Low Back Pain Treatment: A Spokane Valley WA Chiropractor’s Perspective
As a chiropractor in Spokane Valley WA we routinely have people come into our office experiencing lower back pain. Lower back pain has become a major problem affecting our population and is now the #1 cause of disability and the #2 most common reason people visit a doctor. Approximately 80% of our population will experience lower back pain at some point during their life, so it is very likely that if you don’t already have lower back pain that it may develop at some point. Even though lower back pain has become very common, it is not normal and ultimately a sign your body is not functioning properly.
Often people in Spokane Valley WA who are experiencing lower back pain will turn to over-the-counter or prescription pain medications to treat the pain. This approach may temporarily alleviate the pain, but long-term medications do not address the cause of the pain they only mask the symptoms and can cause other severe health problems even addiction. 59% of heroin users started out on a prescription painkiller for neck or lower back pain!
At River City Chiropractic Spokane Valley WA, our goal is to address the root cause of the lower back pain not simply treat the symptom. Sometimes lower back pain can be related to a specific trauma such as a sports injury, car accident, or fall, but most often we find with our patients in Spokane Valley WA that it is the smaller, repetitive activities done poorly over time that cause the most damage. Some common activities that can lead to lower back pain are prolonged sitting, bending or sleeping improperly, sedentary lifestyle, being overweight, or repetitive lifting. It is very important to identify what you may be doing that is resulting in the lower back pain and or seek help quickly because spinal problems generally get worse with time and can become more challenging to resolve.
How We Treat Lower Back Pain In Spokane Valley WA
Comprehensive Consultation, Exam, and X-Rays
Treating lower back pain again begins with identifying the root cause which is why every new patient encounter at our Spokane Valley WA chiropractic office involves a comprehensive history to find out what has happened in the past and present that may be causing the lower back pain.
The next step would be a thorough exam consisting of postural and range of motion analysis, orthopedic and neurological testing, bilateral weight testing, spinal motion palpation, and if necessary spinal x-rays to determine the exact location, the extent of the damage, and formulate a custom care plan to help correct the lower back pain.
Corrective Chiropractic Care In Spokane Valley WA
Our office in Spokane Valley WA specializes in spinal corrective care. Only a small percentage of chiropractors have this approach and training. Commonly lower back pain can be caused by spinal or pelvic subluxations – where a vertebra or bone is out of the proper alignment and or is not moving correctly, loss of the normal spinal curvature. When people lose the natural curvatures in the spine or have subluxations that damages the spinal nerves which can lead to lower back or hip pain, sciatica, numbness or tingling down the leg or foot, or knee pain.
Our goal is to not only help people in Spokane Valley WA get relief from the pain, but also to correct their spine and posture so the issues don’t continue to come back through spinal adjustments and a comprehensive spinal exercise program performed in office as well as at home.
Custom Therapeutic Exercise Program
At River City Chiropractic Spokane Valley we custom make a home exercise program and provide spinal homecare equipment that helps our patients get better and long lasting results. Following a thorough exam/xray and report of findings our doctor at River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley WA will create a home exercise plan that is specific to your posture and x-ray findings. With this program comes some special spinal rehab equipment to help our patients in Spokane Valley WA get better results, faster. We also have access to a database of 1000’s of stretches/exercises with videos that can be prescribed to our patients to help them with core stability or address any other muscle weakness or tightness concerns.
Spinal Decompression Spokane Valley WA
Some of the more common causes of lower back pain are degenerating or bulged spinal discs. The spinal discs are the gel like cushion between the vertebrae that enable the spine to bend and twist. However, due to loss of normal spinal curvature or improper movement of the spine the spinal discs can protrude or begin to breakdown which causes compression on the spinal cord and or nerves in the lower back often resulting in pain, sciatica, numbness/tingling, or muscle weakness in the legs or feet.
Back surgery to treat disc problems can be very expensive and risky in the sense of potential complications as well as outcomes. A much safer and effective alternative is spinal decompression, which works by gently stretching the spine relieving the pressure off the spinal discs and nerves. At River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley WA we use the Back On Trac spinal decompression chair which not only decompresses the spine, but also combines lateral flexion which assists in hydrating the discs, restoring normal spinal motion as well as heat and vibration to relax any tense muscles for optimal results. The Back On Trac decompression chair has been a great addition to our Spokane Valley WA clinic helping our patients relieve lower back pain naturally without the need for drugs or surgery.
Common Causes of Low Back Pain in Spokane Valley WA
Bulged Lumbar Discs
The spinal discs are the gel-like cushion between the vertebrae that act like a cushion for the spine and also allow it to bend and twist. In a way the spinal discs are kind of like a jelly doughnut because it contains firmer fibrous material around the outside and a gel like substance in the middle.
Over time, the discs can wear down or dehydrate due to improper spinal motion or alignment. When this happens the outer fibrous material begins to tear, especially if you have an injury such as lifting incorrectly or an auto accident. If the outer fibrous layer tears enough the inner gel-like material can get pushed out creating a bulge. If that bulge puts pressure on a spinal nerve or the spinal cord you may experience low back pain or pain/numbness/weakness into your legs.
Herniated Lumbar Discs
With a herniated lumbar disc, the outside fibers can begin to tear, and the inner gel-like material starts to move towards the outside of the disc. If the fibers tear enough, the inner gel-like material can actually break through the exterior of the disc and compress the spinal nerves or spinal cord. Herniated discs tend to create even more leg pain, then low back pain, and the pain is generally more intense.
