Back pain is a common complaint that affects nearly 80% of people during their lives, most often in the lower back area. In many of these cases, the pain goes away in a few days or weeks with a little self-care, but for some the pain becomes chronic and can become debilitating. In fact, back pain is the leading cause of disability. The cost of lower back pain, including reduced productivity and lost wages, exceeds $100 billion a year. There are so many causes of low back pain that it can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
Lower back pain is generally classified as either acute or chronic. Acute back pain is defined as pain that lasts a short time. Pain can have a number of causes, including trauma, but is not always so easy to pinpoint. Sometimes it just happens as a result of bending or twisting the wrong way. Back pain can be complicated by factors such as arthritis, obesity, poor posture, and even everyday psychological stress. In some cases, back pain can be caused by seemingly unrelated issues such as kidney stones or infections, and bone loss due to osteoporosis or metastatic cancer.
Of course, preventing back pain is better than treating it once it occurs. You can avoid back pain by following these tips:
- Eat a healthy diet to minimize inflammation.
- Keep your weight under control, excess weight can aggravate pain.
- Stay active, being sedentary leads to loss of strength and flexibility, which can increase pain.
- Avoid prolonged bed rest, as too much time in bed can cause back pain.
- Warm up before engaging in any physical activity, not just exercise, but activities such as gardening.
- Work to improve your postures.
- Wear comfortable shoes with low heels and good support.
- Sleep on a firm mattress that supports your spine.
- Bend at the knees when lifting and don’t try to twist or stretch during the lift.
- If you smoke, quit. Smoking interferes with blood flow and prevents the spinal tissues from receiving adequate oxygen and nutrients.
- Be sure your desk or workstation is ergonomically set up. Your doctor or chiropractor can help you with this.
If pain persists more than a couple of weeks, patients should consider learning about at-home care techniques and exercises to help prevent future problems, and consider spinal adjustment if pain continues.
Chronic back pain can be trickier to treat. Long term use of pain relievers generally is little help to those with chronic low back pain, but nondrug therapies that include spinal adjustment can be helpful.
In most cases of lower back pain, relief can be found by staying active and using heat. In some cases, pain relievers can help, but these should be used with care, as they can actually make things worse over time. When these methods fail, a chiropractor can use spinal adjustment to ease pain and restore mobility.
Spinal adjustment involves a chiropractor using his or her hands or a device to apply controlled force to the spine and is intended to ease pain and improve function. Spinal adjustment is generally low risk when performed by a trained and licensed professional. While some patients may experience some discomfort for a day or two after treatment, side effects and risks are generally mild.
Spinal adjustment is just one of the ways a chiropractor can help ease mild to moderate lower back pain. Other options include exercise to strengthen the supporting muscles, massage, and physical therapy.
Call Spine Scan now on 08 9221 0402 to arrange an appointment to see how we can help ease your lower back pain.