Low back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work.
Symptoms can range from a dull ache to a stabbing or shooting sensation. Pain may be local or may radiate down your leg if nerve roots are affected. Pain is generally worse with bending, lifting, standing and/or walking and improves with reclining or lying down. Acute symptoms generally only last from days to weeks, however if a more significant injury has occured symptoms may persist for some time.
Symptoms That Require Urgent Care
If you suffer from any of the following urgent care is required: Loss of bowel or bladder control, numbness in the groin area and fever. Severe back pain following a fall or injury should be checked out by a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Other significant risk factors include history of cancer, unintentional weight loss, long-term steroid use, weak immune system, history of IV drug use, or your pain gets worse with rest.
The causes of low back pain can vary widely. The most common causes of low back pain are:
- Discogenic pain
- DJD/ DDD (degenerative joint disease/ degenerative disc disease)
- Muscle strain
- Ligament or joint sprain
- Repetitive or postural strain
- Degenerative processes
- Compression fracture/ pathological fractures
- Arthritic/ inflammatory conditions
Specific sources are not well understood by many health care professionals. We at the Robichaud-Levesque clinic strive to identify the specific cause of our patient’s symptoms. This allows us to manage the condition appropriately reducing the risk of a poor outcome and minimizing the evolution to chronic pain syndromes.
Repetitive movements at work or at home such as lifting, pulling, or anything that twists the spine can contribute to back pain. However, prolonged sitting and immobility from working in a sedentary work environment can also lead to postural stresses that can have detrimental effects on our body. Being overweight, smoking, inactivity and other co-morbidities (other diseases) can all contribute to increased risk of suffering from back pain.
Avoiding aggravating factors such as those listed above should be the first thing you address if you suffer from low back pain. Improving your physical condition and practicing proper body mechanics can diminish the risk of suffering from low back pain and/or help prevent its recurrence. Exercising can help build muscle, increase coordination and flexibility increasing the strength and endurance of your back and core muscles. Maintaining a healthy weight, healthy habits, staying active and not smoking can also all have a drastic impact on one’s low back pain. Remember: stand smart/ sit smart and lift smart.
Standard medical management of mechanical back pain is primarily based on pain management and seldom identifies causation of back pain. However, not all low back pain is the same, therefore at our clinic we find that identifying the root cause of an individual’s pain is essential as this will direct all further treatment and rehabilitation protocols.
Chiropractic care can help maximise joint mobility and reduce the muscle tension associated with low back conditions. Laser/photobiomodulation therapy can help by influencing tissue regeneration, increasing blood flow to the injured area and controlling inflammation leading to long term positive outcomes. Surgery is rarely needed but sometimes necessary.
It’s important to note that once you suffer from low back pain you are predisposed to recurrences. It may also leave you vulnerable to secondary conditions such as degenerative disc and joint disease as time progresses. Therefore, it is important to continue to maintain proper posture, movement patterns and continue to complete rehabilitative exercise even when you’re feeling asymptomatic to decrease the risk of re-aggravation.