Our body is designed to heal itself and in the event a spinal disc is herniated the body will start a natural process called phagocytosis to attempt to break down and reabsorb the disc. If the herniation is bad enough that the body can’t heal from it people may look into spinal surgery. Our goal is to treat herniated discs the most natural and least invasive way first and only use surgery as a last resort.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is a progressive problem where the spinal discs begin to dehydrate and breakdown overtime resulting a smaller opening for the nerves to pass through leading to pain and other health problems. Often people think this is age related, but it is primarily caused by poor posture, being overweight, and a spine that is out of alignment and not moving correctly. The discs of the spine are similar to the wheels on your car. If your alignment is off with your car and you continue to drive it around the wheels wear down faster, if the alignment with your spine is off then your spinal discs wear down faster too.
Muscle strains are one of the most prevalent causes of lower back pain. With a muscle strain the pain tends to feel like a dull ache that gets worse with certain movements or positions. Normally the pain is localized in a specific area and does not radiate into the legs or feet. Muscle strains can be caused by a specific incident/trauma, over time repetitive motion, poor posture, or due to compensation because of muscle imbalances.
Muscle strains tend to resolve in around 4-6 weeks, but it is best to address them as early as possible because that can speed the healing process up and often the muscle strain is just a symptom of a bigger underlying problem with the spine. Here at River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley WA, we don’t chase symptoms, we focus on finding and correcting the cause of the problem.
Facet Joint Dysfunction
The facet joints are the joints on the back of the spine where the vertebrae connect to each other. These joints contain cartilage that can start to break down and get inflamed. People who have a facet joint dysfunction will typically feel pain when they extend their back or standing for extended periods of time because that loads those joints.
A subluxation is a misalignment of the vertebrae of the spine that prevents normal spinal motion and can irritate or damage the spinal nerves often causing symptoms such as lower back pain. At River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley WA, we locate subluxations of the spine that are causing lower back pain and through chiropractic adjustments and spinal exercises help people correct their subluxations over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I be worried about low back pain?
You should be worried about low back pain as soon as you start to feel the pain in your low back. A symptom is the body’s warning signal that something is not right. Usually by the time pain shows up the problem has been building in the spine for a while, so it is best to address it as soon as possible.
What can I do to relieve my lower back pain in Spokane Valley WA?
There are many things you can do to relieve the pain such as stretching, ice/heat, massage, but what works best is to find out what is causing the pain by reaching out to our office to determine what you need to do so you don’t make the problem worse.
How do I know if my back pain is serious?
All back pain is serious. If you are having pain, it is a sign your body is already in a dysfunctional state. If you are having severe tingling, numbness, weakness, or loss of function in bladder or bowels then that would be an emergency and you need to see a health professional right away.
What causes low back pain?
There are many causes of lower back pain. Sometimes the pain can be from an acute injury like a fall or accident. Other times it can develop over time from poor ergonomics and posture, sleep positioning, or work, which is why at River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley WA we make sure to gather a very detailed history so we can focus in finding and correcting the cause of the low back pain.
How should I sleep with lower back pain?
We spend about one-third of our life sleeping, so having poor sleep posture can often lead to back or neck problems. The best way to sleep is on your back with the spine in a neutral position using supports or pillows to maintain the natural spinal curves and a pillow behind the knees to take pressure of hamstrings and lower back.
Side sleeping would be the next best sleep position. It is very important to make sure to place a pillow between your knees with your knees lined up together and slightly bent. In addition, use a pillow the is the proper height to keep your head and neck in a neutral position.
Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended and often leads to neck or lower back pain over time.
How do I tell if the lower back pain is a muscle or disc problem?
Normally with muscle strains of the lower back the pain will feel like a dull ache that is fairly diffuse on both sides and does not radiate down the legs or up the spine.
With a low back disc problem, the pain typically radiates into the buttock, hip, or even leg/foot area. You may feel pain, or it could also present with numbness, tingling, burning, or possibly some muscle weakness. The best thing to do is to get examined by a doctor that specializes in spinal conditions.
How does a slipped disc feel?
Discs actually don’t slip, it is just another way to describe a disc bulge. Normally with a disc bulge you will experience radiating pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness. The pain or symptoms can often increase when you increase abdominal pressure such as sneezing, using the bathroom, or lifting.
Why won’t my lower back pain go away?
The body is self-healing and regulating. If you are dealing with chronic lower back pain it could be due to a problem that has been building in your body for years and just didn’t meet the threshold of pain, it could be due to a new injury and perhaps something more serious, which is why it is important to see a health professional who specializes in spinal conditions.
Can a chiropractor in Spokane Valley WA help with lower back pain?
Lower back pain is one of the most common conditions we help people with at River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley WA. A chiropractor should be the first place people go who are experiencing lower back pain in Spokane Valley WA because chiropractic offers a safe, natural, and effective way to relieve lower back pain without any drugs or surgery.
What is better for lower back pain, seeing a chiropractor or massage therapist?
It just depends on what is causing the lower back pain. It is generally best to see a chiropractor first because they would be able to diagnose the problem and determine if it is joint or spine related, or just muscle related. Often these go together, which is why many chiropractors also have massage therapists in their office.
How can you tell if your spine is out of alignment?
This is best done by seeing a chiropractor. At River City Chiropractic in Spokane Valley WA, we perform a postural analysis, bilateral weight scale testing, range of motion, and spinal palpation along with x-rays if necessary to determine the exact location and extent of your spinal misalignments.
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