Candice Taylor, chiropractor at Back 2 Balance, describes in detail some of the most common causes and types of low back pain. She is also a trained hypnotherapist and excels at delving in to the roots of conditions, not stopping at just the physical or mechanical aspects.
As chiropractors we see many different people with back pain, more often than not they ask what caused their pain and why they in particular have developed it. Although every client we see is different and unique we usually see common themes and patterns in those who present to us. Here I will discuss the likely structures that generate back pain and ultimately, the causes that provoke them.
Within the back there are three main pain generators, the spinal joints, the spinal discs and the muscles that surround them. All three of these structures accumulate some degree of micro trauma on a daily basis during our normal day-to-day life, but usually our body recovers well from these when we change position or take a break from the aggravating activities. However, we do not always allow our bodies to completely recover. Most commonly we see poor posture, which when sustained, racks up the amount of micro trauma our spines endure.
Rounded shoulders and a forward head puts more pressure on the structures at the back of our spine, it stretches ligaments and joints as well as over stretching and over activating back muscles. Weakened from the accumulated micro trauma, it can take only small movements to cause spraining and straining of the involved structures. This situation is perfectly described by the phrase “the straw that broke the camels back”. Common structures that get chronically sprained are the spinal (facet) joints, and the pelvic joints, called sacroiliac joints. Chiropractic care has demonstrated time and time again backed by research to be safe and effective for these types of injuries.
Clients that we commonly see include desk workers, commuters and manual labourers. Research has shown that long periods of sitting cause changes in our discs. Regular movements allow the inner portion of our disc, the nucleus pulposus, to distribute evenly within the disc. Sitting, especially in a slumped posture, puts more pressure on the front of the disc, encouraging the inner portion to move backwards like jam from a doughnut. This causes stretching and eventually tearing of the outer fibres of the disc, leading to the inner contents bulging further out the back. If the bulge is large enough it can pinch one of the nerves exiting the spine often causing pain locally but also throughout the nerve path, often down the leg and even to the foot. This is named sciatica or technically a radiculopathy.
There are three types of condition that we see: acute, chronic or permanent. An acute injury is a new injury, less than 3 weeks old. This is commonly from a specific trauma, but can also be gradual in onset. While some acute injuries will heal relatively quickly, others can go on to develop in to a more long term condition, particularly if they aren’t properly managed. If an injury fails to heal it is termed chronic. This means there is continual damage to structure involved, meaning it is failing to heal on its own – like bailing water out of a boat with a hole in. This is when a large amount of our clients come to see us. Without proper care, chronic conditions will lead to permanent changes in the spine, causing arthritis and speeding up wear and tear. Permanent conditions cannot generally be reversed but usually if managed, you can be made more comfortable and reach your full potential, like the caring maintenance of a classic car.
If you wish to talk to one of our chiropractors don’t hesitate to contact us on 01273 206868 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org