by Dr Scott Jahn, DC, CPAK, TPIC
The holiday season is here, and everyone’s going into a frantic scurry once again. The increased stress of Gift-shopping, juggling social obligations both at home and at work, not to mention planning and managing all festive activities to make the best memories for family and friends—the last thing you need right now is to be slowed down by back pain.
Pain anywhere in your back alters your life. It changes your daily activities making it difficult to do simple tasks like going to the grocery store or cooking. It may even make you a bit depressed, irritable and unfit to enjoy the festivities. Age, lack of exercise, excess weight, overloading your spine, stress, and too many hours sitting can all result in low back pain.
According to The Lancet, low back pain is the number one source of disability in the world, affecting over 80% of the population at some point in their lives. If you’ve dealt with low back pain in the past, you understand just how much it can alter your daily life. Even merely standing up straight can feel like an incredibly impossible task.
The master system of the body
The fact is, your spine is a marvel of engineering and design. The curves in your neck, mid-back, and low back distribute the load of gravity just like the magnificent arches in Roman architecture. The spinal discs act as a natural shock absorption system that is both strong and flexible. And winding its way through it all is the spinal cord and nerve roots—the remarkable communication system within the body. Thus, keeping your back healthy is substantially more important than just avoiding aches and pains. A stable and supported back keeps the integrity of the nervous system which is essential to maintaining a high quality of life.
The care provided by chiropractors ranks at the top of many leading healthcare recommendations for relieving low back pain. Movement-based strategies like spinal adjustments, combined with spinal hygiene strength and stability exercises, and dynamic stretching have been shown to be extremely effective at reducing the low back issues because they reduce the pinching (or compression) on your spinal nerves.
Most low back pain occurs because the stress on a particular area of your spine has outweighed your body’s ability to adapt. If the stress on an area is too much then an injury such as sprains and strains and spinal disc bulges or herniations may occur. The pain can be so intense that many people think surgery is the only way to correct it. While in rare cases, that’s true, the permanent changes that surgery makes to your anatomy can cause a host of new problems in addition to the trauma and risks that inherently go along with surgery. These changes are referred to as “adjacent segment disease,” and they are the number one reason why people who have one surgery on their low back often have to repeat the process. In fact, over 25% of patients undergoing spine surgery may have complications.
Spinal discs play an essential role in your low back, acting as small shock absorbers and giving you the ability to move in many different directions. Your discs are comprised of two major parts: an outer ring of cartilage, which provides support, and a jelly-like center that facilities motion. As age and injuries catch up with us, the discs can herniate. A herniated disc occurs when the middle (the jelly) of the disc breaks through the outer wall, irritating a spinal nerve and causing severe pain in your back or leg. Researchers have found this most often occurs between the ages of 35-50.
A recent study found that chiropractic just as effective as surgery for disc issues in the low back, and that’s without any of the surgical risks. An estimated 60% of patients with sciatica benefited from spinal adjustments to the same degree as if they had received surgery. Not only are movement-based strategies good for providing fast relief, but emerging research shows that they may be able to offer a preventative effect when continued over time.
Medication vs Chiropractic adjustment
And what about those medications that mask the pain but fail to correct the problem?
Well, research has shown Chiropractic adjustment to be significantly better than many of the common drugs prescribed for back pain. Another study found that people with lumbar disc herniations had more relief (over 60%) with spinal adjustments than with spinal injections.
The days of taking drugs and medications for back pain are over. Prescriptions are now rarely recommended as a first option because of their dangerous side effects and, frankly, lack of results.
- The American College of Physicians supports chiropractic care for the treatment of back pain.
- Both Harvard Health and The Mayo Clinic have published numerous articles highlighting chiropractic and movement-based treatment options for low back pain relief.
- A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial found spinal adjustments to be superior to both placebo and NSAID’s in the care of low back pain.
- Periodic chiropractic visits may prevent future episodes of low back pain.
- Clinical care guidelines discourage the use of medication for low back pain due to the risks, dangers, and lack of results.
In our practice, our goal is to help you avoid unnecessary addictive drugs and risky medical procedures so that you can find health and healing naturally. We’re happy that major, trusted healthcare organizations have evolved to support natural ways to find relief from low back pain. If you or someone you know is struggling with back pain, reach out to us today. Our practice will provide you with a thorough evaluation to determine the source of your problem and the best unique care plan designed specifically to help you find relief. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the best care recommendations based on your goals and our findings. It’s how we believe healthcare should be delivered.
Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: Clinical Practice Guidelines. The American College of Physicians. 2017.
Prevention and Treatment of Low Back Pain: Evidence, Challenges, and Promising Directions. The Lancet. 2018.
Does Maintained Spinal Manipulation Therapy for Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain Result in Better Long-Term Outcome? Spine. 2011.
Spinal High-Velocity Low Amplitude Manipulation in Acute Nonspecific Low Back Pain. Spine. 2013.
Risk of Complications in Spine Surgery. Open Orthopaedics Journal. 2015.
Symptomatic MRI-Confirmed Lumbar Disk Herniation Patients: A Comparative Effectiveness Prospective Observational Study. JMPT. 2013.