Chiropractic Treatment for Lower Back Pain

Chiropractic for the low back has been repeatedly shown to be the most effective treatment for lower back pain. Chiropractic treatment for low back pain is usually pretty straightforward.

Chiropractic for Lower Back PainEighty percent of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. In fact, it is estimated that low back pain affects more than half of the adult population each year and more than 10% of all people experience frequent bouts of low back pain.

The susceptibility of the low back to injury and pain is due to the fact that the low back, like the neck, is a very unstable part of the spine. Unlike the thoracic spine, which is supported and stabilized by the rib cage. This instability allows us to have a great deal of mobility to touch our toes, tie our shoes or pick something up from the ground, but at the cost of increased risk of injury.

As long as it is healthy and functioning correctly, the low back can withstand tremendous forces without injury. Professional powerlifters can pick up several hundred pounds off the floor without injuring their low back. However, if the low back is out of adjustment or has weakened supporting muscles, something as simple as taking a bag of groceries out of the trunk of their car, picking something up off the floor, or even simply bending down to pet the cat can cause a low back injury.

Until recently, researchers believed that back pain would heal on its own. We have learned, however, that this is not true. Recent studies showed that when back pain is not treated, it may go away temporarily, but will most likely return. It is important to take low back pain seriously and seek professional chiropractic care. This is especially true with pain that recurs over and over again. Contact us . . . we can help!

The Causes of Low Back Pain

There are many different conditions that can result in low back pain, including: sprained ligaments, strained muscles, ruptured disks, trigger points and inflamed joints. While sports injuries or accidents can lead to injury and pain, sometimes even the simplest movements, like picking up a pencil from the floor, can have painful results. In addition, conditions such as arthritis, poor posture, obesity, psychological stress and even kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots, or bone loss can lead to pain.

Due to the fact that there are a whole lot of things that can cause low back pain, and some of those things can be quite serious if left untreated, it is important to seek professional help. Chiropractors are the experts at diagnosing the cause and determining the proper treatment for low back pain.

Treating Low Back Pain With Chiropractic

Chiropractic treatment for low back pain is usually pretty straightforward. Most commonly, it’s simply a matter of adjusting the lower lumbar vertebrae and pelvis to re-establish normal motion and position of your bones and joints.

Chiropractic for the low back has been repeatedly shown to be the most effective treatment for low back pain. In fact, major studies have shown that chiropractic care is more effective, cheaper and has better long-term outcomes than any other treatment. This makes sense because chiropractic care is the only method of treatment that serves to re-establish normal vertebral motion and position in the spine. All other treatments, such as muscle relaxants, pain killers and bed rest, only serve to decrease the symptoms of the problem and do not correct the problem itself.

About the author:
Dr. Brian Broskoskie is a chiropractor at Results Chiropractic Center in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He is a graduate of Sherman College. Follow him on Twitter and be sure to LIKE his Facebook Fan page for daily health, exercise, nutrition, wellness, chiropractic tips and much much more!

Chiropractic for Upper Back Pain

ImageMost neck and upper back pain is caused by a combination of factors, including injury, poor posture, chiropractic subluxations, stress, and in some instances, disc problems. Chiropractic treatment can help.

Most people do not realize how much they move their neck during the day until they are unable to do so. The degree of flexibility of the neck, coupled with the fact that it has the least amount of muscular stabilization and it has to support and move your 14 – 16 pound head, means that the neck is very susceptible to injury. You can picture your neck and head much like a bowling ball being held on top of a stick by small, thin, elastic bands. It doesn’t take much force to disrupt that delicate balance.

The spinal cord runs through a space in the vertebrae to send nerve impulses to every part of the body. Between each pair of cervical vertebrae, the spinal cord sends off large bundles of nerves that run down the arms and to some degree, the upper back. This means that if your arm is hurting, it may actually be a problem in the neck! Symptoms in the arms can include numbness, tingling, cold, aching, and “pins and needles”.

These symptoms can be confused with carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition in the hands that is often found in people who work at computer keyboards or perform other repetitive motion tasks for extended periods. Problems in the neck can also contribute to headaches, muscle spasms in the shoulders and upper back, ringing in the ears, otitis media (inflammation in the middle ear, often mistaken for an ear infection in children), temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), restricted range of motion and chronic tightness in the neck and upper back.

