Lower Back Pain
Low back pain is an incredibly common condition that affects millions of people across the globe. Although low back pain can be both annoying and debilitating, the real problem is that it prevents people from doing the things that they need and want to do. Low back pain accounts for thousands of missed workdays throughout our economy, which is affecting communities, families, and children.
Causes of Low Back Pain
The causes of low back pain can be broken down into two main categories – acute and chronic.
Acute Lower Back Pain – this normally happens from a direct trauma or injury.
- Sprain/strain injuries
- Car accidents
- Sports Injuries
Chronic LBP includes pain that is present for longer than 6-8 weeks. These types of injuries usually stem from old injuries that have not been addressed or have been improperly addressed. Chronic low back pain could be coming from an old sports injury, a car accident that happened 10 years ago, or even childhood trauma.
However, there are times when low back pain can be a sign of more serious illness.
Low back pain should be seriously investigated if the following three criteria have been met:
- It’s been bothering you for more than about 6-8 weeks
- It’s severe and/or not improving, or actually getting worse
- There is at least one other “red flag”
- Light tapping of the spine is painful.
- Unexplained fever or chills.
- Unexplainable weight loss
- If you are generally feeling unwell in addition to having low back pain, this may be an indication that a disease process is underway.
- Symptoms that spread equally into both legs, especially numbness and/or tingling and/or weakness, and especially if it is aggravated by lifting. The same symptoms limited to one side are also a concern, but less so.
- Difficulty urinating, incontinence, numbness around the groin, foot drop (a toe that drags), and significant weakness in the legs are all potentially serious signs of a neurological problem. These symptoms can develop over time, so it’s important to keep considering them.
If you currently have any of the above red flags, please take necessary action right away or console with one of our doctors.
Treatment Options for Low Back Pain
- Keep moving – stretches and exercises. When we stop moving due to low back pain, this can actually make the situation worse. The delicate muscles and ligaments that are surrounding the spinal bones will begin to atrophy and further perpetuate the instability and poor posture. As the ancient Greeks used to say – motion is life. Bedrest, back braces, and inactivity are detrimental to resolving low back pain. Any type of motion that can be done – should be done. This includes gentle stretches, walking, standing, and even various simple yoga poses can be beneficial.
- Traction – this is a nonsurgical approach that gently stretches the spine using a motorized unit. The goal is to relieve pain and take the pressure off of the disc.
- Pain relieving medication – Whether you chose to go with an NSAID or an acetaminophen, pain relieving medication can be helpful with decreasing low back pain. Keep in mind that NSAIDS and other pain relieving medication have serious side effects such as liver failure and gastrointestinal issues, so don’t take them for more than 10 days without consulting your doctor.
- Surgery – according to WebMD, “Of the 56 million Americans who have back pain, only 5 percent need surgery.” The Mayo Clinic continues to say that “back pain is extremely common, and surgery often fails to relieve it.” This is really a “last resort” type of option only after more conservative and less invasive options are not available.
- Chiropractic – this approach deals with the neurology and the structure of the spine. Low back pain is one of the most common conditions that we see in our clinic. It is the “bread and butter” type of pain that we deal with. Chiropractic is well-known as a profession to get good results when treating pain specific to the low back.
In our clinic you will receive a professional and warm welcome. Our doctors believe in individualized healthcare, so you will never be treated as “just another number” here. Call the clinic today to schedule your initial examination and consultation to see how we can help you get back to the old you.
Call (952) 300.8338 to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Knight.