Research studies suggest that back pain will affect as many as 4 out of 5 people in the UK. That is 80% of the British population! This results in 4.5 million days off work a year. So with 80% of adults having a chance of a lower back pain episode at some stage during their life, back pain is pretty much a guaranteed condition.
Pain in your lower back can affect a persons health drastically. It is a leading cause why people seek Chiropractic treatment from a chiropractor in their area. Did you know your local chiropractor can help treat lower back pains and can provide you with some lower back pain relief, spinal exercises and other helpful advice so that you can manage a chronic low back or an acute lower back episode?
Causes of Lower Back Pain
Chiropractors hear it time and time again from patients “As I bent to tie my shoe lace I felt something twinge in my back”, sound familiar.
A sudden severe low back pain can be as a result of repeated daily activities like bending, lifting and twisting. Fatigue of lower back muscles, tendons, ligaments and discs are the main cause of lower back pain. These muscles, ligaments, tendons and discs all work together to control movement of the spine and pelvis. Your chiropractor will question you about everyday things you do to better understand how you may have created an abnormal movement pattern in your body.
Repeated bad movement or posture will eventually tire something in you back and can cause the sudden lower back pain.
Some injuries or accidents from you past could also be leading to a current pain episode in your spine. A chiropractor will question further about any past medical history that could have caused a trauma to your back structure.
Some examples of previous trauma that can lead to low back pain include:
- Motor vehicle accidents,
- Slips and falls,
- Sport injuries,
- Major surgeries and more…
Lower Back Pain Symptoms
Some signs and symptoms of a lower back pain are more than just pain and can spread further than just the back.
If you experience any of the following you may be suffering a lower back pain:
- Band-like ache in the middle of the lower spine,
- Back of leg pain, pins & needles, numbness or weakness,
- Calf pain, pins & needles, numbness or weakness,
- Difficulty going from sitting to standing,
- Difficulty getting out car seat,
- Back/leg pain with slow walking in shopping malls.
These are some common signs and symptoms of someone experiencing a lower back pain episode.
Remember that some organ problems can also mimic lower back pain. Internal organs like kidneys can create referred pain to your back and even DVT clots cause pain. So it is important if you are worried that it isn’t a normal back pain or is a very intense pain that you see your local chiropractor or other health care professional. They will do an assessment to rule out sinister back pain referred from an internal organ which might need emergency care.
The Spinal Disc As A Source OF Pain
Discs in your spine can be a source of pain. This is particularly common in the lumbar spine between the L4-5-S1 inter-vertebral discs. Symptoms of a disc bulge as the source of pain can include local low back ache, but a disc would usually cause sciatic nerve pain in the leg.
Trapped nerve pain coming from your bulging or herniated lumbar spine discs would typically cause pain down the back of your leg, sometimes into the calf or foot. You might also experience pins and needles, numbness and weakness which are other signs of a nerve compression from your lower back discs.
To diagnose a intervertebral disc in your spine as being the source of a lower back pain, a chiropractor would need to assess you with orthopaedic and neurological tests. After these a diagnostic scan may be needed to rule in or out suspicions.
An x-ray will not show a trapped nerve. This is because nerves are a soft tissue, which is not seen on an x-ray film. An x-ray will be best at showing only the hard bone in the spine. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is one of the required scans to confirm a spinal disc bulge causing and trapped nerve.
Is it a Slipped Disc
Slipped disc is a common phrase and term used by many patients and even healthcare professionals. However, slipped disc is the wrong to say as a spinal disc cannot actually ‘slip out’. A disc in the back can herniate or bulge, but not slip.
Chiropractic Treatment for Lower Back Pain
Chiropractors treat lower back pain patients around the world everyday. Lower back pain is one of the most popular reasons for people to seek chiropractic care. Your chiropractor will first diagnose the source of your lower back pain and then provide appropriate treatment techniques for the structure causing all you low back ache.
Your lower back pain treatment could be focused on a spinal joint sprain/strain/tightness or a spinal disc injury. Spinal manipulation is a common treatment technique used by chiropractors for low back pain, but there are other treatment technique types used. You chiropractor will discuss with you before treating you what they would suggest is best for your back pain case. For more low back pain facts you can click the BackCare.org.uk link below.Image Credit: Some rights reserved by Army Medicine
- Palmer KT, Walsh K, et al. Back pain in Britain: comparison of two prevalence surveys at an interval of 10 years BMJ 2000;320:1577-1578.
- Health and Safety Executive – Backs 2005
- BackCare.org.uk – Back Pain facts and figures