All Posts tagged Low Back Pain

Tips To Prevent Back Pain From Backpacks

girl-with-backpackAs I stated in the previous post, children are developing more and more cases of back pain from using backpacks.  So as parents, what can you do?  The American Chiropractic Association offers the following tips to help prevent the pain that backpack misuse could cause the students in your household:

  • Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  • A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back.
  • Bigger is not necessarily better. The more room there is in a backpack, the more your child will carry-and the heavier the backpack will be.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
  • Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable, and can dig into your child’s shoulders.
  • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child’s teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.
  • Although the use of rollerpacks – or backpacks on wheels – has become popular in recent years, many schools, as well as the American Chiropractic Association, are now recommending that they be used cautiously and on a limited basis by only those students who are not physically able to carry a backpack. In fact, some school districts have begun banning the use of rollerpacks because they clutter hallways, resulting in dangerous trips and falls.

If you or your child experiences any pain or discomfort resulting from backpack use, call your doctor of chiropractic. Doctors of chiropractic are licensed and trained to diagnose and treat patients of all ages and will use a gentler type of treatment for children. In addition, doctors of chiropractic can also prescribe exercises designed to help children develop strong muscles, along with instruction in good nutrition, posture and sleeping habits.

More

The Primary Causes of Low Back Pain

Acute pain in a woman backHaving treated many cases of low back pain over the years, I have heard lots of explanations of how their back pain began.  I have heard everything from falling down stairs to sleeping on a bad mattress to sneezing.  But at the end of the day, most cases of low back pain originate from only 5 causes. 

1. An acute accident or injury.  For this type of case the diagnosis is typically very straightforward. A slip and fall, muscle strain, vehicle accident, sprain from lifting or similar event often causes immediate pain or pain within 24 hours of the event.

2. Sub-acute accident or injury. This type of case can be a little more difficult because the patient cannot often recall a specific reason for the pain.  It usually stems from a mild injury that went unnoticed by the patient sometime before the pain began. 

3. Chronic pain from ongoing mechanical stress. An example of this type of problem might be a patient that has a desk job that involves hours of sitting each day. Even if they have ergonomic furniture, the prolonged sitting causes back pain.

4. Degenerative discs or joints. These conditions can affect a wide range of patients. This is usually the result of disc and joint deterioration as a result of an injury long ago. Or in some cases, a patient is simply more prone to early spinal degeneration as a result of genetics.

Degenerative joint conditions often develop silently for years and are not revealed until the patient realizes that their back pain is getting worse over time.  Degenerative disc processes also include bulging or herniated discs that can result in pinched nerves.

5. Other disease processes such as arthritis. Although patients are often told that their condition is the result of “arthritis”, but in many cases patients with degenerative disc conditions are misdiagnosed as having arthritis. 

Effective treatment for back pain is dependent on getting the diagnosis right.

If the pain is solely the result of a recent injury or tight muscles, rest and cold packs may be effective.

Many doctors will prescribe pain killers. However, for conditions that have been present for more than a few days, these drugs are likely to bring about temporary relief at best. When the pills wear off, the pain returns. That is because the underlying condition that is causing the pain is not being addressed.

If a patient fails to respond to the first round of drugs, another more powerful selection might be offered. Physical therapy may also be recommended. Physical therapists usually provide treatments such as ultrasound or electric stimulation. These therapies can be helpful for many patients. In addition the patients will often be taught how to do specific exercises at home. This is beneficial for many patients.

If a patient has a disc injury, they may be referred to a spinal surgeon. In extreme cases spinal surgery may be the only reasonable solution. However, spinal surgery necessarily damages healthy tissue while gaining access to the damaged tissue, and should be considered a last resort.

Often patients choose to bypass the traditional medical route and seek alternative solutions for their back pain. Preferred options may include massage, acupuncture and chiropractic care.

Chiropractors are spinal specialists. Chiropractic training includes more time spent studying spinal function in detail than any other medical provider. It make sense that chiropractors will typically have successful treatments for a wide range of spinal issues.

Spinal manipulation is one of the most familiar treatments offered by chiropractors. Many people are surprised to learn that chiropractic care involves much more than spinal manipulation. In our office for example, we provide detailed examinations, therapies such as electrical stimulation, rehab training in corrective exercises, an incredibly wide range of manipulative procedures including very gentle approaches.

Regardless of the cause for back pain, there is likely an effective treatment available. The key is matching the treatment to the correct diagnosis.

More

Chiropractic Treatment of Low Back Pain and Sciatica

Low back pain is one of the leading reasons why people seek chiropractic care. Numerous research studies have found that chiropractic care is one of the most effective forms of treating low back pain.  In 1990, the British Medical Research Council performed a 10-year government study finding that chiropractic care was twice as effective as medical care for the long-term relief from low back pain.  In 1991, an exhaustive study of chiropractic was conducted by neurologists, medical orthopedists, and chiropractors on behalf of the RAND Corporation, an internationally recognized non-profit research organization.  They found that spinal manipulation (as used by chiropractors) to be an effective and appropriate treatment for low back disorders. These researchers discovered that patients treated by manipulation improved significantly faster as compared to those treated by medical care or having no treatment at all.

So how exactly does chiropractic relieve back pain and sciatica (pain shooting down the back of the leg)?  Your lumbar spine (your low back) and pelvis are made up of a number of different bones.  Your lumbar spine is composed of vertebrae that sit on top of each other and are separated by a spongy material called discs.  Your pelvis is composed of your sacrum (your tailbone) and 2 pelvic bones that attach on either side of your sacrum.  Chiropractors believe that abnormal stress put on the spine and pelvic bones can cause those bones to become stuck in an abnormal position.  This can cause pressure to be put on the nerves in the low back causing the symptom of sciatica.  When the bones in the low back become out of their natural alignment, their joints cannot move the way they normally should.  As a result, muscle spasm, pain, and inflammation can develop in the area. By restoring the spinal vertebrae and pelvic bones to their normal position and motion through the use of chiropractic adjustments, pressure is released from the spinal nerves and the pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms decrease.

More