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Middlesex Moments

Low Back Pain: Fix the Problem First

and You Won"t Need to Worry about the Pain 



          It's gotten a bit confusing how we sometimes look at our health. When pain strikes the low back we usually think we just got a new problem or injury. But why then was coughing, shaving, or putting on your sox, so different this time? These are things we do everyday. Rarely is a new episode of low back pain brought on by a well-defined injury or trauma. Trauma in most cases is usually quite trivial. We confuse pain as a signal for something that is physically changing each time.


          So what is the problem? The problem is a joint sprain or subluxation. This is a ligament problem and occurs with small micro traumas over many years, or sometimes with acute events such as car accidents or falls. Over time the ligaments stretch, causing the joints and vertebrae to displace, irritating the delicate nerve fibers. But over a few days or weeks, the pain that accompanies this injury gradually lessens, and in many cases goes away all on its own. But has the problem also gone away? Likely not, because when ligaments are traumatized, the repair mechanism involves scar tissue, which is less elastic than the original, and makes the joint vulnerable to re-injury.  Scar tissue also impairs the free and symmetrical motion of the spine. Chiropractors examine for this type of joint sprain using palpation for spinal motion, tenderness and edema, to determine the directions the vertebrae have moved towards. These specific analyses can tell us how the vertebrae need to be repositioned to promote good alignment and improved spinal motion.


         The adjustment is designed to reduce this misalignment, and induce more symmetric motion. When movements are asymmetrical in the spine, they can lead to premature degeneration of the spine and arthritis. This may be why a simple task such as lifting a laundry basket can flare up the back so easily. You may be lifting with good form and posture but with an asymmetrical spine, the loading is very off balance. Sometimes the disks are so damaged that a simple sneeze is enough to cause excruciating pain. So when these trivial events seem to trip you up, it means there is an underlying problem that is not getting corrected.

       This chiropractic health information is provided courtesy of Dr. Cimperman and Dr. Gallagher.  We can be reached at 724-586-9777.


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