Why is lower back pain so common? This question has plagued all of us, including researchers for a long time! Could it be because we’re all inherently lazy and don’t exercise enough? Or maybe it’s because we have a job that’s too demanding on our back? To properly address this question, here are some interesting facts:
The prevalence of low back pain (LBP) is common, as 70-85% of ALL PEOPLE have back pain that requires treatment of some sort at some time in life. On a yearly basis, the annual prevalence of back pain averages 30% and once you have back pain, the likelihood of recurrence is high. Back pain is the most common cause of activity limitation in people less than 45 years of age. Back pain is the 2nd most frequent reason for physician visits, the 5th ranking reason for hospital admissions, and is the 3rd most common cause for surgical procedures. About 2% of the US workforce receives compensation for back injuries annually. Similar statistics exist for other countries, including the UK and Sweden.
So, what are the common links as to why back pain is so common? One reason has to do with the biomechanics of the biped – that is, the two legged animal. When compared to the 4-legged species, the vertically loaded spine carries more weight in the low back, shows disk and joint deterioration and/or arthritis much sooner, and we overload the back more frequently because, well, we can!
We have 2 free arms to lift and carry items that often weigh way too much for our back to be able to safely handle. We also lift and carry using poor technique. Another reason is anatomical as the blood supply to our disks is poor at best, and becomes virtually non-existent after age 30. That makes healing of disk tears or cracks nearly impossible. Risk factors for increased back injury include heavy manual lifting requirements, poor or low control of the work environment, and prior incidence of low back pain. Other risk factors for lower back pain include psychosocial issues such as fear of injury, beliefs that pain means one should not work, beliefs that treatment or time will not help resolve a back episode, the inability to control the condition, high anxiety and/or depression levels, and more. Because there are so many causes for lower back pain , since the early 1990’s, it has been strongly encouraged that we as health care providers utilize a “biopsychosocial model” of managing those suffering with low back pain, which requires not only treatment but proper patient education putting to rest unnecessary fears about back pain.
Inversion therapy is a great home therapy for lower back pain. I recommend a good quality table like the one below. The company has a great track record for safety and effectiveness.
Yoga for Sciatica
The Columbus Chiropractors recommend yoga for sciatica for their patients who have low back problems.
This program includes 13 routines to help restore proper function to the entire back. These safe and gentle exercises increase mobility and reduce pain. This beautifully filmed DVD features five 15 minute & five 30 minute routines for the upper back, sciatic pain, bulging disk and sacro-iliac joint pain. Each condition is addressed separately, so you will get the proper care for your condition. There is also a general back maintenance routine in three time options (17, 32, & 44 min.) as well as a 20 min. Chair Yoga routine and a short Guided Meditation for relaxation.
Whatever the level of your pain, or if you just want to strengthen your back, this program has the safe and appropriate therapy for you! If you are not sure exactly what type of back pain you have, this DVD also explains the different types so you can have a better understanding of your pain. Filmed in Santa Barbara, California in high definition.
As always, talk to your doctor or chiropractor before starting any exercise program
We also recommend Yoga For Low Back Pain for home therapy to help with your lower back pain. Or if you live in the Columbus Ohio Area we recommend Unfloding Heart Yoga.
We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for lower back pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future. Please feel free to call Capital City Chiropractic in the Columbus Ohio area at 614-436-3870 24 hours per day to make an appointment! If you are not in the Columbus Ohio area please Click Here to find a doctor in your area.
Lower Back Pain Causes
From Dr. Bryan Schuetz, Capital City Chiropractic in Columbus Ohio.
Lower back pain causes can emanate from many anatomical locations (as well as a combination of locations), which always makes it interesting when a patient asks, “…doc, where in my back is my pain coming from?” In context of an office visit, we take an accurate history and perform our physical exam to try to reproduce symptoms to give us clues as to what tissue(s) may be the primary pain generators.
In spite of our strong intent to be accurate on diagnosing lower back pain, did you know, regardless of the doctor type, there is only about a 45% accuracy rate when making a low back pain diagnosis? This is partially because there are many tissues that can be damaged or injured that are innervated by the same nerve fibers and hence, clinically they look very similar to each other.
