Back Pain, Lower Back and Spine Pain
Chiropractic Treatment at Barnsley Chiropractic Clinic
What is the back/spine composed of?
- The spine is made up of 24 movable bones and 8 fused bones.
- The neck has 7 moveable bones, the mid back has 12 bones, and the low back has 5 movable bones.
- The sacrum has 5 fused bones.
- The Coccyx or tailbone is made up of 3 fused bones at the very bottom of the spine.
- In between the bones we have intervertebral discs which provide mobility and flexibility to the spine.
- There are also spinal ligaments which attach vertebral bones to other vertebral bones
- The tendons attach muscles to the spine and enable a contracting muscle to provide a force on the spine to move it in a given direction
- The lumbar spine is made up of the bottom 5 moveable vertebra. The low-back ideally should have a 35 degree curve between L1 and L5.
When the curve (lordosis) is in the correct position it enables the low back to function more like a spring distributing the weight amongst all of the joints. When there is a change in the low back curve (either too much or too little) it changes the forces through the low back, foucusing the stress into certain areas which are then more vulnerable to becoming misaligned, inflamed and irritated causing pain and discomfort.
How common is back pain?
Back pain is extremely common affecting 80 percent of people at some stage in their lifetime.
Symptoms of back pain
There are many different types of symptoms associated with back pain. Back pain may be very localised in the low back or it can radiate into the leg (Sciatica). The pain may be a dull ache or it can be very sharp. The severity of pain ranges from mild to extremely debilitating. The pain may be for short periods of time or it might become more continuous. The terms acute and chronic are often applied to back pain and they describe the duration of the symptom.
- Acute back pain - lasting less than six weeks
- Sub-acute back pain - lasting six weeks to three months
- Chronic back pain - lasting longer than three months
Causes of back pain
There are many potential causes of back pain. Some of the more common predisposing factors are:
- Poor posture
- Prolonged periods of time standing sitting or bending and twisting
- Lifting with poor technique especially whilst bending and rotating the low back
- Traumas such as accidents knocks and falls
- Emotional stress can be a trigger for back pain particularly in combination with other predisposing factors
- Obesity can change your posture and put more stress onto the back
Etiology of back pain
Back pain is very commonly the result of misaligned vertebra, strained muscles and sprained ligaments in the lower back area. These misalignments can create an area of inflammation and causes pain. Depending on the nature of the damage the pain may remain within a small area or it may radiate into the leg and this is commonly called sciatica.
Diagnosis of back pain
Assessment of back pain Your Barnsley chiropractor will conduct a thorough history of what exactly has caused the injury. this will include questions on
- The exact location of the pain
- Exacerbating and relieving factors
- Types of pain
- Referral of pain
- Family history etc
You will then be offered an in depth physical examination which will look at all of the following factors
- General posture and and flexibility
- Palpation may reveal muscle tenderness and tightness in the gluteal region and over the sacroiliac joints.
- There may be reduced active and passive range of motion
- Orthapedic tests may be positive
- Muscle tests to determine the extent of weakness
- Neurological assessment if required
- X-rays of the spine may be conducted depending on the extent of your problems and the examination findings
Your chiropractor will discuss with you exactly what examinations will be appropriate and will require your consent before undertaking an examination. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed then specific treatment options can be discussed.
Chiropractic management and treatment of back pain
Chiropractic care is a useful way of treating back pain. There are a number of different treatment modalities that your Barnsley chiropractor might consider.
- The main treatment a chiropractor would provide would be gentle spinal adjustments and or manipulation to the low back region and the spine as required to reduce inflammation and irritation to the nervous system.
- Massage, stretching and strengthening exercises for neck muscles are based on the specific muscles that are involved.
- Relative rest. it is important in the initial phase of treatment to reduce exercise and movements that aggravate the problem to minimum and reduce inflammation, whilst at the same time continuing with other activities that do not affect the condition such as swimmming and other low impact aerobic activities. this is a concept often termed relative rest.
- Ice. Ice can be applied to the neck to reduce the inflammation. this can be a frozen gel pack or simply a home made ice pack. It is recommended to use the ice for no longer than 10 minutes and to wrap it in a towel so as the ice is not directly in contact with the skin.