Back pain affects almost everyone at some time, causing restricted movement and untold misery, stress and discomfort. It also causes millions of people to take valuable time off work, costing companies enormous sums in pay and lost production.
What causes back pain?
Poor lifting or incorrect carrying of heavy weights
Unsuitable seats or beds
Sports or other injury
General wear and tear
Chiropracticmanipulation has been recognised as highly effective in treating back pain, and the Royal College of General Practitioners issued guidelines for GP’s in 1996 that recommended manipulation within six weeks onset for the relief of acute low back pain.
Chiropractors are trained to identify and treat the specific cause of your back pain, and once you have been treated, they may also advise you in appropriate rehabilitation and maintenance care plan to prevent a recurrence.
The bones of your spine protect the spinal cord; the nerve roots lose their normal motion or position, this can irritate the nerve roots that branch from the spinal cord to the organs and issues of your body. Sciatica is a general term describing pain in the sciatic region, which extends from the base of the spine down the back and side of the leg. Unless there is a specific injury to the region, pain here is ‘referred’ from the areas. (The irritation of the nerve in one area can sometimes lead to pain, known as ‘referred’ pain, in other parts of the body.) The nerves that supply the sciatic region come from the lower back.
In order for the spine to be flexible, the vertebrae are joined together by soft tissue structures known as discs and ligaments. Each disc is made up of two parts – a central soft core and outer rings of tough cartilage. The disc allows movement and also helps to absorb shock. A slipped disc is the rather inaccurate term used to describe the condition, often in the lower back, where trauma or ‘ wear and tear’ have caused damage to the outer rings of cartilage, so that the core is squeezed outwards. This can eventually result in a bulge, which can press on the spinal cord, the nerve root or the nerve itself. It can cause excruciating pain, either in the back or referred elsewhere – for example in the lower leg or foot. Chiropractic treatment can mobilise the spine to reduce any inflammation around the spinal cord or nerves.
Trigger points (sometimes referred to as fibrosititis are very common and related to back pain. They occur in the neck or shoulders (often caused by bad posture or stress) or sometimes in the buttocks area at the base of the spine. Painful knots’ form within the muscles, which have gone into spasm – a reaction which the body triggers in order to tighten muscles round a problem area, to prevent further injury. This is why the condition so often occurs in patients who have had a back problem for some time.
Your chiropractor will therefore use manipulation to adjust the relevant joint, and also deep massage and soft tissue work to relieve the condition. Since the knots of muscle are often tender the soft tissue treatment may be painful at first.