Low back pain (LBP) is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, with nearly half of all American worker’s experiencing low back symptoms each year. In fact, LBP is the second most common reason for visiting a doctor, and accounts for more than 50 billion dollars in annual medical expenses. It is estimated that nearly 80% of the population will experience LBP at some point in their lives, with nearly 31 million Americans suffering at any given time. Fortunately, for most individuals, LBP is often the result of poor biomechanics, and can usually be treated with conservative methods.
While most cases of LBP are mechanical in nature, it is still important to determine the actual mechanism of injury, as well as the specific tissues that are irritated. Rather than simply masking the symptoms (e.g. with pain medications), we at Full Function Chiropractic look to treat the root cause of the condition. To do so, each patient is taken through a thorough history and orthopedic examination. Not only does this help us to rule out any underlying conditions that may be causing the discomfort (e.g. fractures, infections, etc.), but also helps us to focus on a more specific diagnosis.
Although your LBP may seem similar to your neighbor’s, it is important to remember that each individual is unique, as is their specific injury. Left sided LBP that refers into the buttock may be the result of a muscle strain, facet compression (the joints that join the vertebrae of your spine), sacroiliac sprain ( the joints/ligaments that join your spine and pelvis), or an inflamed disc, to name a few possibilities. While many of these conditions are treated in a similar fashion, each requires its own unique treatment modifications, exercise instructions, nutritional support, etc.
If, following examination, Dr. Bower determines that you are a candidate for chiropractic care, a personalized treatment plan will be developed for you. This plan may include chiropractic adjustments, therapeutic modalities (such as electric stimulation or ultrasound), soft tissue work (such as instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy), therapeutic exercise, and homecare instructions on ergonomics and nutrition.
As part of your plan, you may also be referred to another specialist for co-management of your condition. In fact, a 2013 study, published in the journal Spine, found that “[Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy] in conjunction with [standard medical care] offers a significant advantage for decreasing pain and improving physical functioning when compared with only standard care, for men and women between 18 and 35 years of age with acute low back pain.”