lower back issues, a more holistic and less dangerous treatment plan will stop lower back pain quicker and safer. As a chiropractor I am trained to take a conservative and holistic approach in treating your back pain where my main focus is stopping your pain without further damaging your back.
Case Study of Back Surgery Backfiring
This is an example reported by ABC News, and originally seen in the journal Spine, in which researchers reviewed records from 1,450 patients in the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation database who had diagnoses of disc degeneration, disc herniation , a nerve condition that causes tingling and weakness of the limbs. Half of the patients had surgery to fuse two or more vertebrae in hopes of curing low back pain. The other half had no surgery, even though they had comparable
After two years, just 26 percent of those who had surgery returned to work. That’s compared to 67 percent of patients who didn’t have surgery. In what might be the most troubling study finding, researchers determined that there was a 41 percent increase in the use of painkillers, specifically opiates, in those who had surgery. The study provides clear evidence that for many patients, fusion surgeries designed to alleviate pain from degenerating discs don’t work, says the study’s lead author Dr. Trang Nguyen, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.
Lower Back Pain Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of low back pain may include:
• Tenderness, pain, and stiffness in the lower back
• Pain that spreads into the buttocks or legs
• Having a hard time standing up or standing in one position for a long time
• Discomfort while sitting
• Weakness and tired legs while walking
Problems may range from simple strains that heal on their own to chronic, ongoing pain that will only
get better with treatment. Quite frequently this will develop slowly over time with one problem leading
As An Example
Most patients usually go through some variation of the following process: Through the course of life, they will do big or small things to hurt their lower back. Scar tissue is laid down as muscles heal from injuries or repeated strains, which make the muscles stiffer. Stiffer muscles limit motion in the joints. Over time, limited joint motion leads to wear and tear (degeneration) in the discs and thickening of the bones. As the disc wears, it may bulge out. In time, this bulge may irritate or compress a spinal nerve. Treatment for the lower back pain will vary according to what part of the joint is affected and to what degree. Analgesics help reduce the pain temporarily, but typically do not address the underlying cause.
In other words, they may be appropriate to get you through a simple muscle strain that will heal on its own. At the other end of the spectrum, severe trauma or damage to the structure of the spine may require surgery. However, most treatment lies between these two extremes.
For problems "between the extremes," chiropractic treatment is a great option. If poor joint motion helped the problem develop, good joint motion will help it to heal. Chiropractic treatment focuses on reducing swelling in the joint, stretching tight muscles, strengthening weak muscles, and reestablishing good joint motion thru adjustments. Even with degeneration or other structural changes, good joint motion frequently stops the pain and helps you make the best of what you have left.
Recommendations for keeping one’s back healthy
Following any period of prolonged inactivity, a regimen of low-impact exercises is advised. Speed
walking, swimming, or stationary bike riding 30 minutes daily can increase muscle strength and
flexibility. Yoga also can help stretch and strengthen muscles and improve posture. Consult a physician
for a list of low-impact, age-appropriate exercises that are specifically targeted to strengthening lower
back and abdominal muscles.
• Always stretch before exercise or other strenuous physical activity.
• Don’t slouch when standing or sitting. The lower back can support a person’s weight most
easily when the curvature is reduced. When standing, keep your weight balanced on your feet.
• At home or work, make sure work surfaces are at a comfortable height.
• Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep
shoulders back. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office or gently
stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of the
back can provide some lumbar support. During prolonged periods of sitting, elevate feet on a
low stool or a stack of books.
• Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
• Sleeping on one’s side with the knees drawn up in a fetal position can help open up the joints in
the spine and relieve pressure by reducing the curvature of the spine. Always sleep on a firm
• Don’t try to lift objects that are too heavy. Lift from the knees, pull the stomach muscles in, and
keep the head down and in line with a straight back. When lifting, keep objects close to the
body. Do not twist when lifting.
• Maintain proper nutrition and diet to reduce and prevent excessive weight gain, especially
weight around the waistline that taxes lower back muscles. A diet with sufficient daily intake of
calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D helps to promote new bone growth.
• Quit smoking. Smoking reduces blood flow to the lower spine, which can contribute to spinal
disc degeneration. Smoking also increases the risk of osteoporosis and impedes healing.