Low Back Pain- The Problem

With Spring in full swing, it is time to get out and get active! The weather is getting warmer, the sun is shining brighter, and the outdoors are calling for us to come and play. It’s the perfect time to make sure our bodies are in great condition to do the things we love!

If you are experiencing pain or physical obstacles that may get in the way of your plans this Spring, we encourage you to seek a solution without letting the problem stop you from living the active lifestyle you desire. Never lose hope! There is a solution to relieve the pain and treat the underlying cause of the problem.

One common physical obstacle many people face is low back pain. In America, 31 million people experience low back pain at any given time. Experts estimate that 80% of people will experience this issue in their lives. Many of us can attest to this and know this struggle too well.

Why is this such a widespread problem and what is the cause?

Current medical research has renamed the diagnosis for low back pain as mechanical low back pain because there are many different structures in the low back that play into the problem. Low back pain arises when these many interrelated structures are not working together as they are supposed to, similar to the gears in a machine.

The main structures in the low back region include the lumbar vertebrae, sacrum, coccyx, and sacroiliac joints. These are knit together by the fascia, including muscle tendons and ligaments, to support and stabilize the structure. The core muscles also provide strength and support to the spine. This intricate design creates the center of our body structure and the most integral part of it. It is the working together of all these parts that allows us to move our bodies in diverse and beautiful ways.

This complex structure takes a lot of energy to maintain. Brain research has shown that 90% of the brain’s energy output is used in relating the physical body to gravity. And that is if our body structure is operating in correct alignment. If it is not, then we are using some of that extra 10% that should be used for thinking, metabolism, and healing.

In our almost 30 years of treating patients here at Health in Balance, we have found that the most common issue associated with low back pain is a lack of movement in the sacroiliac joints. These joints often become stuck and aren’t able to move at their full range of motion. Remember what happened to the tin man in the Wizard of Oz after he was working outside in a rainstorm? His joints rusted together and he could hardly move! Sometimes our sacroiliac joints act too much like the poor tin man.

What keeps the sacroiliac (SI) joints from moving like they are supposed to? It is due to a meshwork of scar tissue, adhesions and muscle spasms from previous injuries. Physiological research shows that we have all had layer upon layer of injuries since childhood. Every time we overstretch our back or lift something incorrectly or fall, our body will have an inflammatory response for the first 5 days. Then for the next 12 weeks, the body will go into the repair stage where it lays down scar tissue to help heal the affected tissues. If there isn’t appropriate movement and motion of the affected tissues while they are being healed, there will be an excess of scar tissue. This tissue is very contractile, limiting the range of motion in the area. This is the reason why it is so important to have rehab after an injury or surgery during the 12 weeks of the repair stage. This will help keep the area moving during the healing process, so that it doesn’t get bound up with scar tissue, leaving the area prone to arthritic calcification.

The more serious problems arise as a result of past injuries that are not taken care of. When one area of the low back is limited in motion due to excess scar tissue, it puts stress on other surrounding areas to move and stretch beyond their natural motion. This is what causes herniated discs and pinched nerves. The SI joints get locked up, and then the discs are forced to move and work beyond their capacity causing much damage.

Although low back pain is common and painful, the good news is that it is not without a solution. Read our next article on the solution to low back pain! We will let you know the steps to take in order to find relief so that you are able to do all the activities you love this Spring!

...learn more about how you can relieve the pain and find long term restoration:

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