Chiropractors associate the neck and upper back together, because most of the muscles that are associated with the neck either attach to, or are located in, the upper back. These muscles include the trapezius, the levator scapulae, the cervical paraspinal muscles and the scalenes, as well as others.

The Causes of Neck and Upper Back Pain

Most neck and upper back pain is caused by a combination of factors, including injury, poor posture, subluxations, stress, and in some instances, disc problems.

Injuries

By far, the most common injury to the neck is a whiplash injury. Whiplash is caused by a sudden movement of the head, either backward, forward, or sideways, that results in the damage to the supporting muscles, ligaments and other connective tissues in the neck and upper back. Whether from a car accident, sports, or an accident at work, whiplash injuries need to be taken very seriously. Because symptoms of a whiplash injury can take weeks or months to manifest, it is easy to be fooled into thinking that you are not as injured as you really are. Too often people don’t seek treatment following a car accident or sports injury because they don’t feel hurt. Unfortunately, by the time more serious complications develop, some of the damage from the injury may have become permanent.

Poor Posture

One of the most common causes of neck pain, and sometimes headaches, is poor posture. It’s easy to get into bad posture habits without even realizing it – even an activity as “innocent” as reading in bed can ultimately lead to pain, headaches, and more serious problems. The basic rule is simple: keep your neck in a “neutral” position whenever possible. Don’t bend or hunch your neck forward for long periods. Also, try not to sit in one position for a long time. If you must sit for an extended period, make sure your posture is good: Keep your head in a neutral position, make sure your back is supported, keep your knees slightly lower than your hips, and rest your arms if possible.

Subluxations

Subluxations in the neck and upper back area are extremely common due to the high degree of stress associated with holding up your head, coupled with the high degree of instability in the cervical spine. Most subluxations tend to be centered around four areas: the top of the cervical spine where it meets the skull; in the middle of the cervical spine where the mechanical stress from the head is the greatest; in the transition where the cervical and thoracic areas of the spine meet; and in the middle of the thoracic spine where the mechanical stress from the weight of the upper body is greatest.

Signs of subluxation include looking in the mirror and seeing your head tilted or one shoulder higher than the other. Often women will notice that their sleeve length is different or that a necklace is hanging off center. If someone looks at you from the side they may notice that your head sits forward from your shoulders. This is known as FHP – forward head posture – and is very common for people who are stooped over their computers all day long. Subluxations are a debt to the body. If they are not taken care of soon after they occur, then they can get much worse over time due to the accumulation of compounding interest.

Stress

When most people become stressed, they unconsciously contract their muscles. In particular, the muscles in their back. This ‘muscle guarding’ is a survival response designed to guard against injury. In today’s world where we are not exposed to physical danger most of the time, muscle guarding still occurs whenever we become emotionally stressed. The areas most affected are the muscles of the neck, upper back and low back. For most of us, the particular muscle affected by stress is the trapezius muscle, where daily stress usually leads to chronic tightness and the development of trigger points.

The most effective ways you can reduce the physical effects of stress on your own are through increased exercise.

Disc Herniations

The discs in your cervical spine can herniate or bulge and put pressure on the nerves that exit from the spine through that area. Although cervical discs do not herniate nearly as often as lumbar discs do, they occasionally can herniate, especially when the discs sustain damage from a whiplash injury.

About the author:
Dr. Brian Broskoskie is a chiropractor at Results Chiropractic Center in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He is a graduate of Sherman College. Follow him on Twitter and be sure to LIKE his Facebook Fan page for daily health, exercise, nutrition, wellness, chiropractic tips and much much more!

Chiropractic for a Slipped Disc

Mild to moderate disc herniations (commonly referred to as slipped discs) can usually be treated conservatively with stretching, exercise therapy and chiropractic care.Image

You may have heard the term “slipped disc” used to describe a low back injury.  Discs do not actually “slip”.  Rather, they may herniate or bulge out from between the bones.  A herniation is a displaced fragment of the center part or nucleus of the disc that is pushed through a tear in the outer layer or annulus of the disc.  Pain results when irritating substances are released from this tear and also if the fragment touches or compresses a nearby nerve.  Disc herniation has some similarities to degenerative disc disease and discs that herniate are often in an early stage of degeneration. Herniated discs are common in the low back or lumbar spine.

