Low Back Pain
Are you suffering from low back pain?
Find Your Solution!
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 Complex Structure of the Lower Back Region
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.
The SI Joint
In our 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.
The first step to solving low back pain is to determine the diagnosis.
We must either discover or rule out the most severe or significant diagnosis first - is there a likelihood of disc herniation, disc degeneration, disc bulge, bone spurring, a spinal tumor, stenosis or degenerative changes? This question can be determined through the appropriate orthopedic and neurological tests including X-rays and/or an MRI if needed.
The second step is to look for movement and motion of the sacroiliac (SI) joints and lumbar spine.
The SI joints are the biggest joints in body and with every step we take, they should be moving at 100% of their function and motion. If they are not, then other tissues have to compensate for the lack of movement. This creates abnormal mechanics in which other tissues are pressured to move more than they were designed to. This can be likened to the players on a football team. If the offensive line doesn’t do its job, the quarterback and running backs get crushed. The same thing happens to the lower back tissues when the SI joints don’t perform as they should.
The next step is to check for muscle spasms and adhesions.
If the structures in the low back aren’t moving as they are supposed to due to spasms or adhesions, the joint mechanics won’t be normal and pain will eventually arise. At Health in Balance, we are able to help ease muscle spasms, break up adhesions and increase movement in the joints through trigger point injections, deep muscle stimulation, massage therapy, the active release technique, stretching, gentle chiropractic adjustments, structural therapy, and Graston technique (the use of small metal tools to break up the adhesions in scar tissue). When our joints are moving, they function better and pain decreases. When our joints aren’t moving, they begin to fuse. Here at Health in Balance we create motion, for where there is movement, there is life!
The next step is to look at entire posture of the body.
We focus on postural correction and stability through chiropractic biophysics. If one's posture is out of alignment, many other health challenges follow. One of the big postural problems we see in many patients is the neck being too far forward. Many people today have lost the a significant amount of curve in their neck. This can be due to job activities which involve looking down often or simply the habit of looking down at one’s phone repeatedly throughout the day. Our examinations will check to see if the head is too far forward because this in turn puts a significant amount of pressure on the low back. There are several other postural distortions that we identify and work to restore to normal placement. We specialize in spinal and postural restoration in order to not only relieve pain, but also restructure and stabilize your body's alignment so that healing lasts.
The Road to Restoration
This leads into the next steps of the journey: get out of pain, restore flexibility, restore postural stability, strengthen, and engage in power related sports. Through this process, you will be back to a place of optimal health, able to engage in the activities you love without the causing pain or greater harm to your body. It is important to go through this journey of recovery before pushing one’s body too far. If you are strengthening and engaging in power related sports with a loss of flexibility and mobility or postural disturbances, it is only a matter of time before you will be in pain.
Throughout the journey of healing at Health in Balance, we will combine the services that are best for you. These could include chiropractic care, joint and muscle therapy, deep muscle stimulation, active release technique, Graston technique, trigger point injections, electrical stimulation, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, postural correction, non-surgical spinal decompression, corrective exercises and home care activities, massage therapy, and applied kinesiology. We combine the best of many healthcare disciplines and cutting edge technologies in order to provide you with the services you need in order to recover.
It's Time to Take Action
Now that you have reviewed the map for your journey of healing, it is time to take the actual steps to walk towards freedom from low back pain! At Health in Balance, we love to help our patients gain control of their health once again and enjoy what they love to do.
If you or someone you know is struggling from low back pain, we would love to help in the healing process! We have seen many people recovery from this challenge and we want to see the same for you.
Relieve your back pain and enjoy full restoration!