Lower back pain is a physical ailment that is as frequent as the common cold. Doctors will tell you that virtually everyone experiences lower back pain at some point during their lives and that it is self-limiting, which means it will go away on its own. What they don’t tell you is that it is more likely to return and that 35% of the patients will experience sciatica. Starting just below the ribcage, the lumbar region of the body undergoes a tremendous amount of stress from daily activities including maintaining an erect posture throughout the day. The result is often the development of lower back pain symptoms. This can range from mild to severe disabling back pain. Now for the good news: lower back pain can usually be alleviated over the course of time, with a focused, individualized treatment plan emphasizing non-surgical treatment and rehabilitation.
Symptoms of Chronic Back Pain
It is important to note that there is a difference between acute pain and chronic pain, regardless if it is left lower back pain or right lower back pain. Acute means the pain is associated with a specific incident, and can last up to six weeks. It is considered chronic pain when an acute episode lasts longer than three months, or you have had three or more episodes of acute pain. Chronic severe lower back pain that lasts more than three months, often triggers symptoms such as intense pain, constant muscle aches, shooting pain with movement, and pain that quickly gets worse because of bending, lifting, and/or walking motions, and other normal activities of daily living.
What Causes Low Back Pain?
Lower back pain frequently develops due to several reasons. Your physician usually is unable to detect the cause of back pain by completing imaging tests alone. Some conditions can be detected on imaging tests ordered by your physician, such as a bulging disk, arthritis and osteoporosis. Other sources of low back pain are not as readily detected by imaging. Lifting heavy objects repeatedly, without using the right technique, can lead to a muscle and/or a ligament strain. A bulging disk can apply pressure on the sensitive nerves that run up and down the spinal column. In addition, the simple passing of time can cause pain to the lower back because of arthritis and osteoporosis, and muscle deconditioning. In fact, 80% of chronic low back pain is due to muscle weakness in the deep muscles of the spine and core. Woman are especially susceptible to low back pain.
Causes of Back Pain in Females
Lower back pain is a common ailment experienced by women during pregnancy. A combination of weight gain, a shift in the center of gravity, and the increased elasticity of ligaments due to hormone changes; all contribute to lower back pain. Typically, women begin to experience at least a mild form of lower back pain between the fifth and seventh months of pregnancy, although the pain can start as early as the third month. Often as the baby grows the mother may also experience sciatic symptoms. Women can still be treated in a conservative physical therapy plan during pregnancy. Aging is another contributing factor for women to develop pain in the lower back.
Diagnosing Lumbar Pain
Lumbar pain can generally be diagnosed by a thorough physical examination. Usually doctors do not use blood tests to diagnose the cause of lower back pain, but the result of a blood test can confirm areas of infection, arthritis, or inflammation. Discography, which is the injection of dye into the spinal disc, can help detect a bulging disc. Electrodiagnostic tests like an electromyography test and a nerve conduction study which records electronic signals that run through the nerves located in the lower back. Imaging tests such as x-rays and a CT can confirm broken bones. MRI is usually used to detect damage to the soft tissues such a disk bulge, a herniated disk, or sprained ligaments.
Lower back pain can limit your ability to work full-time, as well as inhibit the normal movements that help you perform on a daily basis. The best cure for lower back pain is to prevent the development of it.
Here are a few tips to prevent lower back pain:
• Maintain proper posture while sitting or standing
• Avoid prolonged stints of sitting
• Lift objects using the correct techniques such as the golfers lift
• Keep muscles and ligaments strong by stretching, staying active, and exercising
• Adhere to a balanced and nutritious diet
Treatment of acute back pain from a specific incident or injury and treatment of chronic back pain can differ. Often times patients come in with what they think is acute pain, when really it is an exacerbation of chronic low back pain (false-acute). In the acute phase the goal of treatment is to minimize swelling and edema, decrease pain, and increase mobility. Usually chronic pain is due to a number of factors. In the chronic phase the goal is to determine the underlying cause or causes. When it is diagnosed as a false acute episode, it is treated as an acute injury in the initial phases of treatment. Once the pain subsides, we can determine the cause of the chronic condition.
Here are a few tips to help you manage initial pain:
- Ice the area for 30 minutes every 2 hours
- Maintain neutral spine
- Support your body
Treatment Options for Lower Back Pain Relief in Mesa
The Center for Total Back Care uses a variety of diagnostic and non-surgical treatment techniques for the treatment of low back pain. We have extremely good success identifying the root cause of your problem and often are able to relieve your chronic pain long term. We are often able to see a significant improvement in patients who have suffered for years. Our commitment to non-invasive surgical remedies for lower back pain helps our patients enjoy quicker recovery times without enduring the pain that accompanies many low back rehabilitation programs.
We utilize the MedX spinal rehabilitation and disability reduction protocols. These computerized and highly advanced spinal rehabilitation protocols help us isolate the lumbar spine musculature. This allows us to objectively document the presence of functional disability caused by functional muscle weakness due to soft tissue injury. This soft tissue injury is often the cause of the residual chronic low back pain people experience following a car accident. By effectively isolating and strengthening the deep spinal musculature, we have success with chronic low back pain patients who have achieved limited results with other forms of treatment. By combining our areas of expertise in the fields of chiropractic and physical therapy, Dr. Jolley and Dr. Raczkowski can use over 45 years of experience, utilizing the most advanced treatment and rehabilitation protocols, to help even the most complex patients. If you are Interested in determining the source of your pain or getting rid of that nagging low back pain long-term, schedule a free consultation online at totalback.com or call us today at (480) 633-8293!