Lets talk back pain....
Before I get into the details, let me just say. A mechanical problem requires a mechanical fix. Taking drugs to help heal a mechanical dysfunction makes no sense. If my car is running out of gas, the gas light comes on, I don't put tape over the light to fix the problem.
The lower back is a mechanical structure that gives the body stability and mobility both. The circuit breaker or spinal cord runs through the middle of the spine. The spinal cord exits the spine to give function to the entire body. Without the spinal column or spinal cord we can't function period. A injury to the spine will result in annoying problems. The types of problems vary greatly, as do the treatments. To understand the different types of back pain you have to understand the anatomy a little bit. Once you understand the anatomy it makes perfect sense why spine surgery doesn't have a good success rate. The spine moves in 14 different directions and each level has 2 nerves, 2 blood vessels, and lymphatics exiting both sides. To move without compressing the nerves requires:
1. Adequate disc height / hydration : 86% of the disc is water. These is a 2 part concern. Are you compressing your spine too much and/or not hydrating enough. My clinic is equipped with the best water machine I could get my hands on, I take hydration very seriously.
2. Proper alignment - Once you have seen a picture of the spine, the alignment aspect makes perfect sense. I love hearing people say " I believe in chiropractic or I don't believe in chiropractic" etc etc etc. It always makes me laugh because chiropractic is not a religion. Chiropractic is an art of helping the body heal using stretching, adjusting, exercising, hands on techniques, nutrition, and lifestyle modification. Pretty much I have no idea what drugs to take or what surgeries to use, that's not my expertise. If you are looking for answers without using drugs or surgery, I'm the one to see.
3. Correct movement patterns - do you know why professional pitchers, quarterbacks, sprinters, basketball players have similar techniques when it comes to their trait - it works the best. Throw a baseball 200 times incorrectly and inflammation will accumulate and injuries will occur. I have to assess what someone does for a living to get them the best treatment. Once I figure out the diagnosis, then its time to think backwards, why did this happen...??? Teaching someone better mechanics will cut down the wear and tear on the body. Decreasing the wear on the body helps the patient recover quicker and help to make sure the condition doesn't come back. Everyone knows to lift with the legs and not the back, yet everyone lifts with their back. Instead of pivoting with their feet they twist at the back. Different body parts are meant to stay up to different stresses. Use a joint incorrectly and it will break down quickly. With the use of xray, you can actually see how someone is using their joints correctly or incorrectly over time.
4. Born this way - some patients (like myself) were born with small congenital defects that set them up for back pain. Some are so subtle only trained experts can see them on x-ray or find them through a physical exam. I would say the defects are rare but I honestly see them weekly. The good news is if you haven't had pain your entire life, its possible to get back to normal. Remember only Jesus had a perfect spine. Defects that are common are tropism which means the joints are not built symmetrical on both sides of the body. Fusion which means instead of having 2 separate bones a person might have a natural fusion and only have one. These defects are not to be confused with bone spurs or other osteoarthritc findings. If you were born a certain way = congenital anomaly. I abused my body = osteoarthritis (arthritis or inflammation of the bone/joint). Knowing the difference between these two are critical.
5. Never properly treated from the first injury - A lot of back injuries are chronic, meaning they happen over and over again. One of our treatment goals are to minimize flare up over time. This is how the story should go in this order!
A. Decrease pain and inflammation
B. Restore proper range of motion: if the joint is made to flex 140 degrees but a patient is only able to flex the joint 100 degrees PROBLEM.
C. Increase stability: strengthen the joint complex so the injury is less likely to happen again. Strengthen the area without making the pain come back is an art.
D. Perfect functionality: make sure technique, balance control, movement patterns are correct. Have you ever seen someone limp even though they have no pain. That's what I am talking about, make sure they are back to 100 percent, not nearly just the absence of pain.
That is a lot of information!