We live in a sedentary society – which is terrible for our spine and why low back pain is so widespread. We tend to sit in the same position all day, slumped over our computers, twisted up in front of our gaming systems, or staring down at our phones. These unnatural positions put a lot of stress on the low back and keep us from being as active as we need to be, as active as we are designed to be.
Many of us think pain is normal and nothing to make a big deal of; it will go away on its own. Leaving an issue uncorrected gives it time and space to get progressively worse. Think of it this way, periodically, your car’s check engine light will come on. As long as the light eventually goes off, you won’t take your car in to get checked out. But at a certain point, the light will stay on. This is what most people do with their low back pain. They wait it out, and by the time it gets so bad they can’t take it anymore, the problem has progressed and become a constant nuisance in their lives.
People don’t think a problem is a problem unless they can feel it, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Our body will adapt to pain, making us think the issue resolved itself, but it’s still there. The pain’s actual cause – whether pelvic imbalance, subluxation, or disc injury – is still wreaking havoc on the body. Pain is merely a symptom of a more significant problem. Addressing the pain and not the underlying cause will only provide temporary relief. Chiropractors can identify and correct the underlying problem through chiropractic adjustments, traction, home exercises, and postural improvements.
Our nervous system controls our entire body. Our muscles don’t do anything unless told to by the nervous system. When our spine shifts out of alignment, it interferes with the nerve’s ability to transfer information throughout the body. This misalignment – or subluxation – irritates the nerves causing the muscles to spasm, locking down the joint as a protective measure. The interruption of nerve flow also impedes muscle, cell, and organ function. Our body alerts us to these issues through pain. This pain tends to get the majority of our attention, while at the same time, our body’s function is slowly breaking down.
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Modern medicine’s approach to pain relief is throwing muscle relaxers, painkillers, and anti-inflammatories at the problem. All these drugs have side effects and only offer temporary relief. Structural problems require structural solutions. When you take a pill, there aren’t a bunch of tiny chiropractors that go in to correct the spinal misalignments. As chiropractors, we have no interest in chasing symptoms. We’re looking to correct the problem causing the symptoms to provide long-lasting low back pain relief.
How Our Low Back Pain Care Plan Works
Structural Correction Chiropractic
The body has a natural ability to heal itself but is often hindered by structural imbalances. Physical and emotional stress result in pain, reduced mobility, and other health problems. We detect and correct these imbalances to restore health and well-being.
Your personalized treatment plan will focus on correcting any imbalances or weakness, improving movement patterns, and restoring normal function. We design this plan based on your specific situation to help you get out of pain achieve all your health goals.
The nervous system is the master control system, it controls every cell, tissue, muscle, and organ in the body. By focusing on the nervous system and optimizing its function, we can improve your overall health, reduce pain, and prevent future health problems.
How We Treat Low Back Pain in Newark, DE
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
Our comprehensive consultation allows doctors quality time with patients to understand what’s going on with them, the severity of the issue, how long they’ve been dealing with it, and how it’s affecting their life. Once we’ve laid that foundation, we’ll conduct an exam using orthopedic and neurological tests, computerized and visual postural screenings, spinal palpation, and X-rays if necessary. This process helps us pinpoint the root of the problem of your low back pain so we can address that and not just the symptoms.
At Pike Creek Chiropractic, we want to get rid of pain as fast as possible, but the main focus of our care is to address the underlying issue causing the low back pain, the segmental or regional subluxation complex. To restore posture, spinal structure, and function, we use the Chiropractic BioPhysics three-pronged approach.
- Chiropractic Adjustments
Segmental adjusting, meaning adjusting one vertebra at a time, is combined with mirror image adjustments. This adjustment applies the inverse of a misalignment to realign the spine without affecting the adjacent vertebrae. By inversing the positioning of the misalignment, we can restore the spine to neutral.
Traction improves a person’s posture and reduces abnormal spinal curvatures. Sustained pressure remodels the spine’s curves into their appropriate positions.
Follow-up exercises help stabilize and support any spinal correction for long-term success.
All three prongs work together to make the correction and help the body hold it.
Custom Therapeutic Exercise Plan
It is critical to support the musculature to stabilize the spine and prevent future injury. The skeletal system is controlled by the muscles, which are controlled by the nervous system, and we have to strengthen the musculature so that if you are putting yourself into bending, twisting, or reaching motion, you’re not further injuring yourself and repeating the same problem over and over again. We recommend at-home exercises based on each patient’s specific situation to strengthen weak muscles and improve flexibility in tight muscles.
Universal Traction System
A spinal disc is like a jelly doughnut with a soft center called the nucleus and an outer covering called the annulus fibrosis. When normal pressure is exerted on the disc, the nucleus stays where it should. Abnormal pressure, or an extended period of wear and tear, can cause the nucleus to push against the outer layer. This bulging irritates the nerves causing pain, numbness, inflammation, and muscle and organ dysfunction.
Traction uses sustained pressure on a patient’s gross body mechanics to reduce disc injury and correct normal posture. We put a harness around the lower thoracic spine to raise the patient up and provide a constant pull on their spine. Using cabling, we can reduce lateral or sideways curves. The process is quite comfortable, relieving pressure on the injured discs and misaligned spine and allowing the disc to rehydrate and heal.
