Low back pain will affect 80% of all people at some point throughout their lives.
As anyone who has suffered from low back pain can attest to, it can be debilitating when it acts up. The best way to determine if you are going to have low back pain, is if you have had it before.
Low back pain can be prevented, and once it flairs up there are many things that you can do to reduce the symptoms.
Low back pain can come from the pelvis. Most low back pain comes from hip or pelvic muscles. These muscles get overworked on a daily basis. Every time you stand up, sit down, take a step, go to the bathroom, you are using the muscles that are located where your back pockets are.
When these muscles get tight and irritated from being overused, like when someone sits all day at a desk and then runs for exercise, they eventually get injured. The muscles get so tight that they tear on a microscopic level and become sprained. The muscles then fall into a pattern of spasm and inflammation. These hip muscles, when spasmed and inflamed, will pull on your pelvis and will torque any other muscle group that is attached to the pelvis. These muscles include the low back muscles, leg muscles, groin muscles, stomach muscles.
Once these hip muscles are spasmed and inflamed, they can cause bad low back pain, leg pain, groin pain, knee pain or even stomach pain. Many times when these muscles are spasmed and inflamed, the pain can be so bad people think that something else is going on.
That is why most low back and pelvic pain is better treated by stretching, using ice and taking ibuprofen. You don’t have to take ibuprofen, but it will help decrease the inflammation a little and help to take the edge off of the pain. It should not be taken on an empty stomach.
Ice will also decrease the inflammation. Most people’s tendency is to use heat. Heat can be very soothing. But heat will draw fluids to the area of injury and increase the inflammation. Ice, while not as soothing, will decrease the inflammation and help the area of injury heal quicker.
The area of injury might not be the area where you feel the pain. Many times you will feel pain in your low back, but it will be coming from those muscles where your back pockets are. Go to see a chiropractor who specializes in soft tissue therapy or who focuses on the muscles, or a masseuse, or someone else who works with muscles, and they will be able to tell you where the area of injury is. They will be able to tell you where the pain is coming from, and get it worked out.
If you see a traditional medical doctor and they don’t know what is causing the low back pain, or you are diagnosed with a disc herniation, chances are the muscles are causing the low back pain. Most recent research shows that herniated discs are incidental findings when dealing with low back pain. This means that if you have a herniated disc, and you have low back pain, chances are the two are not related; the herniated disc is probably not causing the low back pain.
If a medical doctor thinks that the muscles are causing the low back or pelvic pain, or a herniated disc is diagnosed, or there is no known cause for the low back pain, more than likely you will be sent to physical therapy. But if the cause of the pain is muscular, or the muscles are involved with the issue, which they usually are, then you have to get the muscles calmed down first to make physical therapy effective. Physical therapy is very effective, but it has to be done after you see someone who specializes in muscles to loosen them up and get them out of those patterns of spasm and inflammation.
If you try to strengthen up a tight and irritated muscle, it will only further irritate the muscle and further reinforce the pattern of spasm and inflammation. Thus making it harder to get the muscles to release which reduces pain.
The reason why I know this is because I am a chiropractor who specializes in treating muscles. I specialize in trigger point therapy. I know more about the musculo-skeletal system than most medical doctors do. On a daily basis I treat people who have seen many doctors and still don’t know what’s causing their pain. I see people who are in constant pain and can’t be helped by the traditional medical model. I get these people feeling better and reduce their pain.
An essential part of getting rid of pain is exercising and eating right. If you don’t use your muscles, they will atrophy and become weaker and weaker until they can’t do what you want them to do. You use your muscles all day every day. You have to do some maintenance on them. You have to keep your muscles lose and strong to endure the stresses of daily life. This is why most issues that involve muscles will be managed, not cured.
Once these muscles get torn and fall into the patterns of spasm and inflammation, the muscles can fall out of those patterns after a time. But those neurological pathways are still there, so it becomes easier for the muscles to fall back into those old patterns of spasm and inflammation.
The stronger and looser you keep the muscles, the less likely they will be to fall back into those neurological pathways of spasm and inflammation. The stronger and looser a muscle is, the better able it will be to deal with the stresses of daily life. Everyone suffers from a daily accumulation of tightness. It is this the repetitive motions that we all do day in and day out that slowly causes the muscles to tighten up over time. Making them susceptible to injury and pain.
Another cause of low back, pelvic or hip pain can be scar tissue. Many women who have had a c-section during childbirth will have lots of scar tissue around there scar where the abdominal muscles meet the pelvis. This scar tissue can prevent you from using your abdominal muscles the way they were meant to be used, and can cause an imbalance and subsequent pain and irritation in the muscles that have to compensate for the imbalance. Adding to the problem is that when the abdominal muscles are cut during the surgery, they become inactive. You have to re-activate them after the surgery, otherwise these muscles that are essential to any core movement will be weak and useless. They won’t support your hips and low back and can be the cause of constant low back pain. I have treated many women with low back pain that was caused by this issue who have not been able to get any relief from physical therapy or from traditional medical treatments.
There can be many other causes of pelvic and low back pain. But in my experience the muscles are more commonly the cause of low back, pelvic and hip pain versus some of these other causes. If you have low back, pelvic or hip pain, it is always a good idea to get checked out by your doctor to make sure that the cause of your pain is not something more insidious. If you can’t find the cause of the pain, then there is a good chance that the muscles are causing it. If the muscles are causing it, get them treated and stretch and ice as much as you can. Then slowly ease your way back into exercise.
If you use exercise right, if you exercise smarter rather than harder, then it will help you heal quicker and will prevent you from getting injured again. That is the Pain Free Way.