Back pain has become an epidemic in our society with some studies suggesting that around 80% of people will experience it at some stage in their life.
Low back pain is a condition which causes confusion within the community because of the number of origins and treatment options. Studies are showing that surgery is not the best option and drugs are somewhat ineffective (in some cases). However, there are activities that you can do in your everyday life to help alleviate some of your back pain.
We want to tell you about 3 underlying issues that may be causing or contributing to your low back pain and give you some advice about how chiropractic and/or massage and acupuncture could help.
Have you ever rolled your ankle (a sprain)? You would see a lot of swelling and an increase in heat. This is inflammation and it plays an important role in the body in regards to healing and repairing tissue. When a joint is acutely inflamed there is an increase in blood flow which acts to bring more healing products to the injured area and remove more of the lactic acid and by-products of the healing process. However, with chronic inflammation (inflammation lasting greater than 6 weeks) this process is much more complicated and therefore more difficult to treat.
In our experience, chronic inflammation is the number one reason for visits to our clinic. This is due to many reasons but primarily because we are living a more sedentary life. When we aren’t moving our joints aren’t moving and they need movement to remain healthy. Movement helps to bring in nutrients and oxygen to the joints as well as flush out toxins, and because we are very sedentary these nutrients aren’t being provided and the toxins aren’t being removed. This leads to inflammation.
Another cause of inflammation is what we eat! Our diet plays a massive role in the amount of inflammation within our bodies. This is especially true for highly processed foods such as processed sugars and fats. For example, that chocolate bar you have every day or the Friday night fish and chips may just be contributing to your back pain. Why not try a 7-day detox and see how you feel?
People commonly think about stress manifesting in ways such as anxiety, depression, sleepless nights and really tight shoulders that seem to come up to your ears. What most people don’t realise is that stress can manifest through pain!
When our bodies are under stress it drives our sympathetic nervous system, which is our fight or flight response. This causes our brain to be wired ready to run from or attack whatever is causing the stress and causes things like our muscles to tighten and blood flow to divert to our arms and legs. This was great back in the day when we had to run from sabre tooth tigers but it doesn’t serve us well these days when we live a life that is constantly exposed to stress. Stress causes a lot of dysfunction in the body and alters the way our brain perceives things such as pain.
Aim to practice stress reduction techniques every day, whether it be meditation, mindfulness or some deep abdominal breathing.
- Alignment issues
Our spine is designed to have a specific structure and function and this relies on proper alignment. When our spine is aligned it allows the nervous system to be functioning optimally. When it loses proper alignment, it effects how the spine moves and therefore how it functions – which can lead to pain. Alignment issues are very common these days due to the increased amount of time we spend sitting, the exercises (or lack of) we do, the foods we eat and they way we are so asymmetrical (right or left dominant) in our day to day living. Alignment and movement issues within the body are very complex to treat as there are changes within the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joint capsules etc that all must be addressed before correct motion can be restored. Chiropractors are trained for many years to determine where your alignment issues are and how to restore them. This often involves a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment. At Hawker Chiropractic we have a dedicated team of chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists to work together on treating these complex mechanical problems. We have been found to be very successful in reducing/eliminating back pain through re-aligning the spine and allowing for proper function.