Low back pain is a common condition that I treat daily.
Did you know that over any three month period of time 50% of the adults will experience low back pain during a year.
Looking at the anatomy of the spine there two areas we concern ourselves with. The front of the spine/vertebral column which are large round shaped blocks called the body of the vertebra. Between the body are shock absorbing discs. These intervertebral discs are composed of an outer layer that is very tough and an inner circle layer that is more jelly like.
The middle part of the vertebra is where the spinal cord runs. Between each vertebra the spinal chord branches off with one branch going each direction much like a tree branches off.
The posterior/back part of the vertebra surrounds the spinal cord and protects it. The back of the vertebra connect with the ones above and below with joints that are called facet joints. These facets allow motion of bending in all directions.
As we work our way down the spine the lumbar spine sits atop our sacrum which is commonly called the pelvis.
The sacrum is also often referred to as our tail bone area. The sacrum sits between two bones known as our ilium’s. Together we often refer to these as the SI joints. Research shows they can be responsible for up to 30% of low back pain.
As you can see there are a lot of joints that can cause pain. The most serious cause of pain can be when the disc has issues. The outer touch area can tear allowing the inner jelly like material to ooze through the tear’s. This material stimulates nerves within the outer area and causes pain. The nucleus material can even cause a bulge of the disc, much like you may have seen a tire bulge on a car. Sometimes the material even breaks through the outer layer. We call this a herniated disc.
Lumbar disc herniation’s often hurt when a person is sitting down or when forward bending. The reason for this is as you sit or forward bend you shift your bodies center of gravity to the disc area of the spine. This puts up to 300 times more pressure on the disc itself.
A herniated disc can put pressure onto the nerve branches that exit between each vertebra. These branches from the low back run the hips and legs. The most common branch is the sciatic nerve. When pressure is on the sciatic nerve people have a condition called sciatica which often has pain running down the back of the leg to the foot. The muscles that are run by the sciatic nerve can become week and dysfunctional. A common cause of foot drop in which your unable to lift your foot while walking.
Chiropractic care analyzes the nerve function and the spinal movements looking for abnormalities. We develop a plan of care to help the body remove nerve pressure and improve motion of the dysfunctional joints. We also develop plan’s to teach you how to exercise your low back in a proper manner in order for you to be able to help yourself. Chiropractic and exercises is proven to be very effective as a non surgical approach to lumbar disc issues.