Low back pain is one of the most common health concerns that send people to seek solutions from chiropractors. People may be suffering from back pain that began abruptly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy. With older adults, back pain can develop over time due to lack of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle. Common pain patterns can also be associated with pregnancy.
For many people, low back pain is short term in nature and will last a few days to a few weeks. However, for others, the pain becomes a challenging condition that lasts for months or years. Those suffering from this chronic back pain seek relief and typically, upon examination, we find issues with the way the spine, muscles and intervertebral discs work together, which causes residual loss of function. Thankfully, regularly scheduled spinal manipulation is generally effective for the treatment of chronic lower back pain. The goal of these types of treatments is to relieve the pain and enable the body to heal itself without surgery or medication.
Common low back problems we treat with chiropractic therapies.
- Lumbar Sprain/Strain
- Lumbar Disc Herniation
- Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
- Lumbar Facet Joint Imbrication
- Spinal Stenosis
- The most common low back problem
- Occurs from a sudden movement, lifting a heavy object or repetitive movements involving bending at the waist
- Seen in “weekend-warriors” who try to accomplish to much at one time
- The pain is usually local to the lower back but it can radiate into the buttocks
- The pain is usually central or across the back and can involve the spinal muscles so the pain can travel up alongside of the spine.
- It is usually the result of a strain of the muscles and excess tension on ligaments and can often times shift or alter spinal joint function leading to longer healing times
Rest and ice are usually the first line of defense here. If the pain persists, chiropractic can be very beneficial to help correct any underlying spinal joint and muscular dysfunction and/or physical therapy is another option which can help overcome this problem.
- More serious than a sprain/strain of the low back
- Pain is usually constant and nagging of moderate to severe intensity
- This pain is radicular which means it radiates into the leg
- The typical pain pattern is one sided and radiates from the lower back into the gluteal area, back of thigh, into calf and sometimes the ankle and foot. Sciatica is the common name given to this particular pain pattern
- The pain is worse with sitting and relieved by laying down, walking or standing
- The leg can feel tired, like you’re dragging it around
- The issue is the disc is between your vertebrae is pushing or compressing the spinal nerve root and this is causing the pain
Typical treatment is pain and anti-inflammatory medication, rest, ice and usually time out of work. Physical therapy is common recommended.
Specific lower back pain chiropractic adjustments to the lumbar spine work very well in normalizing the disc by alignment of the vertebrae above and below the area so proper healing can take place. Laser therapy is also a nice adjunct to chiropractic care to facilitate healing of the underlying tissues. Recovery time can vary but the typical case can be solved in 3-6 months.
- Probably the least mentioned and one of the more common problems
- 25% of all low back pain problems can be attributed to the SI Joint
- The sacroiliac joint sits below the lumbar spine and connects the sacrum to the pelvis
- The pain is usually one sided adjacent to the sacrum but it can occur on both sides
- The pain commonly radiates central and towards the hip
- The pain can also radiate into the buttock and travel as far down as the mid-hamstring
- Problems like this can occur if you step off a curb suddenly, miss a step or catch-yourself off-guard during a fall but never fall to the ground
- Pain can be uncomfortable when trying to sleep due to pressure on the joint itself
- Leg may feel like it wants to give way when walking
- Supportive treatment options include rest, ice, and/or moist heat applied directly to the area
Chiropractic adjustments are the best option for this type of problem. Recovery time is usually 2-4 weeks with chiropractic care. People who have not had success with lumbar spine surgery may have had an SI joint problem that was overlooked.
- Back pain is local and pin-point that is almost always central and just off to one side
- The pain is described as constant and nagging and is typically about the size of a dollar coin
- This issue usually occurs when we are forced to move in an awkward position such as working under a sink where your back may be in extension for a period of time or when extending your back from a bent over position such as getting a grocery bag out of the trunk of your car
- This issue can also occur as a direct result of a trauma such as slipping on ice
Chiropractic adjustments are the best option here as chiropractors understand the subtle detail of the spinal joints and can make the most dramatic improvements in these cases. Recovery time is usually 2-4 weeks with chiropractic care.
- This is narrowing of the spinal canal that affects the spinal nerve roots causing pain
- Usually seen in patients over 50 years old with degenerative disc disease
- Can also be due to an injury or can occur in people born with a narrow spinal canal
- The symptoms can mimic disc herniation with radiating pain from the lower back into the lower extremity and can be given the term sciatica
- Diagnosis is usually made from x-rays or MRI where the spinal canal can be visualized
- Many healthcare providers claim to treat spinal stenosis but this is often in the form of pain medication and anti-inflammatories which only offers a temporary solution to the problem; more research is needed on the value of these treatments
Chiropractors handle spinal stenosis at the root of the problem – the spine. Chiropractors have many treatment options for elderly patients who suffer from this.
We treat spinal stenosis with gentle flexion-distraction technique which works excellent for most spinal stenosis cases and is considered a soft-gentle form of spinal manipulation. We also like to pair this with low level laser treatment as an adjunct which dramatically advances positive outcomes
Experiencing back pain? Dr. Picard can help.