Back and general lumbar issues are probably the most common of the cause of disability, and reasons to stay home from work. It’s also one of the most frequently sought-after services in health care. Chiropractic is a viable option that has been used by millions of people over the last century, and clinical studies show it works well. Here’s what you need to know about chiro care for your whole back.
How can chiropractors help with back pain?
It is an efficient treatment to reduce upper and lower body pain. Chiropractic adjustments deliver improvement with headaches, migraines, and other types of issues.
A chiropractic adjustment is gentle but effective. Chiro’s focus on correcting alignment to allow your body to heal itself naturally from within along with overall health and wellness. Both short term and long term complaints benefit, while the nervous system can improve in its function with this holistic approach to self improvement.
Anatomy of the back
Your back is made up of the spine and other structures called a vertebral column. The vertebrae are divided into five regions: cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), lumbar (lower back), sacral and coccygeal (pelvic).
The spinal cord travels through the center of each vertebra and contains nerves that carry sensation and movement messages from the brain. It is the information highway that controls every function in you.
In addition to the spinal cord, there are other structures in your vertebral column that can be affected by injury or disease:
- Vertebral discs are cushions that are put between adjacent vertebrae, they act as shock absorbers and provide stability. There are two types of discs:
- Bulging discs occur when the inner part of a disc protrudes outwards through its outer covering, or annulus fibrosus. Back pain can be due to bulging discs but usually they don’t cause nerve compression unless they’re very large or severely degenerated.
- Herniated discs occur when material from inside an intervertebral disc pushes out through its outer covering (annulus) into your spinal canal. This can compress nerves in your spine causing pain, numbness and weakness in one or both legs.
Pain occurs when the structures in the back are damaged or under prolonged stress, like sitting at a computer or driving for extended periods.
Common causes of back complaints
The most common cause is poor posture, which can lead to a disc related problem. This is caused by sitting for too long or slouching over your computer all day at work, which can put stress on your discs.
For many, another cause is too much sitting, particularly if you sit at a desk job and then come home and sit down in front of the TV or computer again. Ageing (as we get older our joints become less flexible), genetics (if both parents have suffered from back problems then there’s an increased risk that their child will also have them), obesity (obesity puts extra stress on joints) strain & stress caused by working long hours without breaks – leading towards fatigue in muscles which leads onto tension headaches etc…
If you have pain, it’s important to get it checked out by a chiro. The most common direct causes are:
- Injury to the body and tissue that make up your spine.
- Muscle spasms in your lower back
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis)
- Disc degeneration – As we age, our discs can become degenerative, causing them to bulge or herniate (herniation). The pressure put stress on nearby nerves causing pain in the lower back area.
- Stress or muscle tension headaches or migraines
The back is a musculoskeletal system in which each muscle, ligament, and vertebra must work together to provide stability and support. Pain in this region is common because of its susceptibility to injury, especially if your occupation or lifestyle requires frequent lifting or bending.
Role of posture in back health
Posture is a key component to back health and wellness. In fact, good posture is essential for maintaining optimal alignment and supporting the body’s weight. Poor posture can lead to muscle strain, and often is a major cause of low back pain, by creating extra pressure on the structures of the back.
If you find yourself slouching over your computer or phone all day long, it may be time to get an adjustment. Your doctor will take baseline postural photos to establish where you are currently at during an initial appointment. These will be compared to your results during a re-evaluation visit sometime in the future.
What happens at an appointment?
At your appointment, the doctor will ask about your affliction and perform a physical exam. They may use an x-ray machine to look at body or other diagnostic tools like ultrasound or MRI. The chiropractor will locate the source of pain and may perform a manipulation for that area in order to relieve it. This is called an “adjustment”. The doctor may also adjust specific areas using his/her hands (called “manipulation”) or using small tools such as an activator which is ideal when patients are uncomfortable with noises or too painful to be moved through their full range of motion.
After the adjustments he/she might show you how to do exercises at home that will strengthen and increase flexibility so it won’t cause further problems down the road.
When to visit a chiropractor
If you’re suffering from acute and chronic pain, it’s likely that you’ve tried many different types therapy and treatments to alleviate your discomfort. However, if your symptoms have not improved after two weeks or if they continue to worsen over time (even with therapy), it may be time for you to see a professional.
Chiropractors have advanced training in treating the anatomy, biomechanics and physiology of the entire body (up to eight years of university). They will create an individualized treatment plan to identify and correct any structure that may be causing or contributing to your issues. Chiro care can safely and effectively relieve your symptoms so you can get back to feeling your best. We have been helping patients with all different types of back problems for years.
Takeaway: Pain and injury do not have to be permanent. There is hope!
The risks of surgical intervention
If you’d like to avoid any unnecessary drugs and surgery or injections consider this. You might be surprised by how many complications can arise from them including:
- Blood clots in the legs or lungs
- Infection at the site of incision
- Nerve damage (this can lead to loss of feeling in parts of your body)
- Deformity (your spine may not heal properly)
Problems responding to chiropractic care?
Manual care can be effective to treat a wide range of conditions, including:
- Tension headaches
- Anxiety, stress
- Neck pain
- Joint pain (like knees and ankles, shoulders elbows and wrists)
- Pain in the muscles, tendons and ligaments
- Chronic lower back pain
- Sports injuries
- Overuse injuries
- and many more
As part of the chiropractic treatment for your issues, you will receive education about staying healthy, posture correction, diet and exercise options, as well as information on injury prevention. Your doctor will work with you to find the causes of your pain using a full body assessment.
The doctor will use gentle, non-invasive chiropractic techniques that affect the back, areas on the spine and even the nervous system and rest of your body. These techniques are designed to help you support and rebalance your body for pain relief and allow the natural healing process to take place. The goal of the total care plan is not just to alleviate the discomfort but to find the origin and correct it to prevent future episodes, without surgical intervention.
The ultimate goal is to remove interference, and improve function without the need for additional interventions. Based on the millions of people seeing what an adjustment can do every day, they must be doing something right. Because chiro care is so efficient for relieving back problems and other conditions without drugs and surgery it’s no wonder that more and more people are seeking out this type of care. If you and maybe someone you know have been struggling with back issues for a long time, then it may be time to consider doing something about it. You are welcome to have a free chat with one of our staff, to apply for an appointment with Embody Chiropractie: If you like what you hear, we can plan you in for a treatment.
Side note: Chiro care is also supported by research from the vrije universiteit Amsterdam. Check some of the research here: access to document.