Chronic low back pain is becoming an issue for an increasing number of individuals. You may be or know someone that has experienced chronic pain. If you don’t know what that is- Any pain, including back pain, is considered chronic once it lasts more than three months. As it differentiates from acute pain, chronic pain typically does not have an easily identifiable cause and is difficult to treat. It usually comes and goes and pain relief is only temporary, which causes a lot of frustration.
Chronic low back pain can stop you from functioning the way you used to or would like to on a daily basis. After all, your back supports your entire upper body and if this area is affected, movement may be limited. It can make you feel helpless and discourage you from performing your usual activities.
When having to deal with pain for such a long time, it can be tiring if you don’t know the root of the problem in the first place. Medication is one of the most common treatment options that many choose. But it is not a permanent solution as it only momentarily numbs the pain. So how do you deal with such pain? In this article, we will talk about the causes of low back pain and how it can be treated.
What Are The Common Causes of Chronic Back Pain?
Most of the time, chronic back pain is age-related as it is normal for the spine to degenerate with the years. However, it can also be a direct result of a past or current injury. Injuries that occurred because of trauma, improper lifting, years of bad posture, and even obesity. These are general causes but it is important to note that not always can people determine what initiated the pain. This does not mean that it should be ignored. When experiencing back pain for a prolonged period of time, you should seek medical attention.
Getting medical attention is vital because chronic low back pain may also be a sign of a serious condition or disorder. Radiculopathy occurs when a spinal nerve root is injured. Apart from the back, this injury may send pain signals to other areas of your body. This injury might be provoked by a herniated disc or spinal stenosis that compresses the nerve. Similarly, sciatica may also cause chronic low back pain. If the sciatic nerve is pinched or compressed, you may feel pain and muscle weakness from the lower back to the legs.
Skeletal irregularities may also produce chronic low back pain. Scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, is one of the most common of these irregularities. Scoliosis usually starts right before puberty, but pain may not be experienced until later in your adulthood. Although this condition cannot be cured, there are treatments that can help manage the pain, for instance, chiropractic care.
Another common cause of low back pain is spondylolisthesis. This occurs when a vertebra slips and pinches the nerves in that area. Evidently, anything happening in this area including the spinal cord, spinal canal or vertebrae can cause chronic back pain. That is not always the case. Although not very usual, low back pain can be associated with more serious conditions.
Fibromyalgia is one of them. This condition is characterized by fatigue and widespread muscle pain. Tumors and kidney stones may also present low back pain as a symptom. These are not the only ones, which is why you should see a doctor when your low back pain has become chronic and you’re not sure why.
Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain
First of all, your physician will perform certain tests to facilitate your diagnosis. The most common test is the conventional x-ray. This test will produce images of your bones, including your vertebrae. If your problem is a herniated disc or spondylolisthesis, this test will show it. An MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) will present images of your muscles, ligaments, and joints. This test may also determine if there are any tumors in the area. Additionally, a CT scan will show all of your spinal structures.
None of the treatment options available will make your pain disappear in the first session. Chronic pain in general takes time, the important thing is to address it as soon as possible so it does not worsen and becomes harder to treat. You may say medication works, but again, medication will only reduce the pain temporarily. A few hours after taking the pain-reliever, the pain will be back to disable you. In the same manner, injections help manage chronic low back pain, more permanently than medication. But this is a more invasive form of treatment that has its side effects as well.
Your physician may recommend that you try physical therapy. A physical therapist will provide you with monitored and moderate exercises and stretches. Exercise will help strengthen the muscles and bones and stimulate the area to promote healing. Never attempt to exercise by yourself as you may worsen the pain and injure the area even further. If posture or obesity are part of the problem, then exercising will also help you. Rest is especially important when exercising as excessive physical activity can lead to a setback in your recovery. A physical therapist will also teach you how to apply cold and hot compresses to reduce inflammation and numb the pain.
Muscle tension caused by stress may be the root of your chronic pain. In this case, your physician will want to incorporate mental health components in your treatment plan. By doing this, you will learn to manage your stress properly so your body can release some of that tension. Massages, which chiropractors can perform, may also aid to speed up this process. Muscle relaxants can be beneficial and harmful in the same way as injections and analgesics.
Resting will also be one of the main instructions for you to follow. Rest is always important, regardless of the severity or cause of the problem. This puts in question your mattress as it may not be helping your low back pain. Sleeping in an inadequate mattress and adopting the wrong sleeping positions can damage your posture and produce chronic low back pain. A change in mattress can improve your posture and quality of sleep. This can make a significant difference in the process of your recovery.
Additionally, chiropractic care is proven to treat chronic low back pain. Actually, if there was one thing that chiropractors were experts on, that would be low back pain. To learn more about this, keep reading.
Role of Chiropractic Care in Chronic Low Back Pain
Chiropractic is a profession dedicated to non-surgical and more natural forms of treatment. It specializes in disorders of the nervous system and musculoskeletal system. You must know that chiropractic care is a scientifically proven treatment for low back pain. Actually, researchers that study chiropractic care have focused their research on how effective it is in reducing pain in the lower area of the back.
Do you not see the connection? Well, it’s very simple. The nervous system is in charge of the sensation and perception of pain. As we already learned, one of the most common causes of chronic low back pain is a compressed nerve. And as we have seen, many conditions result in pinched nerves.
While other fields in medicine treat pain through medication and some of the other previously mentioned treatments, which only scratch the surface of the issue, chiropractic care aims to find the root of the problem. And by doing this, the chiropractor can treat the pain and not put a band-aid on it.
The chiropractor may perform an adjustment, also known as spinal manipulation. This is one of the main procedures that a specialist in this profession performs and it is done by hand. In this treatment, the chiropractor applies controlled pressure to joints in the spine. This will correct any misalignment in your spine, and therefore, relieve that chronic pain that you’ve been begging to leave you.
One of the many upsides of going to a chiropractor is that he is trained to provide a full treatment plan including nutrition. Because of this, if your chronic low back pain is due to obesity, then your chiropractor will formulate a treatment plan to promote a healthy and controlled weight loss.
The chiropractic method of dealing with lower back pain has a very low percentage of complications. Of course, in health care there are always risks. Considering this, chiropractic care remains as one of the safest and most effective ways in which you can treat you chronic low back pain.
Chronic low back pain is a challenging condition to diagnose and treat. Because of this, you shouldn’t try to fix the issue by yourself. If you have experienced low back pain for more than three months, you need to get medical attention. It is important that you don’t waste any more time because delaying medical attention can make your low back pain worse. This will only make it harder to treat.
If you are unsure of where to go, a chiropractor may be your first visit. And if that seems intimidating, just schedule your first appointment. You will be able to ask all of your questions and the chiropractor will evaluate you. If you’re not sure of which chiropractor you can trust with your health, call the offices of Dr. Silverman where your health is what matters most. We want to help you get rid of your chronic low back pain and get you back on your feet!