It should come as no surprise to most people that lower back (lumbar) pain is common. What may be surprising is just how common it can be. According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), lower back pain was the single, leading global cause of disability in 2010. Furthermore, an estimated 80 percent of the population will experience lower back pain at some point. Lower back pain can lead to missed days of work, and costs Americans about $50 billion each year for treatment. It is also the second leading reason for MD doctor visits, behind only upper respiratory problems. Approximately half of working Americans will have some sort of lower back complaint each year.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
Almost all causes of lower back pain are mechanical, rather than organic. In other words, they are the result of an injury rather than from a disease or illness such as arthritis, infection, or cancer. As expected, the most common cause for lower back pain is muscle or ligament strain or stiffness. This may be caused by lifting heavy loads without properly protecting the back or sitting in one position for an extended period of time. Other causes for back pain include bulging or herniated spinal vertebrae, osteoarthritis, skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis, or osteoporosis (brittle vertebrae).
Most cases of lower back muscle strain can be treated with over the counter pain medications. Two days of bed rest may also help, although more bed rest may actually prolong back pain. Light activities, such as yoga, stretching, and walking, can help loosen tight back muscles and are also good as part of a regular activity routine. Use of a hard foam roller can also reduce and prevent lower back pain.
How Can Chiropractic Lumbar Adjustments Treat Lower Back Pain?
When the lumbar vertebrae get out of alignment, they can place pressure on surrounding nerves, muscles, and ligaments. This, of course, will lead to back pain. A chiropractic adjustment to the lower spine will put these vertebrae back into proper alignment, thus removing the pressure on surrounding organs and structures. Furthermore, maintenance adjustments to keep the spine aligned once the acute back pain has been resolved will reduce the amount and severity of future bouts of lower back pain.
What Does the Research Say?
A 1990 article in the British Medical Journal provides perhaps the most definitive argument in favor of spinal adjustments to treat lower back pain. A total of 741 patients with mechanically based lower back pain received either chiropractic treatment or hospital treatment, which consisted of such treatments as exercise and use of a corset to support the back. Results showed that those patients with chronic or severe back pain who received spinal chiropractic adjustments reported less pain than those who received the hospital treatments.
Given the sheer number of back pain patients, it is clear that an effective fast treatment is sorely needed. Dr. Horst believes that lumber spinal adjustments can be the solution to the problem.
To schedule a chiropractic adjustment appointment, contact Horst Chiropractic.