Back pain generally begins with an altered relationship (misalignment) between two adjacent vertebrae which is called a subluxation. This subluxation causes an increased strain, as well as a loss of motion in the gliding joints of the spine. These gliding joints (facets) are found in pairs, along the entire spine, and their function is to allow for movement and flexibility of the spine. When these facet joints are affected by trauma or repeated stress from mild to excessive strenuous work, home, or sports activities, heredity, weakened or deconditioned muscles, and the inevitable aging process, low back and/or leg pain is commonly experienced.
Degenerative or decaying changes in the disc or an altered function (misalignment) in the facet joints, contribute significantly to the “wear-and–tear” process, placing severe strain upon the spine. An osteoarthritic spine or misaligned spine becomes less flexible, and therefore becomes more vulnerable to injury. A simple unexpected or forced movement, physically heavy work, improper posture, frequent bending or lifting all can produce strain and injury to these facet joints.
Chiropractic care, which usually includes spinal adjustments (manipulations) and physiologic therapeutics such as ice, heat, rehabilitative exercises, and nutritional advice helps to reduce pain, and muscle spasm, and correct the cause of the problem. It is important to follow the specific instructions of Dr. Laurie regarding work activity, leisure activity, exercise program, weight control, occupational factors, and frequency of visits in order to achieve the optimum relief and correction for your back pain and to help prevent recurrence.
When recovering from a back sprain or strain, subluxation or acute disc injury, the following are recommended:
1. Do not apply heat unless instructed by your chiropractor. (heat is for stiffness ONLY, almost NEVER for pain.)
2. Do not take baths or hot tubs with acute low back pain until instructed to do so.
3. Do not sleep on a soft bed. In most instances a firm bed is preferable. A tip when getting out of bed is to turn to your side, attempt to place your feet on the floor, push yourself to a sitting position, attempting to keep your back straight. This often helps to ease the distress of getting out of bed.
4. Do not sleep on your abdomen. Sleep on your side with one or both knees slightly bent. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to relieve the strain on you lower back.
5. Do not sit on soft or deep chairs or sofas.
6. Do not walk up or down stairs more than absolutely necessary. Do not walk on rough terrain.
7. Do not lift heavy objects. When lifting, bring objects close to you, using your legs in lifting, not your back. Do not turn your head while lifting.
8. Do not stoop forward with knees straight. Squat down, using your knees and strong leg muscles, not your back.
9. Do not stand in one spot for long periods of time. If it is necessary, such as when ironing, keep one foot on a low stool to help relieve the strain to your low back. Alternate your right and left leg periodically. The stool can be 4” to 6” high and adjusted to your comfort.
10. Do not drive during the acute pain state. Try to have a family member or friend drive you to the office until you ask your doctor about driving yourself.
11. Do not engage in any exercise program without consulting your chiropractor.
12. If you are taking any over-the-counter medications or prescription pain medication, be certain to inform your doctor of chiropractic.
13. Use ice ONLY according to instruction.
14. Consult our office promptly.
Many severe attacks of back pain develop from something as insignificant as bending over a bathroom sink, reaching to pick up some small item, sneezing, or stepping awkwardly. Usually, a series of small incidents leads up to the cause of the back injury. Heavy lifting, falls or awkward strains, and old auto accidents are early precipitating factors in many back injuries. Most patients will usually remember some incident after they have had time to think about past accidents, falls, or they have been reminded by family or friends.
Faulty spinal dynamics are also often a cause of severe back pain. Faulty spinal alignment (subluxation), over a period of time, will cause gradual weakening of disc fibers and other ligaments. In this weakened condition, sometimes all it may take to cause severe back pain is the leverage of a simple movement, such as reaching into the cupboard to create an episode of pain. When such an incident occurs.
1. Lie down immediately in any position that is comfortable. Lying on your side with knees drawn up (fetal position) with a pillow between your knees provides a comfortable position. Care should be taken to keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine.
2. Use ice. If you do not have a soft gel ice pack, you can use an item from your freezer. Even more helpful is to freeze water in a Styrofoam cup and peel away an inch of the cup and rub the ice over the injured area as an ice massage. Use the ice for 20 minutes ONLY. This may hurt at first, but after several minutes, the area will become desensitized and you will feel less discomfort. Utilizing ice for less than 15 minutes will significantly diminish the effectiveness. Reapply ice as directed usually 4-6 times per day, with one hour between applications. Do not keep ice directly on the area for longer than 25 minutes as this will impair circulation and cause additional complications. Do not place an ice pack directly on the skin, use a thin cloth.
3. Call your doctor of chiropractic and make arrangements to go to the office as soon as possible. In some cases, it may be suggested that you remain at home and use some “first aid” measures suggested by your doctor, such as ice applications, massage, supports, simple exercises or other suggestions based upon your doctor’s recommendations.
4. Do not sit in a soft recliner or soft sofa or overstuffed chair, as this may aggravate your condition and make it difficult for you to get out of the chair. It is advisable to use a straight back chair with two arms to provide support getting into and out of the chair. A small pillow behind your low back may provide some additional comfort.
5. A walker is very helpful in providing support and balance while standing and walking.
6. Maintain a positive outlook. Conservative chiropractic care is the most effective care for most back injury conditions. However, it takes time for the body to heal, so be patient.
Back pain and musculoskeletal problems account for an estimated 95 million doctor visits a year in the U.S., ranking fifth among all disorders that send people to a doctor. Back pain is the leading cause of disability of people under the age of 45 and the second leading cause of absenteeism from work (after the common cold). An estimated 80% of Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Of back pain sufferers, 85% indicate the lower back as the primary pain site.
Impairment due to back/spine problems is most prevalent among people aged 45-64. However, of children aged 7-17, 16% currently experience low back pain, 33% have experienced it previously, and 10% have suffered a back-pain-related disability, according to-the Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine. However, a survey of 605 conventional family physicians practicing in Washington state found that 42% felt themselves to be poorly trained in managing lower back pain,
Chiropractic is increasingly regarded as a therapy of first choice for back pain. A British survey of 741 low-back- pain patients undergoing either conventional hospital care or chiropractic treatment showed that 63% said the hospital care helped and 37% said it didn't, compared to 82% who said chiropractic helped, and only 18% who said it didn't, according to the British Medical Journal (August 1995).
The study also showed that, 29% more patients improved with chiropractic care over a three-year period than those under hospital care.
Regular exercise and physical activity are widely recommended as part of a back-pain reduction program. The very best form of exercise is super slow. Ask us how?
The fact is Chiropractic is by far the best and most successful type of care for people suffering with headaches, neck and back pain. Be preventative. Get adjusted.