Lower back pain refers to pain that an individual feels in the lower back. Both men and women are equally affected by low back pain and the intensity can vary from dull and tolerable pain to severe and sharp sensations. In most cases, low back pain is acute and lasts a few days to a few weeks. However, some can experience chronic lower back pain. In order to be classified as chronic lower back pain it has to be persistent for longer than three months. With that being said, in 20% cases acute low back pain develops into chronic issues. Unfortunately, chronic low back pain has a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, which is why it is necessary to manage it properly.
Current Data on Lower Back Pain
According to a population-based survey conducted by the James Cook University, lower back pain is a common problem among adults in Australia. Findings from the survey, published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, showed that 10% of surveyed individuals were significantly disabled by low back pain.
The American Chiropractic Association states that:
- 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time
- One-half of all working Americans report having back pain symptoms each year
- Americans spend about $50 billion year on back
Lower back pain isn’t only a major problem in the United States.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that:
- 3 million Australians have a back problem. This accounts for 13.6% of the population
- Between 70% and 90% of people will experience low back pain at some point of their lives
- In 2010/11, there were 93,564 hospitalizations in Australia due to back pain. Of these, 27.7% of hospitalizations accounted for low back pain
- Chronic lower back pain is the largest cause of disability in Australia
Causes of lower back pain
Lower back pain includes the five vertebrae (L1 – L5) in the lumbar region, which support the weight of the upper body. In most instances, lower back pain is mechanical in nature and occurs due to following causes:
- Sprains and strains
- Intervertebral disc degeneration
- Nerve Pain
- Herniated or ruptured discs
- A traumatic injury
- Skeletal irregularities (Congenital disorders)
- Overuse/Poor Posture
How do chiropractic adjustments help?
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that manual therapies commonly used by chiropractors are effective for the treatment of chronic lower back pain. In fact, the study published in the journal Spine reveals that the spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) or adjustments are beneficial for the treatment of the chronic lower back pain, and the long-term outcome is enhanced by utilising SMT.
Chiropractic treatment for chronic lower back pain usually includes the following:
- Spinal manipulation and manual manipulation – high-velocity, short lever arm thrust applied to vertebra to enhance functionality, restore range of motion, and reduce nerve irritability
- Mobilization – low-velocity manipulation, movement and stretching of the muscles and joints to increase range of motion in these specific areas
- Activator adjustments- low force impulse into the nerves to ensure they fire properly.
- Chiropractors evaluate the patient’s condition and the pain intensity in order to create an approach
Spinal manipulation appears to work as well as other, conventional treatments of the chronic lower back pain. Furthermore, the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society included spinal manipulation in their guidelines as recommended treatment options for practitioners to consider if the patient’s pain doesn’t improve with self-care.
The chronic lower back pain is one of the main causes of disability in Australia and it has a significant impact on a person’s life. Besides conventional methods of managing the pain, chiropractic treatment poses as an effective way of managing the condition in a completely natural manner.