Understanding Lower Back Pain and How Chiropractic Care Can Help

Your lower back is designed to provide strength, flexibility and support to your upper body. So it’s no surprise that your lower back is highly sensitive to injury and pain from everyday life. Lower back pain can occur from a wide range of causes, and the pain can vary in severity. Lower back injuries may be mild and annoying and eventually work up to being severe and debilitating. In fact, lower back pain is the most common complaint among Americans. Achy and dull pain, burning, or spasms in your lower back shouldn’t be ignored because at any time the mild pain can become a debilitating injury.

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

Almost everyone will experience back pain at some point in their lives. In the majority of situations, the pain is centered in the lower back, and as many as 10 percent of people with lower back pain develop chronic pain. Your lower back is a primary target for pain because it bears most of the strain and stress of daily life, and the weight of your upper body also puts a lot of stress on your back. Your spine works to support all of your upper body weight and is made up of over 30 vertebrae. Between each of the vertebrae are spongy pieces of cartilage known as spinal discs that help to absorb impact, keep your spine aligned and prevent the vertebrae bones from rubbing together.

If your spine is misaligned, these discs can herniate, which happens when the cushiony filling of the disc pushes through the outer portion of the vertebrae. When this happens, it can put extensive pressure on the nerves running through your spine and cause extreme pain. Discs can also wear and shrink, often due to lost moisture that occurs with age, which leads to a condition known as degenerative disc disease. When a herniated or slipped disc in your lower back puts pressure on the nerve, it can cause extreme pain, numbness, or tingling that radiates to the buttocks and down your leg in a condition known as sciatica.

While degenerated or damaged discs are most often the cause for lower back pain, there is a wide range of other conditions that may also lead to pain in your lower back, including:

  • Strains and sprains: Strains and sprains often cause lower back pain in those who are inactive most of the week but attempt to do high-impact activities at the end of the week. Therefore, it’s not recommended to avoid exercise throughout the week and then overdo it during the weekend. Overstretching the ligaments and muscles in your back can cause small tears that cause inflammation, swelling and pain.
  • Spinal stenosis: Stenosis occurs when the space surrounding the spinal cord that houses the nerves becomes narrow, which puts pressure on the nerves. This is typically caused by bone spurs that develop as a result of osteoarthritis.
  • Spondylitis: Wear and tear of the joints and ligaments of your spine make it difficult for the spine to maintain its normal position. When vertebrae shift more than they should, they may slide on top of each other, which can cause the bone to put excess pressure on the spinal nerves.
  • Vertebral fractures: This is often caused by osteoporosis or brittle bones.
  • Scoliosis: This is an abnormal curvature of the spine, which can cause significant pain in your back.

How Can a Chiropractor Help With Lower Back Pain?

Chiropractic care can be the ideal way to manage and relieve pain and swelling caused by lower back pain. Chiropractic care allows you to receive back pain treatment that is a safe, noninvasive and nonaddictive alternative to prescription medications. One of the most common ways a chiropractor can help is through a technique known as adjustments. When your spine is misaligned, it can make moving difficult, cause significant pain or cause impairment in nerve function. A chiropractic adjustment can be done either manually or with the help of specialized tools. In addition to relieving your pain, your chiropractor can relieve muscle stress around your spine, help increase your range of motion and improve your muscle strength in the lower back. Chiropractic techniques for lower back pain may include:

  • Spinal manipulation, which is the most common method a chiropractor uses to relieve lower and upper back pain. This technique, also known as manipulative therapy or spinal adjustment, helps to realign the spine and the surrounding muscles without surgical intervention. Spinal manipulation involves the chiropractor using controlled force to the joints that are restricting movement caused by tissue injury. Tissue injuries can be the result of a trauma, such as lifting a heavy object, or the result of repetitive stress, such as sitting for hours in an awkward position at your desk. By realigning the vertebrae that have moved out of position, there is reduced pressure on the nerves, which gives your spine the space it needs to flex and bend without pain.
  • Massage is also often used for lower back pain. Massage therapy is often combined with spinal manipulation, active release technique and trigger point therapy. Active release technique involves breaking up any scar tissue that may have developed in the muscles or soft tissue from overuse. When scar tissue hardens, it sometimes pulls on muscles, causing pain. Trigger point therapy is similar to active release technique because it targets the muscle knots that have developed from overuse. By working through these knots, you will have relief with your back pain.
  • Physical therapy is often recommended after receiving a spinal adjustment in order to help you strengthen your back, core and stomach muscles and to help keep your spine aligned and in good health.

If you are struggling with lower back pain that impacts your daily life, seeing a chiropractor is a safe and effective way to manage the pain. Chiropractic treatment is a natural way to treat many forms of back pain, including lower pain in the back resulting from a slipped disc or spinal misalignment. In many situations, the best way to manage lower back pain is by adopting lifestyle changes, such as changing your diet and incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine. Your chiropractor can provide a range of recommendations for lifestyle changes that will be beneficial for decreasing back pain.

Contact Cultivate Chiropractic today to learn more about the benefits of chiropractic care for lower back pain and to schedule your consultation.

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204 8th Street Southeast #Ste A Altoona, IA 50009

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Contact

Cultivate Chiropractic

Office

Hours

Monday
Morning
9:00 - 12:30
Afternoon
3:00 - 6:00
Wednesday
Morning
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Afternoon
3:00 - 6:00
Thursday
Morning
9:00 - 12:30
Afternoon
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