Lower back pain is second only to headaches as the most common health issues experienced by adults. Most people—about 80 percent—will have low back pain at some point in their life. Pain of any kind, including low back pain, can be acute, meaning that it occurred suddenly and is of fairly short duration of a few months or less. In contrast, you may have chronic low back pain, which may have occurred slowly and last for months or years.
Acute lower back issues frequently come from muscle spasms or strains, or a sprain in which the ligament has been overstretched or torn. Most frequently these kinds of lower back injuries occur from improper lifting of heavy items, twisting movements, weak or imbalanced muscles, sports injuries involving impact, trauma, or falls.
Causes of Chronic Lower Back Pain
Chronic lower back issues may involve your discs, joints, nerves, or bones. Your discs are located in between each of the bones in your spine, called vertebrae (singular is vertebra). Each disc acts to absorb shock and as a ligament that holds the vertebrae together. Discs have a tough outer wall and are filled with a gel-like center to cushion your spine. Discs are somewhat flexible so your spine can move. Sometimes however, the center of a lumbar disc can protrude through the outer layer, causing something called a herniation. A herniated disc can cause inflammation, press on a nerve root, and be the source of a great deal of pain.
Additionally, as you get older, your discs lose moisture and wear down. When this happens, the disc may become compressed, herniated, or completely collapsed. This is called degenerative disc disease, and can also be extremely painful. It can also lead to other conditions, such as spinal stenosis.
The joints in your back may also be a source of low back pain. Behind each disc are two joints, called facet joints, that allow for movement of your spine. Each of these joints are protected by cartilage and a nerve-rich joint capsule. You also have sacroiliac joints (or SI joints) that hold the bottom of your spine to your pelvis on each side. Your SI joints help to absorb shock and facilitate movements between your spine and lower body. Any of the joints in your back can become inflamed, injured, and be a source of pain.
Painful bony problems of your lower back include spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and osteoarthritis. Spinal stenosis occurs when the canals through which the spinal nerves pass become narrow and begin pressing on the nerves. Spondylolisthesis is a problem when one or more of your vertebrae slip out of place, and moves backward or forward over the vertebra below. Spondylolisthesis frequently occurs in the vertebrae of your lower back. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that occurs with aging or overuse. It can cause spinal stenosis, spondylosis, or deterioration of the vertebrae. All of these conditions can cause pain, inflammation, and instability in your lower back.
Getting Help for Your Lower Back Pain
At BodaHealth, we have a number of healing tools and strategies available to help relieve your lower back pain. We are able to treat your lower back pain with one or more of the following treatments:
-Acupuncture. The research is in, and several recent studies have concluded that acupuncture is an effective option for treating chronic lower back pain, often better than standard medical treatments. Acupuncture works to reduce inflammation, increase circulation in the affected area, and reset your brain chemistry to boost your body’s pain-relieving chemicals.
-Cupping is a Chinese medical technique using glass, silicon or plastic cups in which a vacuum has been created and are placed over the affected areas. Cupping helps to increase circulation and spark a healing response.
-Tui Na is a kind of Chinese medical bodywork that incorporates acupuncture points and pathways to enhance circulation, increase range of motion, relieve pain, and support healing.
-Shockwave therapy is a treatment that uses acoustic waves applied to the painful area to stimulate healing and promote circulation. Researchers have found that shockwave therapy is effective in relieving pain and disability in patients suffering from chronic low back pain.
-Injection therapy involves the use of natural substances injected into painful areas to reduce inflammation, promote healing, and relieve your pain. Injection therapy can be a good choice in treating pain related to joint issues, nerve conditions, muscle problems, and tendonitis.
-Osteopathy. This involves hands-on sessions to both diagnose and treat health conditions throughout your body, including lower back pain. Our osteopathic practitioner is highly trained in a manipulative technique that uses stretching, resistance, and gentle pressure to promote circulation and correct biomechanical problems that may be at the source of your back pain.
-Clinical Pilates and Therapeutic exercise can be effective ways to stretch and strengthen your lower back, improve your range of motion, relieve pain, and prevent further injury. At BodaHealth, we are pleased to offer our patients one-on-one sessions of therapeutic exercise, clinical Pilates, exercise physiology, fascial stretch and kinesiology as a way to address your current condition, but also to correct imbalances to avoid future problems.
-Massage therapy. At BodaHealth, we understand the importance of massage therapy in healing musculoskeletal conditions. Our practitioners are able to provide therapeutic massage and fascial stretching to help improve your flexibility and range of motion, relax tight or spastic muscles, increase circulation, and increase your level of functioning.
-Naturopathic medicine involves assessing the condition and functioning of your entire body to promote health and the healing process. Through detailed assessments, our naturopathic physicians can determine how best to help you. They may prescribe vitamin or nutritional supplements or nutritional guidelines to reduce the inflammatory process and stimulate healing. They are able to provide traditional Western medical care when necessary.
If you’re struggling with lower back pain and feel like you’ve tried everything to no avail, we understand. Many patients with pain conditions tell us that they wish they had come to BodaHealth first. Please let us help you. Call today to find out how.