Low Back Pain Overland Park

Low back pain is the third most common reason people visit their doctor. It's the number one leading cause of disability in the world. Most people think that their low back pain will be solved by typically one of these things:

  • Pain Medications
  • Rest
  • Heat and Ice
  • Surgery

Yet, we still have a tremendous amount of recurring low back pain. Studies show that over 50% of Americans will experience low back pain multiple times this year alone. If these are a solution, then why are they not getting the outcome desired? Let's take a look at why each one of these is NOT a solution.

1. Pain Medications

  • Symptom Masking: Pain medications primarily mask symptoms without addressing the underlying causes of low back pain, such as muscle imbalances, poor posture, or structural issues.

  • Short-Term Relief: They provide only temporary relief and often do not lead to long-term improvement in pain or function.

  • Side Effects: Prolonged use of pain medications can lead to significant side effects, including gastrointestinal issues, liver damage, and increased risk of cardiovascular problems.

  • Dependency and Addiction: Some pain medications, especially opioids, carry a high risk of dependency and addiction.

  • Tolerance: Over time, the body can develop a tolerance to pain medications, making them less effective and necessitating higher doses for the same level of relief.

2. Rest

  • Muscle Weakness: Prolonged rest can lead to muscle weakening and deconditioning, which can exacerbate back pain and reduce overall physical fitness.

  • Stiffness and Reduced Mobility: Lack of movement can cause stiffness and reduced flexibility in the back, making it harder to move and potentially worsening pain.

  • Delayed Recovery: Active recovery strategies, such as physical therapy and gentle exercise, are often more effective in promoting healing and reducing pain compared to prolonged rest.

  • Underlying Issues Unaddressed: Rest does not address the root causes of low back pain, such as poor posture, muscle imbalances, or structural problems.

  • Mental Health Impact: Extended inactivity can negatively affect mental health, potentially leading to depression and anxiety, which can further complicate pain management.

3. Heat or Ice

  • Temporary Relief: Heat and ice provide only short-term relief by temporarily reducing inflammation and soothing sore muscles, without addressing the underlying causes of back pain.

  • Symptom Management: These therapies focus on managing symptoms rather than treating the root causes such as muscle imbalances, poor posture, or structural issues.

  • Lack of Long-Term Benefits: There is limited evidence that heat or ice therapy has significant long-term benefits for back pain relief. 

Okay, but didn't we skip surgery? 

Yes, but that's because I wanted to add a caveat here. Sometimes surgery IS the answer, but America in particular is way too quick to hop on this train. Surgery should only be considered after you have exhausted more conservative treatment options (chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, etc.). Here are the reasons why:

  • Limited Effectiveness: For many types of back pain, especially non-specific low back pain, surgery often does not provide better long-term outcomes compared to non-surgical treatments.

  • Extended Recovery Time: Surgery typically involves a long recovery period, during which patients may experience significant pain and limited mobility.

  • Potential for Recurrence: Even after surgery, there is a fairly high chance that back pain can recur, requiring additional interventions or surgeries.

  • High Cost: Back surgery is expensive, and there may be significant financial costs associated with the procedure, rehabilitation, and potential complications.

  • Permanent Changes: Surgical interventions involve permanent changes to the spine's structure, which can lead to long-term consequences and may not always result in the desired pain relief.

Okay, so we've outlined 4 options that are not solution. So, what IS the solution?

Next we will discuss the 3 primary factors that we identify with our low back pain patients in our clinic beyond your typical adjustment. We would argue that these are must haves in solving your back pain, as adjustments alone are likely to provide just temporary relief.

P.S. - We DO adjust and we love to adjust. We just want to get you a long-term solution to your pain. Not a short-term fix.

Below are the 3 primary factors that must be addressed to solve your low back pain FOR GOOD.

1. Improve Intra-Abdominal Pressure (IAP)

IAP Regulation by diaphragm, pelvic fl oor and transversus abdominis. |  Download Scientific Diagram

Do what? Improve what?

