David loves to push life to the limit and doesn’t have time to stop for minor soreness of the lower back area, but these episodes seem to be happening more often and lasting longer, not to mention the pain is greater now. Truth is 80 % of people suffer lower back pain sometime in their life. It could happen from a slip and fall injury, over exertion during an activity at work or sports, a gradual weakness resulting from posture issues at home or at work, or school for that matter.
As the director of Mabuhay Chiropractic Clinics in the Philippines, it is a daily occurrence to see someone walk into one of our clinics with these complaints. We find that the pain comes from ‘pain sensitive fibers’ that are activated by pressure and inflammation of the tissues in the affected area. This could be tissues around the joints in the lumbar spine or the pelvis, the sacroiliac joints. Medical doctors are frustrated by these conditions because their standard tests do not show the soft tissue aspects causing the pain.
The tissues involved determine the severity of the condition and how long the body will need to heal and get back to normal. Each has particular characteristics worth knowing.
- Muscles can be strained, overused and when sore have a dull achy like pain that covers the area of the muscles involved. These are mostly self-limiting and no specialized care is required, just give nature time to rest, heal and strengthen.
- Ligaments are elastic and when stretched or sprained, become inflamed and cause sharp disabling pain when there is weight or leverage placed on that ligament. These can heal well over a 6 – 8 week period with immediate and ongoing daily use of ice, bracing and rest. Unfortunately, few people do that properly so the ligament heals poorly, leaving weakness that results in joint instability with returning episodes.
- Joints become painful and arthritic when the ligament instability described above persists. The inflammation causes joint pressure that is painful and the cartilage can erode which also is painful. In an attempt to stabilize the joint the bones will misalign to better brace itself. This produces asymmetrical ongoing stress on the joint parts. Sacroiliac joint misalignments are painful because of the large number of ligaments involved.
- Intervertebral discs are the next tissues that become painful when the condition goes into the next level. Unmanaged vertebral misalignments (called vertebral subluxation) prevent normal disc hydration and so the discs deteriorate predisposing the discs to bulge or herniate; called slipped disc. This is a complex painful and often disabling lower back condition. Spinal surgery is a frequent treatment recommended for slipped discs. Fortunately specialized chiropractic care can conservatively manage 90% of these cases successfully.
- Nerve pain is also associated with lower back pain when the swelling of the joint or the swelling of the disc compresses the nearby nerves that typically run into the lower extremity and into the lower abdomen. This pain is characterized like a constant burning feeling, unlike a joint pain that is sharp and associated with joint movements.
David could have acted sooner but in either case, the findings tell the chiropractor what the exact problem is and how to help nature repair the damages. Regardless of the specifics of each patient, a proper chiropractic evaluation will reveal the affected tissues and a suitable care program can be implemented. Delays only give the damage more time to become more complicated. Like rust, if you just keep painting over it (pain relievers) the eventual damage will come through. NEVER UNDERGO BACK SURGERY WITHOUT GETTING A SECOND OPINION FROM A DOCTOR OF CHIROPRACTIC.
Yours in Health,