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HomeLow Back Pain  
Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain

One of the most common injuries affecting more than one in five people at some point in their lives are Low back disorders. The associated pain can be anything from a mild nagging to an extremely crippling pain. There can be many possible causes and all tend to be quite complex and can be very difficult to treat. The most common cause is the lumbar strain often affecting athletes and workers who lift heavy objects, especially if they do not practice the proper lifting techniquws. This is usually caused by microtears of the muscles and ligaments, it can account for up to 75% of all back problems but is usually the easiest to treat.

FSJ or Facet joint syndrome accounts for another 10 to 15% of back problems and is usually caused by the excessive twisting or arching of your back. Your back's vertebrae are connected by facet joints. These joints can cause inflammation in the surrounding tissue when strained under extreme forces. The pain can persist for a long period of time as the facet joints are often re-irritated or not allowed to heal properly.

The bulging, herniated disc or "slipped disc" is usually the most severe of the back injuries accounting for 5 to 10% of all of the low back problems. The spine's disc is a soft jelly-like material that acts as a shock absorber between the vertebrae. The center of the disc is still softer and can squeeze out pressing and pinching the nerves resulting in sciatic nerve pain. This pain can shoot right down to the foot in severe cases.

Degenerated discs usually occur in people over 40 even without specific injury. Various types of arthritis can spur on disc degeneration or even the wear and teat of your life. The discs lose moisture and tend to shrink and cause facet joints to settle closer together. This can cause pinching and irritation of the surrounding nerves.

Sciatica is the most common type of low back pain that radiates down the leg. It usually results from a herniated disc when the jelly-like material between the vertebrae bulges out and pushes on a spinal nerves. Sciatica can also result from spinal stenosis when the canal containing the spinal cord narrows or if it is congenital (from birth), also putting pressure on the spinal nerves.

Piriformis syndrome can often be misdiagnosed because it can mimic other conditions such as herniated disc. The piriformis muscle is located in the buttock, underneath the glute muscles. It aids in the external rotation of the hip. The routing of the sciatic nerve differs from one person to another. The nerve can split and pass around or through the piriformis muscle. The pain is caused by the piriformis muscle becoming tight and compressing around the sciatic nerve.

Low back pain is usually exacerbated by chronic inflammation. Improving blood circulation reduces inflammation and give the body a much greater chance to heal itself.

Always take the simple approach first before electing surgery. Try physical therapy especially exercise in a swimming pool and before embarking on any exercise program be sure to consult with your doctor or therapist first.

Research Findings:
A double blind comparative study of micro-stimulation and placebo effect in short term treatment of the chronic back patient.

Lerner, Kirsch, ACAJ of Chriropractic 15:S101-S106, 1981 


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