Lower Back problems can be extremely painful, and interfere with most aspects of your daily life, from simple things like turning over in bed, bending over to dress yourself, sitting at your computer or couch, to more stressful physical activities like exercising. This article will help you understand what may have caused the pain, how to diagnose the problem, as well as your treatment options and how to get lower back pain relief.
There are the obvious traumatic causes of lower back pain like motor vehicle accidents and falls which cause a violent movement that often bends your spine into an abnormal position. This spinal trauma creates spinal joint inflammation and muscle spasm, and sometimes intervertebral disc compression can lead to a bulging disc (slipped disc) which gives you neurological symptoms like pain, burning, numbness or weakness down the legs/feet. This type of traumatic injury might only cause pain in your lower back, but when your symptoms radiate down your legs/feet as well, Sciatica is the term which describes this type of pinched nerve injury, and is one of the main conditions treated by a Chiropractor.
By far the most common cause of lower back pain visits to a Chiropractor is from the stress and strain of daily life. The factors leading to this type of pain mainly include the following:
There is a common misconception that every ache or pain in the body is muscular in origin. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The soft tissues could definitley be involved in your problem (muscles, tendons or ligaments), but there are other tissues in the lower back which could easily be the source of your pain, like the lumbar spinal joints, sacroiliac (pelvic) joints, intevertebral discs and spinal/pelvic nerves.
As a general rule of thumb, soft tissue problems in the lower back cause short term pain, hours to days. When a problem has been going on for weeks, months or years it’s generaly spinal or pelvic in origin. Quite simply, muscles don’t usually cause pain for prolonged periods of time, but spinal and pelvic problems nearly always do. Muscular lower back problems don’t directly cause internal lumbar spinal or pelvic problems, but if you have a spinal or pelvic problem you will almost certainly have an associalted muscle spasm, your body’s natural muscular response to the lower back condition.
When lower back pain has been around for weeks or longer, be sure to to shift your focus away from the muscles and get your spine and/or pelvis assessed by a Chiropractor or Neurosurgeon, the spinal focussed practitioners.
There are 4 pillars to making the correct lower back pain diagnosis:
There are lots of different soft tissue (muscle) practitioners in health care, but not many spinal focused practitioners. If your muscular diagnosis is not responding well to treatment, or If your diagnosis is uncertain and needs an X-ray or MRI scan to further understand your lower back pain, make sure you get help from a Chiropractor and/or Neurosurgeon.
The treatment you receive for your lower back pain should be 100% dependant on the diagnosis that was made. There are many treatments worldwide for lower back pain, but the procedures mentioned below are the most used, have the highest success rate, and are backed by the most science.
As mentioned in the diagnosis section above, due to the nature of spinal conditions almost always causing soft tissue spasm around the problem area, spinal focussed practitioners will often perform one or more of the above mentioned soft tissue procedures in conjunction with the lumbar spinal or pelvic treatment. However, if the spinal problem is successfully treated, the body would have no need to hold those surrounding muscles in spasm, and the soft tissues will almost always settle down on their own, without any direct treatment.