What causes discs to herniate?

Many factors decrease the strength and resiliency of the disc and increase the risk of disc herniation. Life style choices such as smoking, lack of regular exercise, and inadequate nutrition contribute to poor disc health. Poor posture, daily wear and tear, injury or trauma, and incorrect lifting or twisting further stress the disc. If the disc is already weakened, it may herniate with a single movement or strain such as coughing or bending to pick up a pencil.

How do I know if I have a disc herniation?

Herniated discs are most likely to affect people between the ages of 30 and 40.  Disc herniations may be present without causing pain. The most common symptom will be pain in the area of the herniation that may radiate across the hips or into the buttocks. You may also experience numbness or pain radiating down your leg to the ankle or foot. If the herniation is large enough, you may notice weakness with extension of your big toe and you may be unable to walk on your toes or heels.  In severe cases of lumbar disc herniation, you may experience changes in your bowel or bladder function and may have difficulty with sexual function.

How is a disc herniation treated?

Mild to moderate disc herniations can usually be treated conservatively with stretching, exercise therapy and chiropractic care.  More advanced cases will often require some form of spinal decompression, such as traction or mechanical decompression, in conjuction with chiropractic care. 

Occasionally, a herniation may be severe enough to warrant surgical intervention.  These cases are usually reserved as a last resort when other forms of therapy have failed to relieve pain, or if there is significant compression of the spinal cord or nerves.

Chiropractic is not addictive!

The facts are scary! We all know the harm that prescription drugs can have, but when I read the report from the American Association of Poison Control I was shocked.  “Drug overdose death rates in the US have more than tripled since 1990.” As of May 2012 statistics show that the leading cause of death of females living in the U.S. between the ages of 25-34 is traffic accidents. A close second is poisoning and if you are a female between the ages of 35-44, poisonings are the leading cause of death-the #1 cause!  Men, statistics show that the leading cause of death in a U.S. male between the ages of 35-44 juggles between #1 and #2 top cause of death mentioned above. Men accounted for 71% of total deaths between the ages 35-44 caused by accidental prescription drug poisoning.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  How can we prevent us or our family members from being a statistic of Pharmaceutical addiction or worse, death?  We have already addressed who is at risk now let’s move on to why.

-Why do we have pain?  Pain is our bodies way of telling us that something is wrong and when you do a certain activity it makes it worse. This is an indication of major or minor injury.

-Where do we go to seek treatment?  If I am hurting I want to get out of pain fast- I get that.  But let’s face it, if you get hurt such as an auto accident not resulting in stitches or broken bones and go to your medical doctor the way they best know how to treat the pain is through prescription drugs. While there are times that do call for careful monitoring of these prescribed drugs many can be treated through non addictive alternatives with no side effects.

-What types of medicine do we choose to take?  Just because the doctor gave you a prescription for the medicine doesn’t mean that you need it.  Request something else that you can take that is less or non addictive.  Ask that you receive a smaller quantity with 0 refills.  Talk to your pharmacist about other medicines you are already taking to avoid drug interaction.

-When are you in pain and when are you need to take pain medication above and beyond the normal Ibuprofen?  When is it time to try another approach?

-How can you feel better without using prescription drugs?  In our office we want to get you out of pain quickly without the long lasting side effects.  First ICE, ICE, ICE any new injury or after surgery.  It is honestly the best form of pain management.  Ten minutes ON, 30 minutes OFF. Second correct the problem through chiropractic treatments to any painful joint wither it’s a knee, neck or any other joint.  Joints are built for the purpose of moving freely.  Chiropractic allows the joint to move properly.

In our office we want to get you out of pain quickly and then correct the problem, to prevent future problems.  I feel very passionate helping people live their life “pain free” or for some people it is more realistic to say less, more “manageable pain”.  I believe that through non addictive treatments with an ounce of prevention you and your family can stay clear of becoming a tragic statistic

Sources:

American Association of Poison Control; http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com

About the author:
Dr. Brian Broskoskie is a chiropractor at Results Chiropractic Center in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He is a graduate of Sherman College. Follow him on Twitter and be sure to LIKE his Facebook Fan page for daily health, exercise, nutrition, wellness, chiropractic tips and much much more!