Low back pain is extremely common. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, (20 years of data was considered), worldwide, low back pain is the highest ranking cause of disability ( depression ranks 2nd, iron-deficiency anemia 3rd and neck pain is 4th: see http://www.strudchiro.ca/neck-pain/ for more info). Low back pain can be characterized as either acute or chronic and the conversion thereof is poorly understood. There are a few known risk factors: it is more common in older women, those with a family history of disc disorders, a higher body mass index and smoking. Heavy physical work would be a natural thought too, but the evidence does not reflect this. What we do know, however, is that a previous occurrence of low back pain is a strong indicator for a future occurrence.
Among the causes of low back pain, include: facet syndrome, osteoarthritis, various disc lesions, mechanical low back pain, and sprain/strain injury to name a few. The spondylogenic causes – those derived from the spine itself, are the most common, however, viscerogenic or neurogenic – those of organ or neurologic cause – are less common, but need to be screened for as well. This fact highlights the importance of a proper history and physical, orthopedic and neurologic exam be taken to arrive at a most-probable diagnosis. It is “most-probable”, because the spondylogenic causes can mimic each other and have very similar presentations. People often believe that sciatica is a requirement for a disc lesion, but this is not the case. Only back pain can be the sole complaint. Sometimes imaging such as an MRI is required to have a more accurate diagnosis, but this is only the gold standard with a competent clinical history and exam.
Chiropractic care for low back pain has been proven to be one of the most effective means to treat both the acute and chronic scenarios. As mentioned in a previous post, the branch of England’s National Health System (NHS) recommends manual therapy (adjustment and massage) combined with exercise as the most effective means to treat acute low back pain. They do not recommend the use of decompression tables, orthotics, ultrasound nor acupuncture to remedy acute patients. If you deal with low back pain, are in the Victoria area, and are unsure if a chiropractor can help you, give us a call and we can set-up a consultation.
Dr. Mark Strudwick is a third-generation chiropractor in Victoria, B.C.