Monday, August 15, 2011

Lower Back: Conditions and Choices

What causes you lower back pain?

The Mayo clinic suggests that the top reasons for low back aches are as follows:

Strains: Minor tears in muscles and ligaments, caused by improper and heavy lifting or sudden awkward movements.

Structural Problems: Bulging Discs, Sciatica, Skeletal Irregularities, Arthritis and Osteoporosis.

Rare Conditions: Spinal cancers, Nerve dysfunction or Infections in the spine.

So which one is yours? Today we are going to focus on structural problems and bulging discs, both which can contribute to sciatica and be related to skeletal irregularities.

The lifestyles and occupations of people today may require a large amount of sitting, decreased exercise and in many cases perpetually poor postures. The majority of individuals rarely take the time needed to stretch their bodies or to do the basic physical maintenance that is needed for health to be prolonged in general. When our jobs require heavy lifting and we are not careful to use proper body mechanics we can very likely become injured. These injuries can lead to a bulging or even worse, ruptured disc. When there is an imbalance in the spine and posture, known as a misalignment or subluxation, this can cause the disc to bulge into the nerve. In some cases this bulging causes pain and discomfort that is hard to reverse without specific care, though occasionally there may be no symptom of pain present to raise alarm to this harmful condition. This pressure on the nerve can cause other organs or tissues to function less efficiently.

So as you can see some pains are simply symptoms of a bigger problem, something that cannot be corrected with stretching or exercise alone. Many times stretching or exercise can actually exacerbate a disc injury. There are some basic manual tests that can be performed, even prior to an MRI, for detecting the presence of a spinal disc injury which may be performed by some massage practitioners or a Chiropractor during a spinal screening.

Thankfully for many patients, when a disc injury is diagnosed, many excellent corrective options are available. Some of these are Spinal Decompression Therapy which has been shown to reverse disc injuries in many successful cases. Cold Laser Therapy may aide in decreasing inflammation around the joint and the nerve, while accelerating the healing process. In instances of chronic pain, healing is slowed and a more serious condition may arise. Soft tissue work, like Therapeutic Massage, is also a valuable asset to a quicker recovery and allows the muscular areas to relax which promotes healthy function.

Having regular Chiropractic checkups can also avert many injuries to spinal health. Knowledge is power. Learning proper lifting techniques, utilizing the appropriate stretching and incorporating exercises that improve core function can help prevent any structural issues before they become problematic.

Thanks for reading and remember just because you aren't hurting today doesn't mean you should wait for some sort of care. Prevention is a key factor to living a long, happy and healthy life.

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