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 the 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 days or weeks, but in cases where significant injury has occurred, symptoms may persist longer.
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 having a history of cancer or intravenous drug use[NW14] , unintentional weight loss, long-term steroid use, weak immune system, or your pain gets worse with rest.
Causes of low back pain can vary widely. The most common causes include:
- 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. The Robichaud-Lévesque clinic strives to identify the specific cause of our patients’ symptoms. This allows us to manage the condition appropriately, thereby reducing the risk of a poor outcome and minimizing progression 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 resulting from a sedentary work environment can also lead to postural stresses that can have detrimental effects on the body. Being overweight, smoking, inactivity, and other comorbidities (other diseases) can all contribute to an increased risk of suffering from back pain.
The first line of defense in addressing low back pain is avoiding risk factors such as those listed above. Improving your physical condition and practicing proper body mechanics can help reduce pain and help prevent its recurrence. Exercizing can help build muscle, and increase coordination and flexibility, which increases the strength and endurance of the back and core muscles. Maintaining a healthy weight, having healthy habits, staying active and not smoking can also all greatly reduce lower back pain. Remember: stand smart, sit smart, lift smart.
Conventional medical management of mechanical back pain is primarily based on pain management and seldom identifies the cause. However, not all lower back pain is the same. That’s why at Robichaud-Lévesque, we believe that identifying the root cause of pain is essential, as this will inform all further treatment and rehabilitation protocols.
Chiropractic care can help maximize joint mobility and reduce muscle tension associated with lower back conditions. Photobiomodulation/laser therapy can help by promoting tissue regeneration, increasing blood flow to the injured area, and controlling inflammation, which can lead to long-term positive outcomes. Surgery is rarely needed but sometimes necessary.
It’s important to note that once you start suffering from lower back pain, you may become predisposed to recurrences. Over time, it may also leave you vulnerable to secondary conditions such as degenerative disc and joint disease. To reduce the risk of reaggravation, it’s important to continue maintaining proper posture and movement patterns and to complete rehabilitative exercize, even when you’re feeling asymptomatic.