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Common Causes of Low Back Pain in Newark, DE
Subluxation is the misalignment of the spinal bones. When the vertebrae shift out of alignment, it causes nerve inflammation and pressure. This pressure can affect muscle and ligament function and decrease nerve flow to surrounding organs. Subluxations don’t just cause low back pain. In fact, you’d have a subluxation long before you started experiencing any low back pain. That’s because pain is the last symptom to show up and the first to go away.
Subluxations are corrected using traction and spinal adjustments. At Pike Creek Chiropractic, a drop table is our primary adjustment tool. This approach allows us to be specific and efficient with the actual adjustments. We don’t need to twist the body around; we can adjust one vertebra at a time in a neutral posture. We also use traction to re-establish normal spinal curves when a subluxation affects an entire spinal region, altering the spine’s natural curves.
The lower back and legs are the most common parts of the body to be affected by lumbar subluxation. It’s also possible to experience sciatica and radicular pain through the thigh, knees, and into the feet. Misalignments in the low back can also lead to constipation, diarrhea, erectile dysfunction, infertility, and painful menstrual cycles.
Disc Bulge and Disc Herniation
During the day, a person can lose up to half an inch because of the pressure placed on our spinal discs as we walk, bend, twist, and reach. A disc is like a jelly donut, with a soft, gel-like center surrounded by a fibrous outer layer. There is a disc between each vertebra to absorb shock and help the spine move normally. The body can deal with this daily pressure, healing itself at night, but over time, with an abnormal amount of pressure and compensated healing abilities, the discs begin to wear down.
As it wears down, the disc’s outer layer begins to rip, and the inner gel-like nucleus pushes on its exterior, causing it to bulge. A bulging disc causes inflammation and can irritate the adjacent nerves. When the disc’s outer layer tears completely, the nucleus herniates from the disc and puts direct pressure on the nerve root. This pain is more intense than a bulge and can affect muscle and organ function.
Most primary care providers give inflammatory meds or muscle relaxers to deal with the pain, but that doesn’t address the underlying structural issues or the disc’s inability to heal. If the situation worsens, a PCP might refer the patient to a neurosurgeon. Chiropractic works to improve the body’s natural healing capabilities and correct the disc’s structural issues to avoid surgery and prolonged medication use.
Stenosis is a bony growth where the lumbar spine has started to degenerate. The growth decreases the space around the spinal nerve as it exits the spinal column to innervate the body. The growth compresses the nerve root, causing pain, muscle weakness, and organ malfunction.
If the issue is caught early enough, conservative chiropractic care works to get rid of the problem, eliminate pain, and improve a person’s quality of life. If left untreated, surgical intervention may become necessary. Surgery is never ideal because of its inherent risk and the scar tissue it leaves behind. The inelasticity of scar tissue can lead to further nerve compression down the road
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative joint disease, DJD, is osteoarthritis caused by the abnormal position of the vertebral bodies in the lumbar vertebra causing irregular bone growth. The bone actually starts to deform along with the discs. This condition cannot be reversed, but we can prevent and stop it from progressing with regular chiropractic screenings. Decreasing the amount of abnormal stress on the joint helps it regain as much normal function as possible.
If you bend at your waist to pick up a 10 lbs box, you are actually putting 100 lbs of stress on your back muscles. Turning 10 lbs into 100 lbs is not the best way to keep your spine healthy, but it is a good way to tear muscle fibers. A muscle strain is tearing muscle fibers, causing an inflammatory process that creates pain and scar tissue.
Muscle strains can happen from an acute, sudden injury but can also result from weak core muscles. We see a lot of weekend warriors who are not active during the week or are sedentary all winter and want to be active outside during the summer. Their muscles aren’t used to being used this way and begin to tear.
Strains can also be a symptom of subluxation. A misaligned vertebra alters nervous system function, further complicating muscle function in a negative feedback cycle. If left untreated, the body will adapt to this new altered state.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my low back pain is serious?
Pain is common, but it is not normal. If you are experiencing significant pain or the problem is impacting your quality of life, you need to have the situation assessed by a chiropractor. Anything that impedes your daily activity is serious.
What causes lower back pain?
Low back pain can result from a muscle, joint, or disc issue. It could be related to a disc herniation or bulging disc, a muscle strain, or a subluxation in the spine. Identifying the underlying cause is essential to creating an effective low back pain treatment plan.
How should I sleep with lower back pain?
One of the best ways to sleep with low back pain is on your back with a pillow underneath your knees. Another good option is on your side with a pillow between your knees. These positions take the stress off your low back by keeping your spine neutral. If you’re sleeping on your stomach…STOP.
Why won’t my lower back pain go away?
Addressing low back pain symptoms is a temporary solution, leading to recurring flare-ups. Long-term relief is only possible by addressing the underlying cause of the low back pain.
How do I tell if the lower back pain is muscle or disk related?
Both muscle and disc-related low back pain cause nerve irritation and muscle tension. That’s why it is difficult to differentiate between the two without a chiropractic evaluation.
When should I be worried about lower back pain?
Anything that affects how you live on a day-to-day basis is worth addressing. Remember, pain is a warning, letting us know something is wrong. The longer we let the problem fester, the more difficult it becomes to correct.