By Dr. Matthew Bird, Chiropractor
It is estimated that 80% of individuals at some point in their lifetime will experience an episode of low back pain. Of those individuals, it’s estimated that 5-10% of cases will lead to chronic low back pain (> 3 months), which makes it a leading cause of missed work days/lost wages, individual suffering and medical system costs.
Despite the drastic effects low back pain may cause to a person, 90% of all back-pain episodes are deemed non-specific according to traditional medical practices. This is extremely reassuring as most individuals can ease their minds of more concerning causes.
So, what do you do when back pain strikes?
Since most cases of low back pain are non-life threatening it is extremely important to reassure yourself that the back pain can be managed conservatively (non-pharmacological) without dire need to obtain medical imaging which dramatically increases overall medical costs (ie: x-rays, CT scans, MRI).
Most of the time a specific onset cannot be determined, or is of trivial consequence, like picking up a pencil or sneezing as the culminating event to sending your pain levels skyrocketing.
So, whether it’s a simple strain/sprain or a bulging disc or herniated disc, the first rule of thumb is to not panic.
Attempt to find a position of relief and calm your breath to evaluate the severity of the situation.
Assess your available range of motion (ROM) and attempt to stay within that ROM.
Then call us at WIN Health Solutions to set up a plan of management.
Generally, the first visit is to rule out concerning causes and provide the needed reassurance that most cases (90%) are within the scope of Chiropractic management. Movement strategies are of the greatest value at this point and can quickly provide short term relief until tissue adaptation can take place.
Think back to when you scrapped your knee as a kid and your mother constantly told you to stop picking at the scab or it wouldn’t heal! But you picked it anyways and it eventually healed albeit a little longer than it should have. 😊 Well your back is no different, only now we are dealing with identifying movement strategies to minimize tissue irritation. So, whether you strained a muscle, sprained a ligament or even herniated a disc we must recognize a time frame to which the tissue can heal.
Many people come in and say they cannot do “X” but somehow continue to carry on with activities of daily living (lifting kids, carrying groceries, getting dressed, bathing etc) but simply takes a little longer and obviously a little more painful. Your WIN Health Chiropractor will now be able to help you identify some mechanical problems that may be limiting your recovery but will also help you off load the added strain on the sensitive back structures with the many treatment strategies that are utilized daily within our clinic.
Back pain is not a life sentence but does require some management as every case is unique just like you. Pain may be inevitable, but suffering is optional. Give yourself a chance to prove to yourself, and us, that you have it in you to over come your back pain!
Diagnosis and management of low-back pain in primary care
Adrian Traeger, Rachelle Buchbinder, Ian Harris, Chris Maher
CMAJ. 2017 Nov 13; 189(45): E1386–E1395. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.170527
Prevalence of chronic low back pain: systematic review
Rodrigo Dalke Meucci, Anaclaudia Gastal Fassa, Neice Muller Xavier Faria
Rev Saude Publica. 2015; 49: 1. Published online 2015 Oct 5. doi: 10.1590/S0034-8910.2015049005874