Low Back Pain & Chiropractic Care
John spends the weekend helping a friend move and wakes up Monday morning with stiffness and pain in his lower back. His discomfort and limited range of motion cause him to call in sick and miss a day of work. Later in the day, he decides to see his doctor.
People all over the country are experiencing the same thing. Experts estimate that 60-80% of adults in the United States will suffer from often-debilitating lower back pain. That’s around 31 million people. It’s one of the most common reasons adults cite for missing work and visiting their doctors.
Why is there such an epidemic of back pain? In some cases, conditions like scoliosis, or a car accident is the cause of lower back pain. But in many cases Americans simply aren’t taking proper care of their backs.
Lower back pain can be acute, as in John’s case. Or it can be chronic. Whether your pain is sudden or ongoing, various remedies are available. Let’s go over the causes, prevention, and care necessary for lower back pain and talk about how your chiropractor can help.
Causes of Acute Lower Back Pain
Back pain that comes on suddenly is usually caused by an obvious injury or due to repetitive overuse. This low back pain could be as mild as a strain or as serious as a herniated or degenerated disc.
Causes of Chronic Lower Back Pain
Sally has a sedentary lifestyle. She sits at a desk all day for work and doesn’t exercise. Sitting for long periods of time, poor posture, and being overweight all contribute to chronic lower back issues. The lower back supports most of the weight of the body, but Sally is not taking care of hers. Chronic back pain can also be caused by ongoing medical conditions that may have started out as an injury, such as a disc tear, herniated disc, or spinal stenosis. All of these conditions can be improved with the correct type of chiropractic care and home care recommendations.
Sciatica is a condition caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. This type of lower back pain extends down the back of the leg and is described by sufferers as sharp, shooting, and electric sensations sometimes acompanied by numbness. It is a symptom of something else going on with your back, not a disease process in itself. And it is not uncommon in the later stages of pregnancy when the baby’s head is larger and lower in the pelvis, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.
A healthy back starts with a healthy lifestyle. Both John and Sally, along with the majority of Americans with lower back pain, could do more to prevent the condition. Here are some tips:
– Support overall body health with nutrition that optimizes your immune system, builds strong bones, and allows for proper muscle development.
– Exercise regularly. Strengthening the abdominal and back muscles that support the spine will help protect your lower back from misalignment. Yoga and Pilates both work to elongate the spine, helping to counteract compression. Regular exercise along with proper nutrition will also help you maintain a healthy weight. But be careful to perform exercises properly so you don’t cause or exacerbate back problems.
– Don’t sit for long periods of time. If you have a desk job at work, take a few minutes every half hour to walk around and stretch a little. If you watch a lot of television, get up during the commercials.
– Create a back-friendly work environment. Choose a supportive chair if you work at a desk. Wear proper protective gear if you do a lot of lifting. Ask your employer if there is space for simple workout equipment employees can use during breaks.
– Get back injuries evaluated and cared for immediately. If you get in a car accident, see your doctor even if you feel fine.
– See below to learn how regular chiropractic care can prevent lower back pain.
If you already suffer from lower back pain, there are many natural and medical treatment options to bring you some relief, such as:
– Take natural anti-inflammatories for pain and swelling. Typically people take drugs like ibuprofen. However natural remedies like turmeric, fish oil or bromelain offer the same benefits without all the potential side effects.
– Carefully follow your health care practitioner’s instructions for treatment of injuries. This may include minor first aid like hot or cold compresses, and/or laying on a flat supportive surface while avoiding lifting and bending.
– In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary.
– See below to learn how chiropractic care can bring relief of lower back pain.
How can your chiropractor can help?
Chiropractic care can both prevent and treat acute and chronic lower back pain. Regular chiropractic adjustments will help keep your spine in alignment and fix small problems caused by a suboptimal lifestyle. Your chiropractor can make adjustments following an accident or injury to minimize or eliminate resulting damage. He or she can also help you design an ergonomically friendly work space, recommend diet and exercise choices specific to your condition, and guide you in making other lifestyle choices for overall support the health of you and your family.
Ithaca Family Chiropractic offers a free consultation, and we can help you figure out causes and treatment options for your lower back pain. So contact us today to schedule your appointment.
About the author:
Dr. Brian Bartholomew owns and operates Ithaca Family Chiropractic in Ithaca, Ny. His expertise is in pediatric care and structural corrective chiropractic care for all ages.
Dr. Bartholomew is available for outside speaking for businesses, churches, groups, athletic teams, rotaries, health food stores and anyone who wants to take charge of their health naturally!