Lower back pain symptoms and treatment options
Types of low back pain
In the US, low back pain is one of the most common conditions and one of the leading causes of physician visits. In fact, at least four out of five adults will experience low back pain at some point in their lives.
Ironically, the severity of the pain is often unrelated to the extent of physical damage. Muscle spasm from a simple back strain can cause excruciating back pain that can make it difficult to walk or even stand, whereas a large herniated disc or completely degenerated disc can be completely painless.
The causes of low back pain can be very complex, and there are many structures in the low back that can cause pain. The following parts of spinal anatomy can cause pain:
- The large nerve roots in the low back that go to the legs and arms may be irritated
- The smaller nerves that innervate the spine in the low back may be irritated
- The large paired lower back muscles (erector spinae) may be strained
- The bones, ligaments or joints may be injured
- The intervertebral disc may be injured
It is important to note that many types of low back pain have no known anatomical cause, but the pain is still real and needs to be treated. However, usually low back pain can be linked to a general cause (such as muscle strain) or a specific and diagnosable condition (such as degenerative disc disease or a lumbar herniated disc).
Chiropractic has been shown to be one of the more effect ways to treat low back pain. When accidents, falls, tension, over-exertion or other injuring mechanisms occur, the inability of the spine to compensate can result in minor displacements or derangement of one or more vertebrae, causing irritation to spinal nerve roots directly by pressure or indirectly through reflexes. These type of pain mechanism are addressed by chiropractors. The treatment concept of chiropractic manipulative therapy is to re-establish normal spinal mobility, which in turn alleviates the irritation to the spinal nerve and/or re-establishes normal reflexes and joint and muscle function.