The Progression of Low Back Pain

Approximately 70% of the people that come in to the clinic complain of low back pain. Low back pain can take many forms, but, in general, long-standing low back pain follows a typical plot line.

I will often hear from a patient that their low back has been bothering them, on and off, for years. It bothers them after gardening, shovelling the driveway, sports, or a similar physical activity. They will report that it is happening more frequently and lasting longer.

Now, this explanation may seem self-evident, but please allow me to explain the situation as we chiropractors see it.

The reason the low back hurts following activity is because the back is not functioning properly. There are 5 lumbar vertebrae and 2 sacro-iliac (SI) joints that must move in harmony for optimal low back movement.

The initial trauma to the back/pelvis usually starts in childhood. Anyone who has children has seen them fall off the monkey bars, wipe out on a bike, or fall on their backside skating. These little accidents initially sprain the back and pelvis and affect its movement pattern. Next we add a lifetime of ski wipeouts, car accidents, icy parking lot slips, and we get a back and pelvis with repeated small-scale trauma.

Then we sit. We sit at work, in the car; we sit to eat and watch TV. This sitting loads up the back and tightens the hip, leg and back muscles.

Now, instead of vertebrae and SI joints working in harmony when we are active, one or two of the joints do most of the movement and get sore. As the years add up, these overworked joints can become worn and arthritic. The situation builds over time. The problem becomes chronic and then even small activities can strain the back, until finally we are frustrated enough to do something about it.

This is the role of chiropractic care. We assess the level of damage to the low back, and depending on the severity of the situation, come up with a plan to get the lumbar spine and SI joints moving again in harmony. This will reduce pain, but, just as importantly, allow the low back to tolerate activity again, giving us another hike, another day skiing, another day in the garden. We have seen that the more a body moves, the longer it lasts and the more enjoyment we can get out of life.

Like I said, this is a long-term build-up, but the sooner we tackle the problem the better chance we have of making a difference. If this sounds familiar, please come in and have a physical exam and assessment. We would love to help you become more active.

Written by Dr. James Mayne, DC

The Cost of Low Back Pain

A quick review from Statistics Canada shows that 4 out of 5 Canadians will be afflicted with low back pain at some point in their lives. Many of these people will develop chronic, long-lasting pain that will directly affect their lives.

The cost of this burden to Canadian society is estimated to be in the billions (yes—with a “b”) of dollars. This is seen in costly medical expenses, prescription drugs, and loss of income. For many of us, even more costly than the loss of income is the loss of time doing what we love. You can’t put a price on the ability to fully enjoy a vacation, play your favorite sports, or even have a full night’s sleep.

Chiropractic care has been shown to help with back pain. If you have back pain, let us help you before it ends up costing you your valuable free time.

Written by Dr. James Mayne, DC
Arise Chiropractic
7-100 Kalamalka Lake Rd., Vernon


“Uncomplicated” Low Back Pain?

“Uncomplicated” low back pain is a medical diagnosis for the presence of low back pain, without pain radiating into the leg (no nerve deficits). Unfortunately, this diagnosis doesn’t really tell the patient anything other than that they have low back pain, which, I’m pretty certain, they already know!

“Uncomplicated” low back pain is usually treated with anti-inflammatory or pain-killing medication, in hopes that the pain can be masked long enough for it to somehow subside on its own. The term may mislead some patients into thinking that it’s no big deal. Yet it’s been estimated that one out of three people will develop osteoarthritis in their spine that will end up causing disability. Largely, this disabling arthritis is the end result of a wear-and-tear process related to the spinal imbalance that is initially felt in earlier years as “uncomplicated” back pain. The truth is that there is nothing “uncomplicated” about finding the cause of the spinal irritation.

When the spine becomes painful, it’s usually indicative of an underlying problem. Chronic low back pain later in life usually begins as minor episodes of low back pain earlier in life. The more it is brushed under the carpet with medication, the more damage is done over time, increasing the likelihood of future “complicated” pain that can become chronic.

Chiropractors are experts with joint and spine health.  We are trained to find postural imbalances caused by tiny spinal misalignments that irritate nerves and cause pain.  Maybe we can help?

Written by Dr. Elliot Lysyk, DC
Arise Chiropractic
7-100 Kal Lake Rd.