Lower back pain is recognised as one of the most common reasons for referrals to medical practitioners, and accounts for a large proportion of missed days at work. In fact, research suggests that up to eighty percent of people will experience back pain at some stage of their lives. While for some people back pain is little more than discomfort, for others it can leave them incapacitated.
Lower Back Pain
While some cases of back pain originate from injury, accidents or organic medical conditions such as arthritis or fracture, the most common cause of back pain is stress to the joints and muscles of the back, which accumulates from day-to-day activities, such as:
- poor posture
- incorrect bending and lifting procedures
- sitting down for extended periods of time
- sleeping incorrectly
- twisting the body into an uncomfortable position
Most people are prone to back pain, as the lower back area supports a lot of our body weight, and relies heavily on the strength of the vertebrae in our spine. If the spine is not in correct alignment, areas of weakness can occur, resulting in irritation of nerves in the spine, or in a bulging disc, which places pressure on the spinal cord.
It is important not to ignore back pain, even though it can subside within a few days. Pain may be symptomatic of an underlying condition such as a disc bulge, sciatica or scoliosis.
While many people look for medication such as ibuprofen and aspirin when they suffer from low back pain, these should not be considered first-line treatments. While medication may reduce the symptomatic pain, it does not treat the actual problem. This means that once the medication wears off, the pain usually returns. This will continue until the underlying mechanism driving the pain is addressed.
Chiropractic has consistently shown to be effective in relieving lower back pain in the long term, by addressing the deeper problems connected to the pain. By releasing tension in the joints and muscles, Chiropractic provides a safe, simple and efficient form of therapy for back care. A case report by Welk et.al.1 describes chiropractic management including spinal manipulative therapy and rehabilitative exercises and subsequent objective and subjective functional and symptomatic improvement. The Chiropractors at Back to Basics Chiropractic can also recommend a course of exercise and general health maintenance, coupled with Chiropractic to ensure permanent alleviation of back problems.
There are some things you can do to help prevent relapses, or to minimise the severity of lower back pain. Some useful tips include:
- Avoid sudden bending, twisting or sharp movement while in pain. This can aggravate pre-existing vulnerabilities to back problems
- Maintain proper posture at all times
- Make sure that your workspace is ergonomically designed. This includes things like a supportive chair, a well-placed computer monitor and a workstation layout that does not require a lot of twisting and turning
- Purchase a firm mattress designed to support your back while you sleep
- Engage in regular exercise. Even if you are suffering from back pain, bed rest is often not the most preferable option. Low-impact exercise such as walking or swimming will help the back muscles remain active and loose
- When exercising, ensure you correctly warm up and cool down every time
- Wear comfortable flat or low-heeled shoes
1. J Chiropr Med. 2012 Dec;11(4):249-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2012.10.002.Conservative management of recurrent lumbar disk herniation with epidural fibrosis: a case report. Welk AB, Werdehausen DN, Kettner NW