Low back pain is the commonest condition I see in Practice. I have helped thousands of patients for over twenty years with low back pain. Over that time my approach has evolved as new methods and techniques have developed that provide better outcomes for patients. (see methods and techniques)
Here are some important facts we should all know about back pain:
- 80% of us have Low Back pain at some time in our life.
- Of those who develop low back pain 65% will have a re-occurrence within 1 year.
- Left untreated low back pain can develop into a chronic condition with recurrent episodes.
- There are many causes of Low Back Pain.
- No two spine are the same.
- No one treatment works for everyone. Crucially, the choice of treatment will determine a successful outcome or not.
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR SYMPTOM RELIEF OR A SOLUTION?
Certain Symptoms can indicate the type of low back pain you have and therefore suggest the treatment most likely to be effective. I say most likely because of individual differences. Treatment should not only match the diagnosis but importantly the patient.
- Axial LBP, the most common type of back pain, is confined to the low back only and does not travel into the buttocks or legs.
- Lumbar radiculopathy (sciatica) is caused be conditions that compress the nerves as the exit from the spine. Pain is commonly more severe in the leg than the back and is only felt on one side of the and can affect the buttock, leg or foot.
- LBP with referred pain, is pain in the lower back that also radiates to the groin, buttock and upper thigh, but rarely below the knee. Patients describe the pain as a dull and achy.
DO ANY OF THESE SOUND LIKE YOUR SYMPTOMS ?
In addition, by determining structural and functional problems a more effective treatment and management program can be implemented. Below are common structural and functional problems:
Structural / Tissue
- Soft Tissue injury: such as muscle strains, joint sprains or disc tears and commonly associated with either a specific injury or a repetitive movement, task or activity. The pain is usually localized and can be severe in nature.
- Lumbar disc herniation: where part of the disc herniates out of the disc and can put direct pressure on the nerve roots of the sciatic nerve (sciatica). As well as back and leg pain, other symptoms such as muscle weakness or wasting, numbness in the leg or foot, or foot drop.
- Degenerative disc disease: Due to excessive forces or injury to the disc they start to degenerate. Although more common as we age, the process can begin quite early in some.
- Osteoarthritis: Due to the breakdown in cartilage in the small joints of the spine, just as occurs in other weight bearing joints like knee and hip joints. Unfortunately, the spinal joints cannot be replaced like the hip and knee can.
- Spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis: Spondylolysis is a defect in the pars interarticularis which can result in a forward slippage of one vertebrae on the one below (spondylolisthesis). There are several types and can affect young athletes as well as the elderly.
- Spinal Stenosis: Where disc material or bony growth reduces the space for the spinal cord with the result of pressure on to the spinal cord. Not only pain can occur but serious loss of body functions including use of the legs, balance, bowel and bladder.
Functional (or rather dysfunctional)
- Poor movement patterns or postures (habits) done repetitively.
- Poor muscle endurance or strength
- Loss of normal motion between spinal vertebral segments
Remember these are textbook classifications, the majority of LBP will include more than one Condition
All Conditions follow a similar progression, although the means of achieving this will be determined by the specific condition and the individual.
- Control pain and the inflammatory process, prevent further injury or progression.
- Restore joint range of motion and soft tissue extensibility
- Improve muscle strength and endurance
- Re-train faulty movement and posture patterns
- Improve general cardiovascular conditioning
- Development of practical, user friendly spinal maintenance program
- Address any lifestyle, psychological, social, workplace issues contributing to problem
- Referral when indicated to appropriate specialist
The Type of LBP, the degree of healing, and your personal uniqueness MUST determine your Treatment
I have helped many people with safe and natural chiropractic care. However, other choices include:
- Ignore it! (Spinal problems may worsen by causing further damage.)
- Rest it! (May prolong the problem through deconditioning of the spine, the opposite of what it needs.)
- Stretch it, Move it! (Without a correct diagnosis runs the risk of further tissue damage.)
- Drug it! (Numbs the body, effective in pain control but does not correct the underlying problem.)
- Remove it! (Surgery, The most serious last resort once other options have been tried.)
- Take Action (Call and book an appointment)
- Find out what’s wrong (Initial Consultation)
- Follow Through (Make a commitment to get it right)