Lower Back Pain & How We Can Help

March 16, 2018

We’re in a lot of pain. Pain affects more of us than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined and many people say they “can’t” exercise because of pain.

 

That’s counter to current science that says instead of resting, we really should keep moving.

 

In fact, a recent report finds evidence that physical activity reduces pain severity, improves physical function, and has a “variable effect” on both psychological function and quality of life, meaning results were mixed.

 

Just what is pain? The International Association for the Study of Pain defines it as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.”

 

When life’s a pain....
 

To regain a sense of control, the brain working positively with body is at the center of pain-free movement.

 

What are the most common causes of lower back pain?

 

Muscle and ligament injuries often cause lower back pain....

 

Strain and injury to the muscles and ligaments supporting the back are the major causes of low back pain. The pain is typically more spread out in the muscles next to the spine, and may be associated with spasms in those muscles. The pain may move to the buttocks but rarely any farther down the leg.

 

 

Sciatica....

 

Sciatica is not a diagnosis but a description of symptoms. Anything that places pressure on one or more of the lumbar nerve roots can cause pain in parts or all of the sciatic nerve. A herniated disk, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis or other abnormalities of vertebrae can all cause pressure on the sciatic nerve.

 

Herniated disk....

 

A herniated disk, sometimes (incorrectly) called a slipped disk, is a common cause of severe back pain and sciatica. A disk in the lumbar area becomes herniated when it ruptures or thins out, and degenerates to the point that the gel within the disk (the nucleus pulposus) pushes outward.

 

 

Disc degeneration....

 

As the disc dries and cracks, it is likely to develop bulges, ruptures and tears. As the disc deflates, spinal stenosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis are the possible results. These secondary problems are the reason an aging spine can go from being asymptomatic to having symptoms of pain, stiffness, and sciatica-symptomatic disc degeneration.

 

Fear....

 

One study shows how the fear of pain more than the pain itself actually predicts who will transition from acute to chronic low back pain (LBP). And fear that is linked with pain is also linked with restricted physical movement. In the end, the acute LBP patient sees himself as more disabled than he really is based on pain-related fear.

 

 

 

Osteoarthritis....

 

Osteoarthritis occurs in joints of the spine, usually as a result of aging, but also in response to previous back injuries, excessive wear and tear, previously herniated discs, prior surgeries and fractures. Cartilage between the joints of the spine is destroyed, and spinal discs become more brittle. The rate at which these changes develop varies between people.

 

Spinal stenosis....

 

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, or narrowing of the openings where spinal nerves leave the spinal column. This condition typically develops as a person ages and the disks start to shrink. At the same time, the bones and ligaments of the spine swell or grow larger due to arthritis and chronic inflammation.

 

 

 

Spondylolisthesis....

 

Spondylolisthesis occurs when one of the lumbar vertebrae slips over another. In children, spondylolisthesis usually occurs between the fifth bone in the lower back and the first bone in the sacrum area. It is often due to a birth defect in that area of the spine. In adults, the most common cause is degenerative disease (such as arthritis).

 

Osteoporosis....

Osteoporosis is a disease of the skeleton in which the amount of calcium present in the bones slowly decreases to the point where the bones become fragile and prone to fractures. It usually does not cause pain unless the vertebrae collapse suddenly, in which case the pain is often severe. More than one vertebra may be affected.

 

 

 

Where do you turn for help? Our team of therapists can help you find a path towards pain management and help you be more active. Get in touch and find out more about how we can help you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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