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Low Back Pain- In a Nutshell

Dealing with low back pain can be frustrating and confusing because what works for some may not work for you. The type of therapy that will be most effective depends mostly on what is causing the pain. In order to better understand your treatment options, it’s important to consider the different tissues that can be injured.

Structures of the Spine

There are essentially four different structures of the spine that can be injured and cause low back pain. Discs are the cushions in between vertebrae that allow us to be mobile. Over time they can become injured and basically wear down. Joints are where bones come together. There are small joints along the vertebrate in your spine and larger joints such as the in the hip; any of which can become restricted and cause pain. Muscles are the movers of the body and can develop trigger points or knots and muscle spasms. This is generally a protective response of the body but can often cause discomfort without correcting the problem. Nerves are the body’s communication system; they send and receive messages to and from the brain. One common problem with nerves is sciatica (pain in the hip that goes down leg).

Leading Causes of Pain

Back pain could be brought on by a variety of things including a car accident, sports related injury, bad posture, muscular imbalances, and -most commonly- instability. Instability can be categorized as not having enough strength in the muscles to support the spine and often leads to some kind of pain on its own but also makes the spine more susceptible to other injuries as well.

Effective Therapies

Step one in combatting low back pain is usually building strength in the surrounding muscles, however, knocking out a bunch of crunches and situps could actually make it worse. You need the right movements, stretches, or

exercises in order to progress safely and effectively. Different problems require different therapies so it’s important to fully understand what is causing the pain in order to treat it appropriately.

For disc related pain inversion tables, decompression, and Mckenzie extension have been found to be very effective. Some people resort to invasive measures to early in treatment as disc bulges and herniations can slowly heal themselves with the right treatment. Read more about Naturally Healing a Disc Bulge or Pinched Nerve.

Joint pain is often brought on by muscular imbalances, instability, and immobility. Adjustments can be beneficial but can not treat the problem on their own. Generally strengthening exercises are recommended in treating the root of the problem.

Muscles are usually a big part of the solution when it comes to back pain. Unfortunately, muscles have a few problems of their own including spasms and trigger points. Muscle spasms serve as a protective response to something else being injured or weakened. A combination of strengthening, adjustments, coordination stretches are recommended.. Trigger points are pin-point areas where muscle has tightened up dramatically because surrounding muscles are inhibited or weak. Massage is effective for the short term but usually doesn’t last. A combination of myofascial release and strengthening is recommended.

Nerve pain or pinched nerves can be caused by inflammation of the nerve or even stiffening of the nerve. There are several different strategies to treating these issues including decompression, and perhaps most effective, nerve mobilization/neurodynamics. This is a therapy that essentially re-aligns the nerve and alleviates tension.

To learn more about your different therapy options contact us!