Low back pain is the most common presenting complaint we see here at Cotham Chiropractic Clinic. During your first appointment we will perform a detailed physical examination including reflexes, muscle strength, range of motion, sensation, functional muscle & orthopaedic tests to help formulate an accurate diagnosis as there are multiple anatomical structures that can cause your back pain.
Common causes of low back pain include:
Lumbar Facet Joints
These are the joints located in between the vertebrae of the spine. When the movement of the joints becomes restricted, it can cause inflammation of the surrounding structures resulting in pain and stiffness.
This joint connects the region of the low spine (sacrum) and the pelvis. Again when this region becomes restricted & inflamed as well as causing localized pain it can also result in buttock & or groin pain referral.
The discs are fibrocartilage tissue situated between the vertebrae of the spine. They act as shock absorbers & dissipate stress during movements of the body. A herniation of the disc is a movement of the disc from its optimal position. This can result in irritation of the surronding muscles & joints, potentially resulting in the symptoms in the leg as nerve irritation & can result in pain along the length of the nerve pathway. This can result in sensation or muscle strength changes, as well as pain in the lower back.
The term sciatica is frequently used as an umbrella term for any condition causing lower back & leg pain, however true sciatica is a compression of the actual sciatic nerve. A nerve that originates at the lumbosacral plexus & then travels to the posterior aspect of the thigh, calf & into the sole of the foot.
A muscle within the buttock area that originates in the sacrum region of the spine & inserts into the femur (the bone of the hip). Pain can be caused when the muscle presses against the sciatic nerve which sometimes passes directly underneath the muscle, thus tightness & dysfunction of the muscle can result in compression of the sciatic nerve causing buttock and leg pain.
The muscular and ligamentous structures of the lower back constitute the main stabilizing structures of the area, therefore injuries can be very painful & restrictive.
Treatment of the areas consists of a combination of Joint Manipulation & Mobilization Soft Tissue Work, Soft Tissue Release Techniques, & Dry Needling/Western Acupuncture.
What to do if you have back pain
- Keep active but without aggravating your condition, e.g. if striding out while walking is uncomfortable then shuffle along. It is important to also limit the time you walk or shuffle to prevent aggravation.
- Use ice instead of heat, especially if the condition is acute. Apply the ice several times a day for at least 30 minutes but remember to put a tea towel or something similar between the ice pack and your skin to prevent frostbite.
- Avoid or limit painful activities, e.g. sitting is often painful so limit the time you sit and have regular breaks.
- If sleeping is painful then try sleeping with a pillow between your legs.
- Seek advice from a qualified Chiropractor if the pain is not getting better or gone within several days to a week.