How chiropractors can treat low back pain using spinal manipulation therapy and exercise
Low Back is a common medical condition that causes people to miss work or spend time with their chiropractors. It is the primary cause of disability globally. Low back pain may develop either through overuse, wrong posture, or a minor injury. At times, you may not find any apparent cause of the low back pain which is why x-rays and MRI's are not always performed in the beginning.
Low back pain can appear slowly or suddenly. The pain may be initially mild but could become intense and sharp, which may be the case with people with chronic back pain. Many times, chronic low back pain began with a mild injury that was allowed to simply stick around and was never quite dealt with properly.
There are, however, several underlying symptoms that are commonly associated with low back pain. They include the following:·
- Radiating pain into your leg·
- Muscle ache·
- Stabbing or shooting pain·
- Worsening pain, especially when bending, walking, standing, or lifting.
Causes Of Low Back Pain
Low back pain that appears suddenly and lasts less than six weeks is acute low back pain. Chronic back pain is said to last above three months depending on which source is cited. It is not as common as acute back pain. A good number of emergency room visits to the ER or Urgent Care facilities are actually due to low back pain.
The following are causes of low back pain:·
- Ligament Sprain and/or Muscle Strain
These issues may occur due to continuous heavy lifting or wrong posture. They can also be caused by poorly preparing yourself to carry a load or move a load properly. Straining your back, especially if you have a physical condition, can cause some painful learning lessons. Low-level laser treatments combined with a sprain/strain-specific exercise protocol through your chiropractor can be highly effective in treating these issues.
Spinal stenosis causes a reduction in spaces around the spinal cord, is also a cause of low back pain. The grocery cart sign can be a hint of stenosis. If you are walking around the store and the walking causes pain in the low band and/or the legs, then you bend over to rest your elbows on the shopping cart to relieve the pain, then you have 'The Shopping Cart Sign'. Which can be an indicator of low back stenosis. A good, targetted exercise protocol provided by your chiropractic as well as non-surgical spinal decompression is a BIG help with stenosis.
- Herniated or Bulging Discs
Discs help to prevent the wear and tear of bones by acting as cushions. When ruptured, they can cause low back pain. In fact, the pain can be quite severe. Ther are several ways of determining if a disc is a culprit with low back pain. Disc injury is the most common reason for a person under 50 years old to come see us with low back pain with a prevalence of 40%. A disc injury can range from being a temporary difficulty to being a much more severe, surgical issue. The most effective treatment we have utilized is 1) non-surgical spinal decompression combined with 2) low-level laser combined with 3) specific exercises determined by direction preference combined with 4) periodic spinal manipulation. This is a POWERFUL combination to help get disc pain under control quickly and non-surgically.
- Sacro-Iliac Pain
Sacro-iliac pain is typically felt a little lower and more to either side than low back pain is felt. SI pain is aggravated by walking and standing from a seated position. A skilled, evidence-informed chiropractor can use an array of SI orthopedic tests to determine if that is your problem. SI conditions make up about 22.5% of the low back issues we see in the clinic. SI pain responds very well to SI dysfunction exercises, myofascial release, spinal manipulation, and low-level laser (if indicated).
- Facet Pain
Facet pain makes up about 30% of low back pain cases in a chiropractic clinic. A good hint if it's facet pain is if it hurts if you are standing, lean backward, then rotate to either side in an attempt to touch the back of the knee on the side you rotated toward. Facets do not like activities such as vacuuming, doing the dishes, or leaning over slightly to fold laundry but they do not typically hurt to go from sitting to standing. Facet pain responds very well to spinal manipulative therapy. It is a movement-related disorder and responds very well to movement-related treatment like a chiropractic adjustment. Then we combine exercises related to facet issues specifically and shown by research to be very effective.
- Spinal Instability
A hint of having spinal instability can be if a patient feels stabbed or 'caught' when rolling over in bed. A knowledgeable chiropractic orthopedist such as Dr. Jeff Williams at Creek Stone in Amarillo knows how to test for instability. People who demonstrate joint hypermobility often have spinal instability. If instability is indeed the issue, a good evidence-based chiropractor will be able to prescribe a series of strengthening and support exercises to help you stabilize your spine at home and decrease ongoing pain. Adjustments in the case of spinal instability may not be the best thing for these patients.
Compression fractures may develop in spinal vertebrae due to brittle and porous bones.·
- Skeletal irregularities
Scoliosis or skeletal irregularities may occur as a result of the spine curve to one side and may lead to low back pain.
How chiropractors can treat low back pain using spinal manipulation therapy and exercise
Amarillo chiropractors use both spinal manipulation therapy and exercise in the treatment of low back pain. Exercise and spinal manipulation play a significant role in treating low back pain. Let us highlight the benefits of each treatment method in treating low back pain.
Benefits of exercise in the treatment of low back pain·
- Exercise helps to strengthen spine muscles and helps to reduce spinal disc pressure.·
- Exercise improves muscle mobility and reduces stiffness·
- Exercise helps to release endorphins which reduce pain·
- Exercise reduces the frequency of back pain episodes
Benefits of spinal manipulation in the treatment of low back pain ·
- Acts as an analgesic much like Tylenol or Ibuprofen
- Increases proprioceptive input in the specific joints to help your body move the segment in a healthier way
- It helps in ensuring proper blood circulation to the affected region
- Increase descending pain inhibitory complex keeping more and more painful triggers from actually registering with the brain
How chiropractors combine both treatment options to treat low back pain
In carrying out spinal manipulation, chiropractors in Amarillo use their hands in applying a controlled force to the joints in the lower back region to introduce healthy, and proper motion. You may hear a popping or cracking sound but it is just as effective regardless of the noise or lack of. However, the treatment of low back pain is most effective when combined with exercise therapy.
Outside of carrying out spinal manipulation on patients with low back pain, chiropractors offer professional advice on the appropriate types of muscle-strengthening exercises that can be effectively combined with the spinal manipulation treatment.
By combining these exercises with spinal manipulation therapy, chiropractors help to increase the recovery rate from low back pain and ensure higher muscle strength and flexibility. IF you are treating with a chiropractor and are only having adjustments performed during your visits, you can and should be treated more thoroughly.
How we can help
We are consistently rated as one of the best chiropractors in Amarillo, and our compassionate team will not only help you with the best and most effective chiropractic treatment and exercise program, but we can also provide you with knowledge on how to take control of your health.
If you are in the Amarillo, TX area, now is a good time to call the only Fellowship-trained chiropractic orthopedist in all of West Texas west of the I-35 corridor.
Our staff is ready and prepared to get you better, faster, for good.
Dr. Jeff Williams, DC, FIANM is a Fellowship-trained Neuromusculoskeletal specialist and chiropractor in Amarillo, TX. As an Amarillo chiropractor, Dr. Williams treats chronic pain, disc pain, low back pain, neck pain, whiplash injuries, and more. Dr. Williams is also the host of The Chiropractic Forward Podcast. Through the podcast, Dr. Williams teaches fellow chiropractors and advocates weekly for evidence-based, patient-centered practice through current and relevant research. If you have any questions for Dr. Williams, feel free to email at [email protected]
Learn more about Dr. Williams and his practice at https://www.amarillochiropractor.com. Dr. Williams's full-time Amarillo chiropractic practice is Creek Stone Integrated Care at 3501 SW 45th St., Ste. T, Amarillo, TX 79109