Chiropractic treatment of back pain

"I have had back pain for years"

Back pain is considered chronic when it has been present for three months or more. There are three main causes of chronic back pain, these are, disease, injury and abnormal stresses on structures in the back. The type and intensity of the pain can vary depending on what’s causing the pain. Structures that can cause pain in the lower back include muscles, joints, ligaments and nerves. Chronic back pain can be a combination of disease, injury and abnormal stresses. For example, if you injure your lower back while lifting, this injury may be compounded by going to work and having to sit at a desk all day causing abnormal stresses on the back.

Pain is registered by the body from signals that travel from the nerve, to the spinal cord and then travel up to the brain and register as pain. If this nerve is “pinched” at a point along its pathway due to inflammation, then this can exacerbate the problem. If the nerve pain is present for a long period of time, then they become sensitive to pain.

The main reason many people develop chronic pain lasting for years is that they do not or are not able to remove the cause the pain. Below is a list of common causes of lower back pain.

Lifting - We all know the feeling when you bend forwards and lift something too heavy and you feel your back go. A more common cause of back pain is from repetitive lifting, if you have to lift children, bend at work, clean or maintaining your home, all of these will require repetitive bending which over time can irritate your back. If you get some treatment to ease the pain and try and fix the problem, this will give you temporary relief, the cause of the problem, lifting is still there so the problem will recur. Doing some strength work around your back can help to take the pressure off the joints of your back and lessen the load going through your discs.

Sitting at work – Sitting at work creates enormous stress on the body, many of us at work have to sit for eight hours a day, five days a week. This build-up of stress from sitting places a lot of pressure on the certain joints in the spine, tightens and shortens muscles and causes discs between vertebra to budge over time. There are a lot of things you can do to negate the affects that sitting has on your body.

  1. Limiting your amount of time spent sitting speaks for itself, if you can do a job standing or moving then do this.
  2. Set your desk and computer up properly, you can do this for yourself by clicking this link
  3. Exercising, the more you sit during the day the more your body needs to exercise after work. This helps to break down the tension from sitting all day. If you have not exercised regularly then starting gently is advised, walking is one of the best ways to start but any exercise that you enjoy is good.
  4. Pilates, this will help to strengthen the muscles the support the spine, if the muscles that support your spine are stronger then this helps to take the pressure of your joints.

Carrying extra weight – There are two main ways which being overweight or obese contribute to lower back pain.

  1. The physical effects of having too much weight means that there is more weight putting pressure through the joints, discs and ligaments of the lower back. If you have too much weight going through your back over a prolonged period of time, then this can cause discs to bulge and joints to wear. 
  2. Many people due to the excess weight can become short of breath or painful with exercise. This tends to lead to people doing less exercise, if we do not keep our bodies moving through regular activity then our joints stiffen over a period of time.

Weakness – Weakness of the muscles surrounding the lower back leads to discs and joints taking too much pressure, this excess and abnormal pressure can lead to degeneration(wear) of the lower back over a period of time. Research estimates that we bend thousands of times throughout the week. If we have strong muscles then our back is protected, if they are weak, certain joints will be under constant strain.