According to the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the most common condition for which people seek care with their primary care physician is low back pain. It is also a leading cause of lost workdays in the U.S. and a top reason for disability worldwide.
There are many reasons why people experience low back pain. People of all ages, genders, and lifestyles can experience low back pain because the back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles. Back pain becomes more common as people grow older due to everyday stress on the musculoskeletal system, specifically, the spinal column.
1. What causes low back pain?
The type of work that people do can have an impact on their health and low back. Physical, labor-intensive work that involves heavy lifting can lead to an increase in low back pain. However, people who sit at a desk all day can have low back pain as well. Children who play sports or are involved in gymnastics may experience pain related to sports, and people who have been in car accidents may experience chronic low back pain.
Since there is no one cause of low back pain, it is very important to have a thorough physical exam to determine the cause of the low back pain. Sometimes it is necessary to take X-rays to determine the most appropriate type of treatment.
2. What types of treatment are available for low back pain?
In 2017, the American College of Physicians (ACP), the largest medical-specialty society in the world, issued new evidence-based clinical guidelines for treating low back pain, advocating conservative care treatments as the first option.
Examples of conservative care include:
3. What lifestyle factors affect my low back pain?
Here are five major factors to consider:
Eating a healthy diet is important for people with low back pain. Eating a whole-food, well-balanced diet is important because it is less inflammatory than high sugar, highly processed foods. Less inflammation means less pain.
Patients who are overweight will experience more joint discomfort overall, and that includes an increase in low back pain.
Other health conditions such as diabetes can affect overall health and lead to an increase in pain, especially if accompanied by other risk factors such as obesity.
Most people know that smoking is bad for the lungs. However, people may not know that it takes smokers longer to heal and recover after any injuries, illnesses, or surgeries. Additionally, smoking can lead to degeneration of the discs between the spinal vertebrae, which inevitably will lead to an increase in pain.
Lack of exercise:
Daily exercise is incredibly beneficial for patients with low back pain. It can be as simple as walking for 20-30 minutes per day. Additionally, when performed in good form under the supervision of a personal trainer or physical therapist, yoga and core strengthening exercises can drastically reduce low back pain.
4. What are the benefits of seeing a chiropractor for low back pain?
Chiropractic care is a natural, conservative type of care and a great place to start. As noted by the ACP, it is always best to start with the least invasive care possible.
Typically, one of the causes of pain is lack of movement in a joint or between the vertebras. Chiropractors will use their hands and perform specific, manual adjustments to restore proper motion to the joints.
5. Other than manual adjustments, what other treatments do chiropractors use?
Chiropractors may use other adjusting tools, depending on the patient’s health and preference. Your Doctor of Chiropractic will discuss treatment options following a comprehensive assessment, which the chiropractor performs during the initial visit.
Chiropractors may provide some passive modalities, such as roller tables, traction, kinesiology taping, laser, electrical stimulation, or ultrasound, depending on your pain levels and where the pain presents itself.
Chiropractors ultimately will provide you with home exercises, including strengthening, stretching, and possible lifestyle modifications. Recommendations can include increasing exercise, such as walking and increasing water intake.
CUKC Chiropractic Health Center
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), founded in 1922, is a private, nonprofit, chiropractic and health science-focused university in Overland Park, Kansas. The CUKC on-campus Chiropractic Health Center is open to the public and treats patients from Kansas City’s 15-county metro area. Our goal is to provide care and solutions for a better, more productive life for our patients.