Understanding Low Back Pain

As a chiropractor, I see patients with a variety of conditions and injuries, with low back pain being at the top of the list. There can be many reasons a person suffers from low back pain. Here is my list of top 5 causes of low back pain:

1. Misalignment- the simplest cause of low back as a result of one or more of the spinal bones being misaligned resulting in poor joint mechanics and loss of motion
2. Sacroiliac Dysfunction- the sacroiliac joint is where the pelvic bone meets the tailbone, resulting in a joint that allows for movement in the spine and pelvis, specifically bending forward and walking. Fixations in this joint result in pain in the belt line area and upper buttocks.
3. Sprain/Strain- the result of an injury where the muscles and ligaments of the lower spine and pelvic area are injured causing inflammation and pain in the lower back.
4. Bulging disc- a more complex problem that involves the cartilage disc in the low back joint to shift into the joint space, resulting in a compromise of a nerve root. 
5. Herniated/Extruded disc- a very complex problem, generally the result of a trauma injury, where the gel-like inside of the disc permeates the outer cartilage ring of the disc as a result of a tear in the disc.

My first job as your doctor is to determine the underlying cause of your pain. Examining joint movement, posture, muscle strength and a variety of other components allows me to really narrow in on the cause of low back pain. In my opinion, the vast majority of people suffering from low back pain receive inappropriate treatment because the examination process wasn’t detailed enough to uncover all of the underlying components of the dysfunction. All things considered, it’s rarely just a misalignment or just a bulging disc, rather, a combination of multiple factors. As a result, treatment of low back pain is multifactorial, meaning we must treat all of the issues, whether they be soft tissue, disc or joint related. 

Research is showing us that the days of lying in bed for rest or stretching or simply getting adjusted do not provide the highest outcomes for low back pain patients. Instead, it shows that combining movement, exercises, stretching and chiropractic adjustments achieve the highest outcomes in the shortest amount of time.

I’ll continue with more insight into low back pain in my next post.

Dr. Michael Powell

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