Back Pain

Your back pain symptoms may be caused by a variety of reasons.  It is vital to the successful outcome of your chiropractic treatment, to find the underlying cause of your symptoms.  Your back pain may as a result of an injury to any of the tissues of the back, including muscles, nerves, joints, tendons, connective tissue or reduced blood supply.  The area or spread of symptoms may involve the whole back or may only affect specific areas.  The symptoms may be constant or intermittent and may improve or worsen with motion.

Common symptoms of the back may include: pain, decreased mobility or stiffness. The type of pain / symptoms may be described as burning, dull, sharp or throbbing.  These symptoms may range in intensity from mild to severe.  Frequently, symptoms perceived in the low back are actually referred from a problem in the pelvic region and into the upper back from the neck.  Here is a selection of common injuries that have been diagnosed at this clinic.

Strain / Sprain injury is a common term to describe ‘non-specfic’ low back pain.  There are many tissues in the low back that may cause symptoms of pain etc.  If the more sinister causes of low back pain or leg pains have been ruled out, then a diagnosis of ‘non-specfic’ low back pain may be made.  The tissues of the low back that may be strained are the lumbar and pelvic muscles and tendons and the lumbar and sacral ligaments may be sprained.

This is a similar injury to ‘pulling’ a muscles in your leg, tendonitis of the knee or spraining a ligament in your ankle.  Assuming that there wasn’t a trauma or twist to provoke the injury, then a thorough assessment will reveal why these tissues have been stressed beyond their capabilities.  The damaged tissue will take time to heal, but the healing process will happen much sooner and further similar injuries will be minimised, if the under-lying ‘cause’ of the injury is highlighted and addressed. 

Facet syndrome is inflammation on one or more joints of the spine.  There are two facet joints to each spinal vertebra (left and right).  These joints are enclosed by a fibrous capsule which encapsulates synovial fluid around the joint, to keep it lubricated.  The capsule can also be a source of pain, should it be stretched or ‘pinched’ in between the spinal joint. 


If the spinal joints were violently closed (quickly arching the low back), mis-aligned (subluxated) due to inappropriate back movements, there is a muscle imbalances and / or you sustain a poor posture, then facet syndrome may develop to one or both sides of the back.  Facet syndrome will cause pain and stiffness in the back but may also refer symptoms into the buttocks, thighs and / or upper back.  The back stiffness tends to be greater in the morning and improves as more movement of the back is produced.  Symptoms tend to increase again in the evening, if the back is stressed too much during the course of a working day or prolonged poor posture.

If the spinal joint dysfunction is not addressed in its early stages, then the rate of spinal joint degeneration is greatly accelerated, resulting in chronic pain syndromes in later life.  Early intervention is recommended to correct any spinal mis-alignment and muscular imbalances, to help delay spinal degeneration.

Sacro-iliac joint dis-placement is a very common source of low back pain.  Pain may be felt over the affected sacro-iliac joint but commonly refers pain to the lower back and buttock regions.

sacrum
When there is a muscle imbalance, the muscles attaching to the ilia (pelvis) pull the ilia too far forward or too far backwards.  This often results in instability of one or both the sacro-iliac joints and allows the sacrum to become dis-placed, either too far forward or too far backwards.   If the sacrum is dis-placed too far forward, then flexion (knees to chest) type exercises are recommended.  Walking, running or anything that causes your lower back to arch, will exacerbate your symptoms.  If the sacrum is dis-placed too far backward, then extension (arching backward) type exercises are recommended.  Sitting, bending forward or anything that causes your lower back to curve backward, will exacerbate your symptoms.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome comes from the words ‘myo’ which means muscle, and ‘fascia’ which is the connective tissue that covers all muscles and organs of the body.  You will have no doubt heard of a ‘knot’ in a muscle and most probably experienced some ‘tension’ in a muscle or group of muscles.  Myofascial pain, often referred to astrigger points’, are points of hyper-tension (knot) within a band of tense muscle fibres.  These trigger points can be either ‘active’ or ‘latent’.  Active trigger points may refer pain to areas of the body, far from the trigger point. 


Active trigger points in the muscles of the back muscles may refer into the pelvic region and vice versa, depending on where the trigger points are located.  When these active trigger points are further stressed by poor posture, sustained contraction, cold / hot weather, then they may refer symptoms to their predictable site.  Latent trigger points do not refer symptoms but do cause local pain.  These latent trigger points will evolve into active trigger points if left untreated and if the original stress continues.  A diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation is required to de-activate these trigger points which will alleviate the symptoms.

A Slipped Disc in the lumbar spine (low back) may refer pain and symptoms into the low back and pelvic region, due to compression or chemical irritation of the lumbar nerve from the adjacent ‘bulging’ or herniated lumbar disc.  The lumbar nerve is ‘irritated’ by the slipped disc as it exits the lumbar spine, before it courses down the leg. 

It may produce symptoms of pain, pins and needles and/ or numbness and is often called ‘radicular’ pain or a ‘radiculopathy’.  The symptoms are often described as ‘shooting’ or ‘throbbing’ pains and symptoms may increase when you cough or sneeze.  Surgical intervention is sometimes required, to reduce the nerve compression

slipped_disc

Another cause of a ‘radiculopathy’ is osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine.  In this case, the exiting lumbar nerve is trapped by the surrounding bony lumbar vertebrae, commonly found in people with degeneration (wear and tear) of the back joints.  This diagnosis is not amenable to chiropractic intervention.

It is absolutely paramount to your good health that the underlying causes of your back symptoms are found and correct diagnosis is made.  Dr Doherty will use his wealth of experience to achieve this and to make the appropriate management plan for you.

Please phone 0161 482 0786, to make your consultation and examination appointment or to make further enquiries.

The Family Chiropractic Clinic, 15 Station Road, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport.  SK8 5AF. 

Chiropractor serving the people of Cheadle, Stockport, Manchester, Trafford and Tameside.

 


chiropractic.clinic.family@gmail.com