The low back is an area where chiropractic has excelled – perhaps almost too well. As a result of our profession’s phenomenal track record with back pain, some people began to think of chiropractic as a treatment for back pain; yet that’s just a small segment of what chiropractic can help.
- Bulging Disc/ Herniated Disc
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Joint Dysfunction
Most people have 5 lumbar vertebrae, each with a disc to space them. The lowest lumbar vertebrae and related discs tend to take a beating, as these must bear the stress of weight-bearing, excess body weight or pregnancy, the pounding of impact sports like running, and the twisting of rotational sports like golf and tennis. The sacroiliac joints where the pelvis meets the sacrum (tailbone) is often a part of the low back pain picture, as well as an area that takes a lot of stress in impact, lifting, or twisting activities. For acute and chronic low back pain, chiropractic can be a highly effective and conservative option.
The lumbar vertebrae themselves are critical to normal bending, in a variety of directions. The nerves from the lumbar spine control not only the low back but also the pelvic organs, as well as the thighs and legs. Adjusting the low back can affect all of these. Pain down the legs is very commonly of spinal origin (including but not limited to joint dysfunction, disc problems, and stenosis); though vascular (blood flow) causes, sprains/strains, the knee, and the hip can also refer these pains.
X-rays and advanced diagnostic imaging may or may not be necessary. X-rays are useful in some cases; though it takes advanced diagnostic imaging (such as an MRI) to view discs appropriately. Your doctor of chiropractic will take a through history before performing an examination to find the cause or causes of your unique problem; and very often a clinical diagnosis is sufficient, without the radiation and/or expense of imaging.
Treatment could include acupuncture, gentle and appropriate manual manipulation (adjustment of the lumbar vertebrae and/or sacroiliac joints), orthotic support, myofascial release techniques (ischemic compression, active release, massage), trigger point dry needling, stretching, or anti-inflammatory nutritional approaches. Your treatment will be designed to address your unique problem.