See the picture above. This is called your lumbopelvic canister. Think of the lumbopelvic canister, the space between your diaphragm and pelvis, like a soda can. When the can is sealed and pressurized, it's strong and stable, able to support weight without crumpling. However, if the pressure inside the can is uneven or if the can is weakened, it becomes easy to crush. Similarly, by maintaining proper intra-abdominal pressure within the canister, your core muscles create a strong, stable support system for your spine, helping to prevent and alleviate low back pain.

Improving Intra-Abdominal Pressure (IAP) is crucial for alleviating low back pain as it provides enhanced stability and support to the spine. By engaging the core muscles, including the diaphragm and pelvic floor, this pressure helps to distribute loads more evenly across the spine and reduces undue stress on the lumbar spine. This stabilization mechanism can prevent excessive movement and microtrauma that often contribute to chronic low back pain. Additionally, optimizing this pressure can improve posture, enhance movement efficiency, and reduce the risk of injury, ultimately leading to a healthier and pain-free back.

Here is a great exercise you can do to improve intra-abdominal pressure:

2. Improve Pelvic Positioning

Improving pelvic positioning is vital for relieving low back pain because it directly influences the alignment and function of the spine. When the pelvis is properly aligned, it ensures that the spine maintains its natural curves, reducing stress and uneven pressure on the lumbar vertebrae. Correct pelvic positioning helps engage and balance the core muscles, providing better support and stability to the lower back. This alignment reduces the likelihood of muscle strain, joint dysfunction, and postural imbalances that contribute to chronic pain. Additionally, optimizing pelvic positioning enhances overall movement efficiency and can prevent future back pain, promoting long-term spinal health.

Here are a few great exercises you can do to improve your pelvic positioning:

3. Learn to Properly Hip Hinge

Improving your hip hinge is crucial for relieving low back pain because it helps you move more efficiently and reduces strain on your spine. A proper hip hinge technique involves bending at the hips while keeping your spine neutral, which distributes the workload to the stronger muscles of the hips and legs rather than relying solely on the lower back. This reduces the risk of overloading the lumbar spine and decreases the likelihood of muscle imbalances and injury. By mastering the hip hinge, you not only alleviate current back pain but also enhance your ability to perform daily activities with less discomfort, promoting better spinal health in the long run.

Here's a few easy ways to practice improving your hip hinge:

Conclusion

It's worth mentioning that this is not an exhaustive list of things to do to solve your low back pain. Things like adjustments, soft-tissue work, and hip mobility are all very important components of low back pain as well. 

The 3 things mentioned above though are the most common low-hanging fruit options to solve low back pain that we've seen. The great thing is that they're all things you can incorporate into your daily life today.

That being said, low back pain can certainly be a complicated problem and having professional guidance is certainly warranted at times. Here's how to know when it might be time to seek a professional:

  • You've had low back pain for 3+ weeks
  • You have pain radiating into your thigh/leg/foot
  • Your pain level is over 4/10
  • You're unable to move around comfortably
  • You've tried a chiro or PT previously and it didn't work

Yes, that last bullet may seem counterintuitive coming from a chiropractor. BUT, that's because not all providers are created the same. Make sure you find a provider who spends ample time with you, at least 20 minutes per visit. Getting a detailed understanding of your problem and having a real solution to fix it takes time and effort. A situation where you just lay down, get popped, and then leave, is not a long-term solution. Similarly, many PT clinics are guilty of treating 3 people at once or just slapping on 3 of the same exercises they give to everyone. Whoever your provider is, they should be giving you a unique solution to your unique low back pain, and they should identify the above 3 things that we mentioned. 

If you've been dealing with low back pain for some time and the above things mentioned are speaking directly to you, schedule a visit with us today through the linke below so that we can help you solve your problem.

bergnerchiro.janeapp.com 

Dr. Luke Bergner

Contact Me