According to the World Health Organization (WHO), low back pain is the number one cause of disability worldwide (1). From bad postures to sedentary lifestyles, the incidence of back pain is detrimental to one’s quality of life including physical, emotional, and social wellbeing.
Major contributors to the incidence of low back pain include soft-tissue injuries (sprains and strains), physical trauma, bad postures, repetitive movements, obesity, normal wear-and-tear, and many more.
Who Does it Affect?
Low back pain can affect anyone from a young child to an older adult. Older adults, however, are affected more often due to gradual wear-and-tear, years of repetitive motions, and years in the workforce.
The younger generation, however, is not far behind when it comes to low back pain.
Bad posture, which can lead to back pain, is surprisingly very common in the young. The reason? They engage in many sedentary activities such as watching TV and playing video games.
What if Left Untreated?
Pain is a symptom, and should not be ignored. Low back pain could signal for tendon, ligament, or disc injuries which progressively worsen if left untreated. Untreated low back pain in due time can lead to disability or surgery if the pain is major and unresolved.
Pain signals, over time, can lead to the sensitization of pain receptor neurons (nociceptors), altered modulation of pain at the spinal cord, and adaptive pain patterns in the neuromatrix. What does all this mean? It means that the prolonged sensation of pain can then lead to an adaptation to that pain, the body repeats these pain patterns, and chronic pain becomes an issue (2).
How to Treat it?
Treatment to low back pain will depend on the root cause of the pain. Noticeable abnormalities or injuries to the spinal vertebrae and/or discs (the cushion between two vertebrae) may be easier to treat simply because the root of pain can be easily diagnosed.
This isn’t always the case, however, as is for the majority of soft-tissue injuries (like tendons and ligaments). Radiographic imaging alone cannot typically diagnose these types of injuries. Additionally, they require extensive knowledge of pain referral patterns and neuromuscular medicine.
Lifestyle changes such as exercise and frequent ergonomic breaks can help alleviate pain associated with bad posture, gradual wear-and-tear, and the lack of movement. Chiropractic adjustments, or spinal manipulations, may also help alleviate pain rooted in mechanical restrictions and compensatory mechanism of the spinal and surrounding structures. By freeing the body of mechanical restrictions associated with low back pain, one will increase the range of motion and prevent disability to an extent.
The Importance of Core Strength:
The spine supports upper body structures and it does so with help of many muscle groups. Core muscles, in specific, play a major role in supporting the spine and the upper body. This helps explain how sedentary can pave the way for low back injuries and subsequent pain sensation.
Maintaining a strong, healthy core is a preventative measure to many forms of low back pain along with good posture, and ergonomic settings (at work and at home). Exercises such as planks and yoga can very effective at increasing core strength.
Our experts at CORE are trained to notice and correct bad posture which is a common cause of low back pain. Visit us to get out of pain and begin living your best life!
“Musculoskeletal Conditions.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 15 Feb. 2018, www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/musculoskeletal/en/.
Gleason, Jill. “The Evidence for Physical Therapy to Address Chronic Pain.” Uctv.tv, University of California Television, 2 Feb. 2012, www.uctv.tv/shows/The-Evidence-for-Physical-Therapy-to-Address-Chronic-Pain-23152.