Back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions in the United States. 8 out of 10 Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime and over 500 million people globally are affected by back pain. Back pain is a leading cause of missed work and health care cost annually.
Low back pain can arrive from a number of conditions and causes. The bright news is many causes are treatable and will resolve over time. MVMT specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of back pain.
What Percentage of the population has low back pain?
80% will experience back pain at least 1 time throughout the year
8% of individuals over 18 years of age will experience chronic back pain that will have a significant impact on their daily activities and life
Causes of back pain we see in our office
- Chronic pain
- Lumbar Disc Injury
- Lower Crossed Syndrome
- Acute Low back pain
- Lumbar sprain/strain
- Lumbar Facet pain
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Lumbar Stenosis
- Pregnancy related low back pain
Percent Of Adults With Back Pain During The Last 3 Months
|75 years and over||29.7||37.3|
- Lumbar Disc Injury
- Lumbar facet syndrome
- lower crossed syndrome
Lumbar Disc Injury
Spinal discs are cushion-like shock absorbers that live between all of your vertebrae or spinal bones. A lumbar disc injury can arise from acute trauma, repetitive stress or aging. Pain from lumbar disc injury arises when the disc is damaged.
1⁄3 of individuals with disc damage wont experience any symptoms while 1⁄3 of adults will experience pain from disc injuries at some point in their lifetime. This condition is most common between the ages of 40-60.
Risk Factors for developing Disc related pain
- Taller individuals or overweight individuals
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Occupational Hazards- long haul drivers, exposure to vibration forces, repetitive bending/lifting
Lumbar Facet Syndrome
The back of each vertebra is formed by two smaller bony columns (one on each side), capped with smooth joints called “facets”. “Facet syndrome” means that your facet joints have become irritated and inflamed. This problem can arise from sprains, strains, or joints that are not moving properly. You are more likely to develop facet syndrome if they have suffered an injury, overuse their back, have arthritis or are overweight.
When a facet is irritated, you will likely notice pain on one side of your back that may radiate into your flank, hip, and thigh.
Facet joint is thought to be the source of pain in 15-45% of patients with chronic low back pain.
Populations that we treat that are prone to facet syndrome -Adults 40-70 w/ known arthritis
- Weight lifters
- jobs or sports requiring repetitive backbending
“Sprains” and “strains” are the result of muscles, tendons or ligaments being stretched too hard or too far, much like a rope that frays when it is stretched beyond its normal capacity. The term “sprain” means that the ligaments that hold your bones together have been damaged, while “strain” means that your muscles or tendons that move your trunk have been partially torn. Depending on the injury, whether it is a sprain or a strain, your doctor may advise different treatment options.
The low back can be subject to tremendous loads and demands. Strains and sprains in the low back are most common at the lowest spinal segments. The severity of these injuries are dependent on many factors like the magnitude, direction, and persistence of force.
Symptoms of sprain/strain injuries may range from mild to surprisingly debilitating. Pain may begin abruptly, but more commonly develops gradually in the hours or days following an insult. Complaints often include poorly localized, constant dull lower back pain that intensifies or becomes sharp with movement. Patients may awaken with pain or note increased symptoms when flexing, bending, twisting, or lifting.
Sprain/strain injuries cause your normal healthy elastic tissue to be replaced with less elastic “scar tissue.” This process can lead to ongoing pain and even arthritis. Patients who elect to forego treatment and “just deal with it” develop chronic low back pain more than 60% of the time. Seeking early and appropriate treatment like the type provided in our office is critical.
Lower Crossed Syndrome
Poor posture can lead to chronic strain and discomfort in different muscles or joints throughout the body. “Lower crossed syndrome” is a poor posture that results from excessive tightness in your lower back and hip flexor muscles with weakness in your abdominal and buttock muscles. Patients with lower crossed syndrome often have a “swayback.” Patients who sit for prolonged periods of time are at greater risk of lower crossed syndrome.
Risk factors for developing lower crossed syndrome
- sedentary lifestyle
- Desk Jockeys
- occupations requiring sitting for extended periods
Treating postural syndromes
Treatment in our office may focus on the wear and tear on muscles, tendons, and joints. This may come in the form of manual therapy and joint manipulation.
Exercise and specific activity avoidance may help to prevent the effects of this syndrome. Because this syndrome is a result of tight muscles and weak muscles this will be where exercise strategy is focused. We will advise patients on exercises that strengthen the weak muscles as well as exercises that stretch and lengthen the shortened “tight” muscles.
Managing back pain Conservatively
Researchers have shown that pain caused by lumbar disc injuries can be managed conservatively with treatments like the ones we deliver in our office.
Treatment will be focused on reducing the pain and inflammation around the injury. We then need to focus on the mechanical loads that may stress the injured tissue. This may be limiting certain work or physical activities.
People with this condition may need to consider the following:
- Workstation ergonomics
- Lifting mechanics
- Smoking cessation
Treatments that we may offer for low back pain-
- spinal decompression
- Cold laser therapy
- chiropractic manipulation/adjustments
- dry needling
- soft tissue manipulation
- Home exercise plan