Back Pain: How Chiropractic & Spinal Decompression Can Help Provide Low Back Pain Relief
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, low back pain is a condition that affects about 80 percent of adults and is one of the leading causes of disability. This common and debilitating ailment can affect adults as young as in their late 20s and has a permanent and negative effect on daily mobility, functionality, and the ability to work and lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
This type of pain can last from just a few days to over several weeks, often resulting in acute or extreme pain that lingers for the rest of a person’s lifespan. It could come as a sharp pain from simple movements like standing up from sitting at your desk too long or from intensive or strenuous activities, or even as a nagging, dull pain that aches throughout the day as you go about your usual routine.
Low back pain should not be ignored or taken lightly. Chiropractic care is an alternative treatment option available that is non-invasive and does not administer pain medication.
What Makes Up The Low Back?
The low back region is a common area often afflicted by pain. It consists of the lumbar region where five vertebrae, L1 through L5, are located. The lumbar spine is curved slightly and is supported by large muscles that allow your daily movements and functions. The vertebrae are separated by spinal discs and connected by ligaments that cushion joints and support your weight or pressure.
Below the lumbar region is the sacrum, consisting of vertebrae S1 through S5, and sits between your hip bones and connects the spine to the pelvis.
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What Causes Low Back Pain?
As the body ages, changes within the low back region like a loss of fluid between vertebrae, worn-out cartilage, or wear and tear of joints, can cause pain in the low back region. However, low back pain is a common problem in even younger adults who participate in strenuous activities or have a more intensive lifestyle. Other more serious health conditions can also result in low back pain.
- Sciatica: The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs down the low back region to the back of your legs. Pain is caused by pressure or injury on the sciatic nerve and can radiate to the hips, legs, and buttocks.
- Herniated disc: Also known as a ruptured disc, a herniated disc occurs when discs are pushed into the spinal canal through a rupture in the annulus.
- Spinal stenosis: This is known as the pinching of the spinal cord and nerve roots in the small spinal canal that causes cramping, weakness, and pain.
- Kidney infections or kidney stones: Low back pain is typically experienced on one side, or both, depending on which kidney is affected and can last for a long period of time even after the issue is treated.
- Injury: Injury resulting in trauma to the joints and muscles in the low back region is also a common cause of low back pain. Accidents, falls, or direct impact to the back are some of the injuries commonly experienced prior to having low back pain. Other low back injuries include sprains from heavy lifting or sudden body movements.
- Age & lifestyle: The ligaments and muscles in the back tear and stretch over time and can result in muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain. On the flip side, leading a lifestyle that involves insufficient movement, exercise, and physical activities can also make you a good candidate for low back pain.
Pain in the low back can sometimes occur due to other underlying health conditions such as spinal infections, tumors, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, and many more. Several risk factors also contribute to low back pain including your level of fitness, pregnancy, weight gain, and age. Treating low back pain does not always require surgery and can be done by a licensed and experienced chiropractor.
Diagnosing Low Back Pain
An experienced chiropractor can diagnose low back pain and will usually do so on your first visit. You will be asked about your medical history and any injuries, lifestyle, and fitness routines. A physical examination is then conducted to assess the low back region where you are experiencing pain, and to gauge the extent to which the pain is affecting your movements and range of motion.
Often, a chiropractor will also check your responses and reflexes. This is done to see if any of your nerves are being affected. In certain cases, additional tests or scans are required to further access the extent of injury to your low back region, spinal cord, and joints. These tests include x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs and can help detect bone or disc problems, or issues with ligaments in your low back.
How Can Chiropractic Treat Low Back Pain?
Chiropractic treatment not only helps in treating pain in the lower back, but also the surrounding regions affected by your condition. Chiropractic care administered correctly by a licensed professional has many benefits that can help reduce or eliminate pain, treat certain conditions causing the pain, and also help in other health conditions such as neck pain, headaches, joint injuries, and muscle tension and strains.
A respected review in the Annals of Internal Medicine recommended chiropractic treatment, in particular, spinal manipulation, as one of the major drug-free therapies that are considered effective for pain in the low back. The goal of chiropractic treatment and care is to allow the body to naturally heal itself by releasing the pressure in areas affected by pain and correcting misaligned joints through gentle, non-invasive treatment options that promote the flow of fluids, oxygen, and blood through nerves and connecting tissue.
Chiropractic care is not only an effective, alternative treatment option to pain medication and invasive surgery, it also helps prevent recurring symptoms and pain while providing long-term support to ongoing and chronic conditions. It takes a holistic approach to treat pain using soothing and gentle care to adjust and correct problematic areas that continue to cause pain in your low back region.
Chiropractic Care Treatment Options
There are several key techniques used by chiropractors to provide pain relief that many patients claim to experience almost immediately. Some of these treatment techniques include.
Spinal Manipulation or Chiropractic Adjustments
Sometimes known as manual therapy, spinal manipulation involves moving and adjusting the joints through a combination of massage, exercise, and physical therapy that relieves pressure on joints and improves nerve function. Spinal manipulation is done using a chiropractor’s hands to massage, stimulate, and adjust the spine and surrounding areas. This technique also utilizes a rapid movement to correct misaligned joints that might be causing chronic pain.
