Background: If you're suffering from lower back pain you're not alone, as more than 80% of Americans will at some time in their life contend with the disabling confines of this condition. What’s more, according to the Global Burden of Disease, 2010, low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. It’s an ailment with broad societal implications: experts claim the medical care and lost productivity costs for this condition in the US alone amount to more than $50 billion annually.
Given the prevalence and high socioeconomic impact of low back pain, it’s concerning that the latest research shows most lower back problems which cause low back pain do not fully resolve without extensive treatment and proper rehabilitation, contrary to previous beliefs. It’s no wonder that much of the training in chiropractic colleges is specifically aimed at identifying and successfully treating and managing lower back conditions.
Signs or Symptoms: Severe or aching pain in the lower back that begins after activity, sudden movement, or lifting a heavy object. These lower back pain symptoms can include the following: difficulty moving that can be severe enough to prevent walking or standing, pain that also moves around to the groin, buttock or upper thigh, but rarely travels below the knee, pain that tends to be achy and dull, muscle spasms, which can be severe and local soreness upon touch.
What Causes Back Pain? The back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, discs, ligaments, muscles, spinal nerves and receptors. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of which can lead to back pain. While sports injuries or accidents can cause back pain, sometimes the simplest of movements—for example, picking up a penny from the floor— can have painful results.
Less than optimal mechanics within these tissues will easily cause dysfunction and inflammation to arise. Over time, degeneration sets in as does limited range of motion and pain. In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or exacerbate back pain. In addition, low back pain can directly result from disease of the internal organs, such as kidney stones, kidney infections, IBS and vascular disease to name a few.
Standard Treatment: Pain medication, muscle relaxers, physical therapy and surgery
Applied Kinesiology Approach: The first step in treating low back pain is to determine what is causing the pain. Once the causes and contributing factors are identified, a successful treatment plan can be structured to eliminate pain and achieve the goals of the patient.
Whether from an acute injury or chronic neglect, spinal components are almost always structurally misaligned and biomechanically faulty. The vertebrae and their supporting structures have lost their optimal positions; their movements are occurring in an inappropriate and stressful manner. The only effective and lasting way to correct the structural misalignment and improper biomechanics is to realign the spinal segments and restore normalize motion.
This is the job of the chiropractic adjustment. In addition to restoring positioning and motion, the spinal adjustment also produces a reflexive relief of pain and reduction in muscle spasm. This is due to the high number of mechanoreceptors in the joints of the vertebrae which are stimulated through the chiropractic adjustment. Simply put, proper alignment equals less pain.
Other supportive therapies are also utilized to normalize these receptors. The different therapies are based upon the individual’s nervous system as all patients are not injured or corrected in an identical manner. Whereas one patients back pain is from the TMD of the jaw another may be from an altered functioning ankle, knee or hip. Nutritional support may also be indicated to reduce damaging inflammation and provide the basic support for optimal function.