The Chiropractic Approach to Low Back Pain

What is back pain?

Back pain typically occurs in the lumbar spine and pelvic region otherwise know as the buttocks.  The pain can occur from a tightening of muscles or joints that get jammed due to a specific incident or small injuries that occur over time from work, athletics or even desk jobs.

What is the most common cause of back pain?

The most common cause of back pain is related to repetitive strain injuries that occur on the job or during daily activities.  Working on the computer, cooking, sewing or any activity that keeps you repeating the same movements from the same position can be the culprit of that nagging backache. The strain happens when either the muscles are tight and you are unable to stretch them, or when a joint is misaligned and the muscles become painful as they try to re-align the joint.

What are the less common types of back pain?

Degenerative disc disease, arthritis, herniation and neurologic conditions are all injuries that occur to the spine and more commonly in the low back.  These conditions will likely cause you great distress and you will need to seek a health care provider’s services.  The following symptoms require an immediate visit to your doctor:

  • History of cancer
  • Unexplained weight loss >10 kg within 6 months
  • Age over 50 years or under 17 years old
  • Failure to improve with therapy
  • Pain persists for more than 4 to 6 weeks
  • Night pain or pain at rest
  • Persistent fever (temperature over 100.4 F)
  • History of intravenous drug abuse
  • Organ transplant
  • Recent bacterial infection
  • Major muscle weakness
  • Trouble lifting your foot
  • Numbness and lower extremity weakness
  • Anal sphincter dysfunction
  • Recent trauma
  • History of osteoporosis

What are the basic causes of back pain?

  • Desk job
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Herniated disk
  • Gravity
  • Sports injury
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Fractures
  • Cancer
  • Repetitive strain
  • Jammed (misaligned) joints

Why see a Chiropractor instead of a massage therapist?

Chiropractic care helps re-align joints which stops the pain related to the muscles trying to push the joint back into alignment.  A typical response to this type of pain might be to stretch or get a massage.  While this might temporarily ease the pain, if you don’t re-align the joints, the muscles will loyally return to their job of trying to push the joint back into place and you will be back in pain once again.  This isn’t to say that massage can’t be a terrific partner in getting rid of long term pain. We feel that massage and chiropractic can make an excellent team!

Getting adjusted not only will help relieve your low back pain, but offers other health benefits as well.  According to research by Sean M. Hannon, BA, DC, chiropractic adjustment can result in the following physiologic changes:            

  • Increased strength
  • Increased oxygen consumption capacity
  • Increased range of motion
  • Decreased pain
  • Increase cardiac regulation
  • Increased immunity

Considering these benefits, it is easy to see why athletes and other health conscious people seek out regular chiropractic care. If you suffer from chronic or even occasional back pain, contact our office.  We can help!

What are some of the techniques we use to treat low back pain?

Our doctors are trained in many different types of adjustment techniques ranging from hands-on to instrument adjusting.  They also use different types of soft tissue therapies that can benefit an injury whether it is chronic or acute.  Treating both joint and soft tissue issues allows an injury more complete resolution than either alone.  The techniques used are:

  • Graston – soft-tissue and fascia therapy
  • Activator – instrument adjusting (non-force)
  • Sacro-occipital Technique (SOT) – Use of pelvic alignment (non-force)
  • Diversified Adjustment – Manual medicine with hands
  • Thompson Drop Adjustment – Using the table to increase speed of adjustment but not the pressure put on a body
  • Quatum Neurology – instrument adjusting (non-force) uses nerve reflexes as well
  • Gonstead – Classic manual chiropractic adjustment
  • Kinesio tape – muscle therapy and proprioceptive training using tape
  • Cranio-sacral technique – hands-on soft-tissue manipulation
  • Pediatric and Pregnancy Specific adjustments – hands on but specifically designed for certain times of life
  • Webster Technique – pelvis alignment for turning breech babies

Pregnancy and Chiropractic

Is chiropractic safe during pregnancy?

 

“There are no contra-indications to chiropractic care during pregnancy,” according to the American Pregnancy Association.  And when you think about how long chiropractics has been around, it could be considered one of the safest procedures that can be performed during your pregnancy. While all chiropractic professionals receive some training in school with regards to the special needs of pregnant women, only some doctors, like Dr. Walker at InHealth Clinic, continue their training and work with pregnancy in their practice.

 

Why should I have chiropractic care during pregnancy?

 

As you go through physiological and hormonal changes, your body becomes the perfect environment for developing a child. This can sometimes cause physical stress, which can improve with chiropractic care. Keeping your back joints and pelvis from misalignment and keeping you comfortable means that your baby will have the optimal amount of room in the pelvis to develop. This also means your baby will be in the best position possible for delivery reducing the intensity of back labor during your birth and preventing dysticoa (difficult labor).  Additionally, keeping your spine and pelvis in alignment can reduce the occurrence of breech positioned babies.

 

What happens if my baby is breech?

