Have you ever bent down to pick something up as light as a pen and your back goes into intense spasm, making it impossible to stand up straight again? Was the pencil really heavy enough to induce all that pain in your back? No, of course not. It was just the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak.
The discs between your spinal vertebrae do not have a lot of nerves supplying them, so until you get a full disc herniation, you may not have any pain even with a significant amount of tissue damage. Over time you get micro tears in the disc fibers from improper lifting techniques or other stresses on your back. If the tears reach the middle of the disc, the nucleus pulposus, a fluid-like center protrudes to the surrounding fibers and nerves. It is kind of like acid on a wire. All of a sudden, you feel excruciating pain and your muscles spasm to try and limit the damage that has already occurred.
How do the micro tears happen and how can I prevent them?
Micro tears in your discs happen because of decreased flexibility and stiff muscles and ligaments. They also occur from increased load on your spine with improper lifting techniques. Here are a few things that you can do to prevent damage to your vertebral discs:
- When lifting, flex at your hips rather than your back and keep the natural curve in your low back while lifting with your legs.
- Avoid lifting and twisting.
- Carry heavy objects as close to your body as possible.
- Slowly move around in the morning when you first wake up to increase the flexibility of your ligaments.
- Strengthen your low back muscles. Ask your chiropractor about exercises they recommend.
- Practice good posture and ergonomics at work and at home.
Avoiding a herniated disc is the best solution, however if it has already happened to you, chiropractic care has been shown to get great results in reducing pain, muscle spasm, and inflammation related to disc herniations. Do not let an injury debilitate you. Regain your quality of life and go see your chiropractor today!
Why Does My Low Back Pain Continue to Flare Up?
In our Denver Back Pain Health Center we see a lot of patients with chronic low back pain which develops over time, and therefore may take a significant time to resolve entirely. In recent research, chronic low back pain has been redefined as a problem with intermittent exacerbations, rather than an acute disease that can be cured. One of the reasons for this is that when you start to develop pain, there are already structural and functional changes that have taken place in your spine, both mechanically and neurologically. Your pain symptoms are usually the last things to show up as a way of your body telling you it is time to make a change. The structural changes in your spine can include bony remodeling, degeneration of your joints, and decreased space in your spinal canal, where your spinal cord sits. These changes are all in response to physical stress, like a misalignment of your vertebrae and happen over time. Functional changes can include adaptations to new postures, muscle firing imbalances, or muscle spasms. Structural and functional changes in your spine can have a large impact on your overall health and even your mental stress level. However, there is a way to prevent these changes from happening or improving function if they already have. Healing back paintakes time Chiropractic care takes added physical stress off of the spinal vertebrae by increasing motion, decreasing scar tissue, and re-establishing proper muscle firing through a functioning nervous system. However, this process can take time. If you have had a spinal misalignment for 20 years from a trauma that happened in your childhood, it is probably going to take more than one chiropractic visit to turn your condition around. However, the good news is that pain is typically the last thing to show up, but also the first thing to go away. A lot of patients think their low back pain has been cured when the pain is gone, but the body still has a lot of reorganizing and healing to do in order to get back to a stable place. Here are some things that you can do to recover as quickly as possible:
- As soon as you can comfortably, start walking to increase your movement, endorphins, and circulation.
- Clean up your diet – Cut down on sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Increase your fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Ask your chiropractor about any core strengthening exercises they might recommend to prevent re-injury.
- Do not be scared! Do not limit your recovery by restricting yourself of what you are capable of doing.
When you start to get out of pain, take every “good” day and continue to improve by following these simple ideas. Overall, be patient and know that your recovery and management of your low back pain is possible. Work with your chiropractor and start feeling better today!
Dr. Mathew Ullom a chiropractor in Fort Collins offers a free of charge consultation to anyone looking into chiropractic and how it might help them. “This way you can make an informed decision, if chiropractic is right for you.” Dr. Mathew Ullom, BSc, DC is located at 220 W Prospect Rd Ste D, Fort Collins, CO. 80526. He can be reached by telephone at 970-491-9191.