In order to improve this rather sad statistic on lower back pain causes, in 1995 the Quebec Task Force published research reporting that accuracy could be improved to over 90% if we utilize a classification approach where low back conditions are divided into 1 of 3 broad categories:
These include dangerous conditions such as cancer, infection, fracture, cauda equina syndrome (which is a severe neurological condition where bowel and bladder function is impaired). These conditions generally require emergency care due to the life threatening and/or surgical potential.
Mechanical back pain
These diagnoses include facet syndromes, ligament and joint capsule sprains, muscle strains, degenerative joint disease (also called osteoarthritis), and spondylolisthesis.
Nerve Root compression
These conditions include pinching of the nerve roots, most frequently from herniated disks. This category can include spinal stenosis (SS) or, combinations of both, but if severe enough where the spinal cord is compromised (more commonly in the neck), SS might then be placed in the 1st of the 3 categories described above.
The most common category is mechanical back pain of which “facet syndrome” is the most common condition. This is the classic patient who over did it (“The Weekend Warrior”) and can hardly get out of bed the next day.
These lower back pain causes can include tearing or stretching of the capsule surrounding the facet joint due to performing too many bending, lifting, or twisting related activities. The back pain is usually localized to the area of injury but can radiate down into the buttocks or back of the thigh and can be mild to very severe.
We realize you have a choice in who you choose to provide your healthcare services. If you, a friend or family member requires care for low back pain causes, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.
Lower Back Pain When Standing
Do you have low back pain when standing?
There are a few reasons that low back pain can be aggravated when standing, but the most common reason is because the extra weight applied to the spine when standing will tend to aggravate an underlying spinal condition such as a Disc Bulge, pinched nerve, or scoliosis.
So when you are overweight it will cause an even greater increase in pressure to the spine. Even though weight loss is very important when you have low back pain when standing, it can be very challenging for patients because it takes commitment to achieve long term success and being in pain means it is hard to do any exercise. Sure, we can lose weight with the Adkins Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, the South Beach Diet, through Weight Watchers and a host of other approaches. But, why do we seem to gain it right back once we discontinue the diet plan? There must be a way to take the weight off and then keep it off.
We have a very similar genetic makeup to our Paleolithic (cave man era) ancestors. Since this is a fact, we can look at the type of food that the cave man consumed and logically draw the conclusion that the “Paleodiet” or “caveman diet” would be a great alternative to our current diet. Thankfully, this does not mean that we change our wardrobe and lifestyle to the point that we go back and live in caves and throw spears to hunt and gather! That might be a whole other cause for low back pain when standing!
What it does mean, however, is we consume similar foods: grass fed animal meat (the more lean the better) and food that grows off the land – that is, fruits and vegetables. These foods are easily broken down and assimilated without alerting our body’s defense system (the autoimmune system) that some foreign particle is inside of us resulting in an army of antibodies showing up to ward off these enemy particles. By avoiding this autoimmune response, at the same time, we are reducing or avoiding all together the inflammatory process, which is a common denominator to all illnesses including musculoskeletal conditions.
So, what do we eat too much of now that the cave man didn’t eat? The answer is gluten! Most flour based products (bread, pasta, cookies, cake, and many more) contain gluten and are “pro-inflammatory” or, cause systemic inflammation. Over time, this can lead to weight gain, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, stroke, as well as a host of many other conditions. The reason glutens are bad is that our bodies are not genetically able to handle the breakdown of these large “macromolecules.” When glutens are detected, we produce antibodies to attack these particles that are resting on the intestinal wall, which, in turn, is damaged in the process, resulting in a “leaky gut” allowing absorption of the large particles. This in turn, results in yet further autoimmune responses as these large (normally not absorbed) macromolecules are detected in our blood stream furthering the inflammatory process. This damage leads to further malabsorption syndromes (“leaky gut”) and a vicious cycle is created. So, what can we do to prevent this from happening and, how can we reduce the inflammation through our diet?
Easy! Just stop eating glutens! Go to the grocery store’s “gluten-free section” and buy products that are gluten-free. Over time, your weight will drop, your energy levels will increase, and the mental fog lifts – you’ll feel 10 years younger and, you’ll be able to enjoy life more completely. Sound too good to be true? Try it – prove me wrong – I dare you!
Here at our clinic in Columbus Ohio, we have a comprehensive weight loss program that is guaranteed to get results. We can guarantee it because we know it works. We actually treat weight loss patients as you would treat any other addiction, and make changes for life. When you lose lose the extra weight you will take pressure off the spine and help relieve your low back pain when standing.