Back pain is an extremely common medical ailment, affecting eight of 10 people during their lifetimes. So it goes without saying that it is the most common reason that patients come to see our chiropractors at Plato Chiropractic Health Clinics.
A few interesting facts about back pain:
- Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
- Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
- One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.
- Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.
- Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
Lower back pain can be sharp, stabbing, tingling, or burning. Patients also characterize it as a dull, lingering ache that causes stiffness. The pain or numbness may travel down the legs, as well. Lower back pain can also make it difficult to stand upright, since the lower back supports much of your body's weight.
Acute lower back pain is often caused by sudden injury. It can also be associated with a host of activities, such as lifting improperly at home, excessively strenuous housework or yardwork, repetitive bending, or movements related to a specific occupation.
Chronic lower back pain may be a result of repetitive stress or re-injuring an area repeatedly over a period of time.
Lower back pain may also be a result of an overly sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for extended periods of time can cause stress to your joints and ligaments, including the spinal and pelvic joints. Long-term stress on the joints and muscles in your lower back may cause pain as well. Weak core muscles cause poor posture, which also can contribute to lower back pain.
Other causes of lower back pain include:
- A ruptured or herniated disk
- Narrowing of the spinal canal, also called spinal stenosis
- Osteoporosis, which can cause compression fractures to the spine
- Scoliosis or other curvature of the spine, often found in children and teens
- Any other pathology of the spine
Chiropractic Treatment for Lower Back Pain
At Plato Chiropractic Health Clinics, we help patients of all ages with lower back pain. Children, athletes, laborers, office workers, retirees and many more people are treated in our offices everyday.
Chiropractors use a variety of methods to treat lower back pain. A common treatment for lower back pain is a spinal manipulation or an adjustment. A chiropractic adjustment restores spine and nervous system function to reduce pain and help with healing. In several studies, patients who sought chiropractic care for lower back pain improved more and were far more satisfied with their chiropractic care after one month, than those who had sought standard medical care.
After alleviating pressure and inflammation through treatment, our chiropractors work with you to strengthen the surrounding muscles in order to prevent problems from becoming chronic. Our staff and doctors may also advise you on exercises and stretches to reduce or relieve lower back pain.
Lower Back Pain exercises and advice
- Make sure you have an ergonomic workstation to reduce strain on the spine and encourage good posture. Our chiropractors can advise you on how to adjust your workstation to benefit your posture.
- If you are experiencing painful inflammation, icing for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off relieves soreness.
- When your back hurts, the last thing you want to do is move. But staying still can actually be worse for your health, especially if your occupation involves sitting still for long periods of time. Frequent stretching and core-strengthening exercises can help you avoid worsening lower back pain.
- If you are constantly on the move at work, make sure you're using proper lifting techniques and avoid movements that put excess pressure or strain on the spine. Warm up and stretch before strenuous activities.
- Hydration and a healthy diet also are important. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and sleep on a supportive mattress and pillow to minimize spinal stress.
- Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
- Remain active—under the supervision of your doctor of chiropractic.
- Avoid prolonged bed rest.
- Warm up or stretch before exercising or physical activities, such as gardening.
- Maintain proper posture.
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
- Lift with your knees, keep the object close to your body, and do not twist when lifting.
- Quit smoking. Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues.