Low Back Pain, Its Impact on Your Life, and Chiropractic
Low back pain is common. It is estimated to affect up to 80% of the population at some point in their lives and, worse, it is considered the most expensive condition due to time off work. The pain is often severe, intrusive to normal daily function, and for many, causes anxiety about long term quality of life. The great news is that chronic low back pain (pain every day for over 3 months) is rare. Pain will often subside over a few short weeks and you are back to normal function again – back to playing with the kids, doing household chores, and, yes, back to work.
What of Reoccurrence?
There is always a risk that back pain will reoccur unless you do something about it. Chiropractic is one option that is worth considering. The cause of low back pain and sciatic pain are the same. There has to be an irritation of the nerves that emanate from the spinal segments of your low back. In the case of sciatic pain the sciatic nerve is irritated and pain may travel down the back of the leg. The cause is what is the irritation. In most cases it is due to poor mechanics of the pelvis and lower back where the surrounding tissues (muscle, tendons, and ligaments) become unable to support normal movement and – hey presto – you get inflammation irritating the nerves – que “low back pain”.
Is it Inflammation?
Inflammation is normal – like getting a fever to defeat a virus. Inflammation is a healthy cause of low back pain to alert you something is wrong. The solution is to fix the cause naturally, rather than pharmaceuticals.To naturally reduce inflammation, remove pain, and promote healing we need to correct the dysfunction of the spine. This approach helps reduce pain and start to correct the cause of the nerve irritation for the immediate and long term. My belief is; if you maintain your spinal function you can reduce your risk of low back pain, and gain a higher health potential with proper posture, exercise, and diet. All these factors are considered when you have Chiropractic care with me at The Life Clinic. I have illustrated the process below.
Figure 1. How Does it Happen and How Can Chiropractic Care Help Me.
Back pain is common, the cause is always irritation of the nerves, and it is often very intrusive to your normal daily function. Further, as illustrated above, triggers often cause more than just physical pain. It is normal to feel anxiety, a loss of confidence, and you may wish to avoid situations where your back pain is apparent for all to see. Spinal health is important. Through my post-graduate studies, I have recognised the importance of including psychological goals with physical goals. For example, as I work towards reducing your symptoms I aim to increase your physical goals – getting back to work, increase walking, playing with the kids, sports involvement, working in the garden – so that psychologically you regain trust in your body and know you can do physical activity without the threat of pain. I call these “outcome goals” which may include the reduction of pain - but not only.
Low back pain is the most common human ailment worldwide (source: Gates Foundation). Chiropractic adjustments have been proven to help in short and middle term pain relief. Additionally, Chiropractic care is a team approach to better health. You are asked to participate by attempting the exercises, asking questions, noting changes and triggers, and confirm your understanding by explaining to others what happens when you have appointments at The Life Clinic.
I hope to help you soon.
Dr Matt Short – Chiropractor, P.G. Dip Musculoskeletal Management – Otago