Back pain affects nearly 80% of the population at some point or another. Of those who seek treatment to get relief, the majority will see a chiropractor, and more than a third of those who see a chiropractor are seeking relief from back pain. Back pain is the leading cause of disability and is second only to respiratory infections for reasons given to see a healthcare professional.
Your back is made up of a system of small bones, joints, muscles and ligaments, all of which must work together to keep you mobile. Anytime any of these becomes inflamed, injured, or otherwise isn’t working properly, the result is pain. Back pain can also be aggravated by a variety of factors, such as poor posture, obesity, arthritis, or bone loss. Most of us would prefer to avoid suffering back pain in the first place, and the following tips can help:
- Maintain a healthy weight, carrying extra pounds can aggravate pain
- Consume a healthy diet, junk food can increase inflammation
- Stay active to maintain strength and flexibility
- Avoid extended bedrest or inactivity
- Warm up before any physically strenuous activity to avoid injury
- Practice good posture, poor posture alone can cause back pain
- Wear supportive shoes with low heels, high heels throw off your balance and increase the risk of injury
- Sleep on a supportive mattress to minimize curvature of your spine
- Use proper lifting practices, lifting with your legs, keeping weight close to your body, and not twisting until you have completed the lift
- Don’t smoke, smoking restricts blood flow and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all tissues, including spinal tissue
- Arrange your workspace for good ergonomics; consult with your doctor or chiropractor for advice on how to do this.
If you end up with back pain despite your best efforts, a chiropractor can help. Chiropractors use spinal manipulation, sometimes along with other alternative treatments, to bring the body into proper alignment. Chiropractic care is based on the idea that pain is caused by imbalance and misalignment, and restoring balance and proper alignment will aid the body in healing itself, often without drugs or invasive and risky surgery.
In 2011, researchers reviewed 26 separate clinical trials to examine the effectiveness of various treatment options, including spinal manipulation, for chronic low back pain. They found that spinal manipulation was at least as effective as many other treatment options for easing pain and restoring mobility.
If you’re seeing a chiropractor for the first time, you can expect to go through many of the same procedures as when you see a new doctor for the first time, starting with a thorough medical history. It is important that a chiropractor have a thorough and accurate medical history, as patients with certain conditions, including osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis, spinal cord compression, or who take certain medications may be at increased risk for certain rare complications of spinal manipulation.
The chiropractor will also perform a physical exam and, depending on your situation, your chiropractor may also do tests or use diagnostic imaging to help determine the most appropriate treatment for your pain.
Chiropractic treatment typically involves the chiropractor using hands or a device to apply controlled force to manipulate the joints. Many chiropractors will also offer nutrition counseling as well as a series of exercises to strengthen the area and prevent future injury. Some chiropractors may offer various other alternative treatments, depending on the practice.
Could chiropractic help you with your lower back pain? Call Spine Scan now on 08 9221 0402 to arrange an appointment to find out!