The American Chiropractic Association reported spinal manipulation as a cost-effective treatment for pain in your back and encourages patients suffering from low back problems to seek this as a first treatment option even before taking pain medication.
Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression
Non-surgical spinal decompression is a motorized traction that gently stretches the spine to relieve pressure and pain on spinal discs and nerves. It is an FDA-approved technology that releases pressure between spinal discs by adding a small amount of space between the discs. This allows herniated discs to retract back into their normal positions over time and promotes the healthy flow of oxygen and fluids for quicker healing.
Non-surgical spinal decompression is an effective treatment option that can be used for severe cases of lower spine pain caused by sciatica, herniated discs, arthritis, stenosis, disc degeneration, and other debilitating spinal conditions. It helps to take the pressure off the nerve root and provides pain relief almost immediately while enhancing mobility and increasing range of motion. Patients have also reported that treatment sessions are soothing and relaxing, and some doze off during treatment!
Ultrasound is a treatment option that delivers heat and energy to the low back region. It reduces pain and promotes healing by warming the soft tissues in the affected areas through the transmission of sound waves that cause vibrations that travel deep into the low back. Ultrasound is a continuous treatment option that becomes more effective over time and requires regular treatment sessions to help provide long-term pain relief to the low back.
Chiropractic treatment options are often complemented with a massage that can help soothe strained muscles and ligaments while providing healing effects to the low back region through applied pressure in targeted areas.
Hot and Cold therapy
Depending on the condition of your spine and low back region, hot and/or cold therapy might be recommended as part of your treatment plan. Hot therapy enlarges blood vessels to promote healthy blood flow to the affected area, helping speed up the healing process. Heat also increases flexibility and reduces muscle or joint stiffness. Cold therapy helps reduce swelling and pain and decreases any swelling within the affected area. Deep tissue cooling also helps ease muscle spasms.
Sometimes, both hot and cold therapy is recommended in intervals during your treatment session. It is typically done with a ten-minute hot, ten-minute cold alternating therapy treatment that draws blood into the affected area and then pushes blood out after to encourage healthy blood flow. Hot/cold therapy is administered using hot or cold packs.
Your chiropractic treatment plan may, and will often, consist of a combination of therapies that complement each other to provide optimum healing and pain relief for your low back. Other treatment alternatives that might be added to your treatment plan can include exercise, diet and lifestyle adjustments, and relaxation techniques. Treatment options vary depending on the condition and extremities of pain experienced in your low back region.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care and Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression
Chiropractic treatment plans and non-spinal decompression therapy have long-term benefits that can help relieve chronic or acute lower spine pain. It not only treats affected areas to provide pain relief but is also effective at correcting issues or problems that cause low back pain.
The benefits and effectiveness of chiropractic care and treatment techniques have been studied for a long period of time and more than any other aspect of low back pain and alternative treatment options. Besides the fact that chiropractic care is a non-surgical, non-invasive treatment option that is not only cost-effective and does not require any downtime, it also does not require any use of pain medications to reduce pain.
There are numerous benefits that chiropractic care and treatment can provide, including:
- Short and long-term pain relief
- Corrects chronic low back problems
- Restores body functions
- Improves mobility and flexibility
- Improves nerve system functions
- Promotes healthy blood flow
- Promotes quicker healing
- Reduces the effects of joint and tissue degeneration
- Detects and treats causes of low back pain early
- Prevents chronic ailments that cause low back pain
- Enhances daily activities
- Promotes a healthy lifestyle
- Enhances social health
- Enhances physical health and fitness
- Improves mental health stability
Preventing Low Back Pain
It is important to always maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent pain in the lower back and to strengthen muscles in the low back region to help support daily functions, flexibility, and other activities. With any treatment plan, a continued effort on your part is vital in ensuring that your low back pain does not reoccur.
Here are just a few ways to help prevent lower spinal pain and to keep your low back healthy and strong.
- Exercise that strengthens muscles and includes stretching is great for your lower back. Yoga or Pilates are great exercises to strengthen your lower back.
- Wear shoes that are comfortable and provide ample support.
- Stretch before and after intensive physical activity.
- Do not remain in a stagnant position for longer than you should. Small stretching exercises, leaving your desk to walk around, and even stationery exercise while watching television can have long-term effects in promoting a healthy back.
- Refrain from lifting objects that are too heavy.
- Improve your posture by standing or sitting straight.
- Always check to make sure you have good support at your desk or in a chair.
- Maintain a healthy weight and balanced diet.
The benefits of chiropractic care are most evident when regular and consistent treatment plans are followed through by a licensed and experienced chiropractor who can follow up on your progress and continue to ensure that the pain and causes do not reoccur. Chiropractic sessions can last between 20 to 45 minutes and rarely cause any pain while treatment is being administered.
Always seek the advice of a trained medical professional before starting any treatment plans. Your health matters and low back pain is not something you have to tolerate for the rest of your life. Speak to a chiropractor today on how you can start living a healthy, pain-free lifestyle again.
Having low back pain doesn’t mean you are doomed to a life of pain.
Let CORE Chiropractic help you get back on track with personalized chiropractic care, spinal decompression and a custom treatment plan. Call today for your consultation, or schedule an appointment.