Dealing with low back pain is extremely common. It has been estimated that an astonishing eight out of ten people in the developed world experience low back pain at some point in their lives.
The Straits Times reported in 2017 that pain costs Singapore more than $8 billion each year, while the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute estimated that work-ergonomic problems result in an economic loss of $3.5 billion a year to Singapore. With 2020 being the year of working from home, the unergonomic setup of home workstations is likely to cause this number to grow further.
The most common forms of treatment, spinal surgery, opioid-based painkillers, steroid injections, and muscle relaxants, provide only temporary relief for most people and can cause significant harm to many others.
Chances are, you have been struck by this very common ailment. Thousands of people with low back pain have sought our help in our chiropractic centres. You may be currently experiencing pain in your lower back, and you are researching your options. Maybe chiropractic care is the right approach for you.
Chiropractic offers a unique approach to helping people with low back feel better and function better. At the same time, the pain that a person experiences may be the proverbial tip of the iceberg of a much more complex health problem.
Ignoring Your Pain is a Recipe for a Crisis
It’s an unfortunate fact: most people do not focus on improving their health until they are faced with a significant problem—often an outright crisis. Experiencing low back pain is often an initial motivator for people to seek help.
It may be that YOU are also dealing with pain, and looking for ways to solve it.
If you are indeed dealing with low back pain, the worst thing you can do is to ignore the problem and think that the symptom will go away on its own. However, that is exactly what most people will choose to do, or they may pop pills to temporarily alleviate the pain they are suffering from. They ignore the deeper issue, and may potentially worsen the situation they are in.
Pain and symptoms are part of your body’s natural warning system. These signals can tell you that it is time to make a change in your life because your actions, habits and choices have thrown your health out of balance. This essential, innate warning system (pain) is operated by your nervous system, of which the main channel is protected by your spine.
There is a critical link between the health and alignment of your spine and the function and performance of your nervous system.
If you are dealing with low back pain, it is time to take action.
Your Low Back Needs to be Aligned to be Healthy
The structural alignment and the movement of your lumbar spine are the most important factors that determine how your lower back feels. Your back needs to be strong and supportive, and the alignment of your spinal bones determines the strength of your spine.
When seen from the side, your lower back (lumbar spine) needs to be curved forward. From behind, your lumbar spine needs to be straight, and your pelvis should be level.
Here are examples below:
When your lower back has this optimal alignment, you will have good flexibility, proper posture, balanced weight distribution, very little muscle tension, and limited low back pain.
Good spinal alignment will also lead to healthy discs, ligaments and nerves in your lumbar spine.
Simply stated: an aligned spine will be healthy, strong, and resilient.
Lower Back Pain Causes
A wide variety of potential causes of lower back pain exist, but most people suffer from long-term episodes of aches and pains. The pain may come and go and the intensity the pain may vary as well. For most people dealing with this common challenge, the pain is a chronic problem—a continual reminder that something is wrong—over a long period of time.
Usually, the pain-causing culprit is dysfunction in the movement and alignment of your spine bones.
Simply stated, stress, traumas, and injuries throughout your life can often impact the bones of your spine cause them to misalign. This misalignment problem will lead to restricted and abnormal movement as well as irritation to the related structures, like your muscles, ligaments, discs, and most critically your nerves associated with that area.
Over time, that dysfunction-caused irritation will cause an inflammatory response through your nerve system. This uncomfortable inflammation is what you feel.
Imagine if you were to sprain your ankle. Your ankle would become swollen, painful, red, hot, and you would not be able to move it very much. A very similar process unfolds when you injure your lumbar spinal joints. Inflammation sets in which causes you to feel pain.
Often specific movements like sitting, bending, changing position, or standing for a long period of time will make the pain worse because as that activity is likely stressing the injured/ misaligned and inflamed lumbar spinal region.
If the misaligned spinal region is causing excessive pressure to your nerve root, this may cause the numbness and tingling that people often feel as their low back flares up with pain.
Spinal dysfunction (misalignment), nerve irritation, and related inflammation is what causes most cases of low back pain.
Management of Low Back Pain
In the next several posts and article, we will discuss a wide variety of important topics that can help you to understand your low back pain better, take effective action, and most importantly, feel better fast.
Is chiropractic the answer you have been looking for? The first step to see if chiropractic is right for you is to schedule a spinal checkup to evaluate the health and alignment of your spine.
Watch this space for more to come!