Low back pain is the most common reason for a visit to a Chiropractor with general well-being and activity limitation being leading complaints. It is a frequently occurring and potentially disabling condition that affects approximately 80% of the population at some point in their lives. In Australia in 2014-2015 it was reported that 1 in 6 people experienced low back pain. Considering your lower back is a complex structure with many crucial roles in stabilisation, shock absorption and mobility it is vital that it functions correctly!
In some cases, back pain may occur as a result of an acute injury whether sport, work or life related. Sprains and strains are regular features of a Chiropractor’s day and depending on the severity of injury and compliance to advice, complete recovery is achievable. Symptoms may vary from mild to incapacitating pain, tingling, numbness, referred pain, weakness, stiffness and loss of mobility.
The majority of time, however, low back pain has been occurring for a longer period with multiple painful episodes, possibly resulting from at least one of the following factors:
- Deconditioning of crucial stabilising structures surrounding your lower back
- Degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis
- Muscle tension
- Poor posture
- Poor office ergonomics
- Sleeping habits
Two common areas of the spine which are most susceptible to a loss of function are:
Intervertebral discs are a squishy material found inbetween each of our vertebrae. They are able to compress and stretch which helps our bodies to absorb stresses when we walk, run or jump. If they become damaged they are capable of generating pain and can also cause surrounding muscular spasms, joint mobility issues and nerve irritation. Involvement of the sciatic nerve (sciatica) is the most common spinal nerve to be affected by either direct pressure of a disc bulge or chemical irritation from inflammation.
Facet joints allow our spines to move, to reach down to the floor or up to a cupboard, twist, roll, flex and bend. If these joints become overloaded and irritated, they can also be a source of pain. With a reduction in the amount of movement available at a joint, the immediately surrounding joints have to compensate by moving differently or taking on greater stresses. In turn, these may also become irritated.
The effectiveness of Chiropractic treatment has been widely researched and in recent years, advocated to be a successful method of managing mechanical low back pain. It has been found that a combination of spinal manipulation therapy, massage, traction and exercise prescription can substantially improve the treatment of low back pain. Accordingly, these are some of the methods we will use to reduce painful symptoms and improve your function and mobility.