Lower back pain is one of the most common reason people seek chiropractic treatment. it is the 2nd most common reason people miss work, and Americans spend $50 billion a year on treatment of back pain. Although back pain can occur at any age the 35-55 year old population is most effected.
Pain in the lower back may be linked to the vertabra, discs, ligaments, low back muscles, pelvic organs or skin around the back. Upper back pain is usually associated with muscular or ligamentous injury, rib lesions ,and disorders of the gall bladder or stomach. Episodes of low back pain may be due to strains(muscular), slipped discs, arthritis, osteoporosis, or curvature of the spine.
Although these are common risk factors there are usually several different reasons why your back may be hurting.
Sedentary lifestyle-the muscles that support the spine and lower back need activity to stay strong. If you don’t exercise, have a job that requires a lot of sitting, or come home from work and sit on the couch all night, these muscles will weaken over time. This causes them to be more susceptible to injury.
Obesity-every extra pound of weight on your body puts 3 times the stress on your spine. If you have a large stomach, you put stress on the back muscles,tendons and ligaments.
Pregnancy-the extra weight gain from pregnancy along with the protruding abdomen put stress on the load bearing muscles and joints of the back , pelvis and hips as obesity does.
Age-as we age our discs degenerate, the muscles weaken and the joints lose cartilage that protects them.
Occupation-you don’t have to be a laborer to experience job related back pain. Normally, blood flows through the muscles of your neck and back with very little resistance. However, when you are emotionally stressed, certain muscles may tense up and squeeze these blood vessels. Like a garden hose with a kink in it, the flow of blood can get constricted or even cut off by these tense muscles. When your neck and back are not getting their proper blood supply, they let you know it with pain.
Diagnosing back pain: A complete medical history and exam is the first step the Doctors at Merrick chiropractic will perform to understand why you are having the pain. We will ask about your job, activities, medications you may be taking, and past accidents that may contribute to your pain. Sometimes we may require X-Rays or an MRI to better diagnose your back pain.
After a diagnosis we will begin treatment. We will first treat to remove your pain and make you comfortable. This may involve ultrasound, hot packs ,EMS, and spinal manipulation. Once the pain starts to subside we will perform a functional evaluation and than prescribe the exercise you need based on the results. We will also address the causes of your low back pain so we can make recommendations to prevent future episodes of low back pain. This may involve weight loss, education on proper lifting and posture, and other lifestyle changes. Our office offers low back school,which is a program designed to teach you proper techniques to apply daily that will prevent future injury.
Treatment of lower back pain: If you suffer an injury to your low back , the first thing to do is apply ice to the area. If you don’t have access to an ice pack use a bag of frozen vegetables. Wrap the cold pack in a wet towel to help transmit the cold faster. Do not put ice on skin directly! After 15 minutes remove the ice and re apply in another 45 minutes. Do this several times over the next few hours. Applying ice quickly to a fresh injury will keep swelling to a minimum.
Maintain mobility-do not lay in bed after the injury. Inactivity will promote swelling and stiffness ,making it more difficult to get around . Try changing positions every 15 minutes. Walk around, maintain normal activity to decrease swelling. Avoid bending, lifting, twisting excessively but try to keep fluid motion in the back. Call the Doctors at the Merrick chiropractic office to schedule an appointment to diagnose your condition and get you on the path to pain relief.