There are many possible reasons for low back pain, but spinal strain and postural fatigue account for about 70% of cases not caused by more serious disc or organic conditions. For example, lifting a heavy object improperly, or falling, may cause immediate back pain. Other reasons may not be so apparent and may take a long time to develop into a painful condition (such as poor sleeping, standing, or sitting posture). Health professionals are frequently confronted with a group of injuries known as "low back strain/sprain." These injuries involve spinal muscles, ligaments, joint capsules, discs, and fascia. Whatever the cause, low back pain affects 80% of adults at some time in their lives. And coming to see your health professional was a smart thing to do.
What can my chiropractor do to help me?
Depending on the results of the examination and diagnosis, a basic chiropractic management plan for low back pain emphasizes a return to normal function. Success depends on a four-stage treatment plan:
Stage 1: Reduction of pain. In the office, your chiropractor may include pain-relieving treatments, ice/heat therapy, and activity restrictions. At home, you might pursue lifestyle changes, ice/heat applications, bed rest, and supports.
Stage 2: Recovery of function. This stage promotes the ability to perform unstressed basic daily activities with no increase in pain through recovery of normal muscle tone, joint movement and flexibility, and promotion of nerve root healing. Care in the clinic can include spinal and extremity manipulation, with continued physiotherapy treatments. Home care might consist of low-level exercise and resumption of some daily activities.
Stage 3: Rehabilitation. Key therapeutic approaches often include continued spinal adjustive manipulation, expanded exercise, postural retraining, and use of flexible, custom-made spinal/pelvic stabilizers (also called "foot orthotics").
Stage 4: Reinforcement. Stage 4 is characterized by recovery of full, normal, unrestricted activities requiring a continuing prevention program and maintenance treatment visits.
How would spinal/pelvic stabilizers help my back? My feet don't hurt!
Your feet are the foundation of your body, and if your feet are not properly supported, you can have problems anywhere from your ankles on up through your neck. Orthotic therapy is essential in restoring structural and functional balance and developing the strength and flexibility to keep your body stable as you stand, walk, or run. Depending on a variety of factors (lifestyle, health, age, weight, sex), your healthcare professional will select the stabilizers best suited for you. Because it is very important to wear your stabilizers all day long, and because most people wear at least two styles of shoes each day, your healthcare professional may decide that a stabilizer Combo (two pairs) would be best for your low back condition. Check with your healthcare professional for more specific information on stabilizers.