 

A wonderful chiropractor, the late Larry Webster D.C., developed a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which enables the chiropractor to balance the women’s pelvis and reduce pressure and stress on the uterus so that the fetus will reach an optimal position which is head down in the birth canal.  The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in July/August 2002 that the success rate of babies turning vertex was 82% using the Webster Technique. The technique is widely used and much more comfortable than the external version that is performed in many cases. The highest success in turning a breech baby is achieved at 36-38 weeks. Once it gets much past this, the success rate drops due to the baby’s larger size taking up more room in the uterus. It is always best to seek chiropractic care as soon as you are told your baby is breech.

 

When is the soonest I can see a chiropractor post-partum?

 

The soonest is immediately, however most women tend to wait about two weeks until they have had time to adjust to being a new mom and have healed vaginally a bit. Our office does make house calls for one special group — our post-partum moms, whether for you or baby.  The earliest we have responded was four hours after a birth for a mom that had a C-section and the little one’s head was flexed to one side and not moving.  Mom was also having a burning low back pain, which was treated at this time.

 

What about preparing for labor? Are there things that I can do naturally?

 

Pregnancy may leave you concerned or tired. Here are a few things we treat with natural remedies.

 

  • Gestational diabetes – diet, minerals and botanical medicine
  • Stress – herbal stress reducing minerals
  • Preparing the uterus for labor – Uterine tonics
  • Breast soreness due to breast feeding – healing salves
  • Episiotomy healing – herbal poultices and sitz baths
  • Umbilical cord healing – salve and powder
  • Nutrition – vitamins, oils safe for pregnancy, and minerals
  • Preventing antibiotics for newborn – mom on a strong probiotic
  • Morning sickness – homeopathic remedies

 

We have more tools at our disposal, but the above give you some of the common needs of our patients.

 

Remember that chiropractic is safe as soon as you need it!  At inHealth, we are here to serve you during this very special time. If you have concerns or needs feel free to call our office, we never mind being a resource and promise to direct you to the best person to meet your needs.

 

Resources:

 

American Pregnancy Association:  http://www.americanpregnancy.org

BABI:   http://www.bayareabirthinfo.org/

The Chiropractic Approach to Low Back Pain

What is Back Pain?

Back pain is usually a pain that occurs in the lumbar spine and pelvic region otherwise know as you buttock.  The pain can occur from a tightening of muscle or joints that get jammed due to a specific incident or small injuries that occur over time from say construction work, running or desk jobs.

What is the Most Common cause of Back Pain?

The most common cause of back pain is related to repetitive strain injuries that occur on the job or during daily activities.  Working on the computer, cooking, sewing or any activity that keeps you repeating the same movements from the same position can be the culprit of that nagging back ache. The strain happens when either the muscles are tight and you are unable to stretch them, or when a joint is misaligned and the muscles become painful as they try to re-align the joint.

What are the Less Common types of Back Pain?

Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritus, Herniation and neurologic conditions are all injuries that occur to the spine and more commonly in the low back.  These conditions will likely cause you great distress and you will need to seek a health care provider’s services.  The following symptoms can help you determine if it is a must to see your doctor:

  • § History of cancer
  • § Unexplained weight loss >10 kg within 6 months
  • § Age over 50 years or under 17 years old
  • § Failure to improve with therapy
  • § Pain persists for more than 4 to 6 weeks
  • Night pain or pain at rest
  • § Persistent fever (temperature over 100.4 F)
  • § History of intravenous Drug Abuse
  • § Organ Transplant
  • § Recent bacterial infection
  • § Major Muscle weakness
  • § Trouble lifting your foot
  • § Numbness and lower extremity weakness
  • § Anal Sphincture dysfunction
  • § Recent Trauma
  • § History of Osteroporosis

 

Basic ways back pain can occur:

 

  • Desk job
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Herniated disk
  • Gravity
  • Sports injury
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Fractures
  • Cancer
  • Repetitive strain
  • Jammed (misaligned) joints

 

Why See a Chiropractor instead of only Massage?

Chiropractic care helps re-align joints which stops the pain related to the muscles trying to push the joint back into alignment.  A typical response to this type of pain might be to stretch or get a massage.  While this might temporarily ease the pain, if you don’t re-align the joints, the muscles will loyally return to their job of trying to push the joint back into place and you will be back in pain once again.  This isn’t to say that Massage can’t be a terrific partner in getting rid of long term pain and it can we feel that massage and chiropractic can make an excellent team.

Getting adjusted not only will help relieve your low back pain, but offers other health benefits as well.  According to research by Sean M. Hannon, BA, DC, chiropractic adjustment can result in the following physiologic changes:

                     

  • § Increased strength
  • § Increased oxygen consumption capacity
  • § Increased range of motion
  • § Decreased pain
  • § Increase cardiac regulation
  • § Increased immunity

 

Considering these benefits, it is easy to see why athletes and other health conscious people seek out care regular chiropractic care. If you suffer from chronic or even occasional back pain, contact our office.  We can help!

 

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