Back Pain And Chiropractic
Back pain is one of the most common afflictions to the western world, usually affecting us at the most inconvenient times in our life.
There are many different structures in our back that can cause pain; they include the muscles surrounding the spine, ligaments, tendons, nerves, joints, the disc, spinal cord and the bones. Back pain can also be referred from the pelvis, hips, mid back and also from your organs as well. That is why it is imperative to get your problem checked out otherwise there could be serious consequences to your health. Only a thorough history taking process and physical examination will be able to differentiate between the causes of your problems.
In terms of the length of the episode that you are having, there are three different types of back pain: acute, subacute and chronic.
Your acute pain is a very sharp, sudden onset, you can typically locate the pain quite specifically and you can normally pinpoint what you were doing. This acute pain is very debilitating and is less than 3 months in duration. If not treated properly, this can lead to a transitory phase of back pain known as the subacute pain. This phase lasts from approximately 3-6 months. The way the pain is interpreted by the body starts to change and the pain is less debilitating but very limiting. This stage is the harder to treat than your acute phase.
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The next phase of pain if the sub-acute phase is not dealt with properly is your chronic low back pain. Chronic low back pain in terms of the actual pain is the least severe but is the most debilitating due to its long nature it has the worst effect and it begins to affect our work, our ability to cope with pain, poor sleeping patterns, over-medication and there is a very strong connection in those with chronic pain and depression and anxiety. Due to its multi-functional affects on our life it is clear to see that this is the hardest to treat.
The time frame for treatment, treatment schedule and proper rehabilitative protocol increases with each phase, so it is always best to get this attended to early, as it saves you in the long run in many ways. That does not mean that we are unable to help treat those in chronic pain, it just however means it will require a different program of care.
As a Chiropractor, depending on your clinical presentation, there are a number of ways in which we can help you. On your fist visit we take a long look right into your history of pain which includes information on your current pain, previous history of pain, any old injuries you may have had, other areas of pain, medical history, surgical history, system review, questions on your work posture, hobbies that you do, family history of illness and red flag questions to rule out of our scope of care.
Once we are satisfied with this information then we can move onto the physical examination so we can further pinpoint the areas of pain, but also areas of dysfunction. This includes a detailed analysis of your posture (both standing and sitting), your gait cycle (whether you are walking properly or not), spinal and peripheral orthopaedic tests, neurological tests, ROM, vertebral motion palpation, movement patterns, vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, temperature, height + weight) and other specific testing.
All of this information that we obtain enables us to formulate a treatment plan specific to you which will enable you to get back to the way you were before and better than you have felt in years.
In acute scenarios we can often pinpoint to a time and place of what you were doing that actually caused the pain. This is just the final straw that broke the camels back, so to speak. You have had a build up of some detrimental issues that have built up over the years, some of them are very silent e.g. incorrect working postures, slouching, previous sporting injuries, long term injuries from many years ago and theses all accumulate until you are in a state of terrible pain. As such to get the proper corrections and to keep you clear from pain it is clear to see that this is not a short term problem, and should be treated as such.
Our body’s have a good way of masking these problems until it is too late and our changes in posture, structure and bio-mechanical function have changed in such a way that you are now in pain. This means that whilst our first job is to get you out of pain, our goal is to keep you out of pain for as long as possible including retraining your surrounding supporting muscles for better movement, improving your bio-mechanics, stabilising your spine as a functional unit among others.
To relieve back pain, as chiropractors we don’t just treat the pain, we treat the person from top to toe, these areas of dysfunction are treated to further aid in your treatment from pain and keep you pain free.
How do we do this?
Adjustments - Are a short, sharp, directed movement, specifically controlled impulses applied to various joints of the body. Benefits of adjustment are reduced pain, decrease in muscle tension, and increase in joint range of motion, better pain tolerance and many others.
Soft Tissue Work - In pain syndromes we typically have muscles that have trigger points, more often known as knots. These cause the muscles to fatigue faster, leaving us with pain. As such we try to work these out, whilst at the time this may cause discomfort, in the long term it helps aid in our rehabilitation.
Stretching - In pain syndromes, muscles surrounding the areas get quite tight, as such, stretching helps to gradually lengthen the muscle, allowing muscles to relax.
Rehabilitation - We will also prescribe you various exercises to aid mobility, increase the strength and endurance of your muscles but also to improve the movement function that is so critical in movement, keeping the pain away.
If there are any questions or queries about your back, health or any information, feel free to make a consultation with us.