We all know the feeling. You wake up in the morning and as you start to get out of bed, you notice a twinge in your back. Or you sit down at your desk to work and after an hour, you can feel a dull ache starting to set in. By the end of the day, your low back pain is so bad that it’s making it hard to concentrate or even enjoy your evening. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry – you’re not alone. In fact, according to research from the American Chiropractic Association, approximately 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time! But what can you do about it? Below, we’ll talk about some of the most common causes of low back pain.
Static and Dynamic Structures of the Spine
Our spine is made up of these structures that fall under two categories. Static structures which include ligaments and intervertebral discs. Dynamic structures which include muscles and tendons. We will be circling back to this later.
Prehistorically, we were all quadrupeds, meaning we used to walk around on four limbs. At some point, we all transitioned to standing upright. The design of our body structure was not ideal for standing upright. If all four of our limbs were used for walking, you can imagine how you have all the weight in our upper body fall on one little area of the lower spine after the transition.
The amazing aspect of our body is it has strength and flexibility all at the same time. It can help us hold things really stiffly and can also very fluidly move our arms at once. This means, there has to be this beautiful concert between the muscles and tendons in order to create movements. This applies to the ligaments and joints as well when they create pivot points throughout the body so that movement can happen without it falling apart.
Humans have seven spinal bones in the neck, twelve behind the rib cage area that supports the chest, five in the lower back area. All of these sit upon the sacrum or the bone in your back that goes from your hip to your spine. If we count all the joints that connect these bones, we would be talking about more than fifty different joints.
Our ligaments act like a superglue. These bands of tissue can hold our joints together. Then we have tendons that connect muscles to the bones. The muscles and tendons are what creates movement. The only way for them to be able to create movement is if they have strong pivot points.
If you imagine the spine, there are ligaments in it that help hold your body in a standing position. That means that when you are just standing still, you rely on those ligaments to hold you up. When you bend and lift, all these muscles pull on attachments that attach to the ligaments. These attachments are in places where the ligaments can take the stress from the muscles and redistribute it.
The coordination between the ligaments and muscles is quite impressive. It only takes one to be out of control for everything to go wrong. That’s what I mean by you’ve got static structures, which are your ligaments and dynamic structures, which are these muscles and tendons that help keep the mobility of your spine intact.
How do people develop low back pain?
When you think of the face, what comes to mind? For many people, it is a beautiful and flawless canvas that can be painted any color imaginable. But as appealing as our faces may seem at first glance, there’s an underlying structure hidden beneath this layer: ligaments! These flexibly woven tissues help us express ourselves non verbally. However, they also develop wrinkles over time if left unchecked which will cause them to become less sturdy over long periods until eventually giving way altogether under pressure causing pain and discomfort
One of the first things that happen in low back pain is when muscles above your sacral area get tighter. They constrict to prevent you from wiggling and wobbling, which stresses out those discs up there on top (the ones who provide compression). But they’re not very good at shear forces like if one were moving forward and backward against another; these would be more harmful than helpful for us!
You can imagine if any one of these ligaments becomes loose in weakly, the first level of compensation is for these muscles to contract. They will then create a rigid stable spine and that can help for a while. The problem now is that the configuration of the spine has changed. Normally, it should be an S-shaped springy structure. There is a reason why the spine takes this structural form. That is so that it bounces every time we take a step. Now, if the muscles there are rigid and they are not able to move in a loose dynamic way, the configuration of the spine being similar to a spring becomes something more similar to a lever.
This “lever’ hinges at its base. Most people will have low back pain because it’s hinging that segment right there at the lower back. These segments are medically known as L4 – L5 and S segments…
Disc degeneration will have arthritic changes. All of that is because the spine is trying to compensate for any one of those 25 segments that could become loose. The spine has to compensate with using the back muscles to make the whole thing stable. It all hinges at that spot. Once that domino effect starts, people start developing arthritic changes.
Arthritis leads to a disc compression and disc degeneration which causes the arthritis to become thicker and start causing stenosis, which is collapsing that space inside of here within the spinal canal. That’s when people start to get stenosis, you can talk about surgery and fusion and all that stuff, but if we can intervene or if we can catch the spine Before it evolves to all of that.
There are steps we can take to get ahead of low back pain.
If you catch your back in time, it is possible to prevent 90% of low-back pain. The key thing here though isn’t just treating the symptoms but rather preventing them from happening at all by taking care and paying attention so we can stop this before surgery becomes inevitable!
Well, how do we test that out over it while being sure of the diagnosis?
We need to make sure everything is ligament versus something crazy and dangerous like psychiatric illness.
The “Heal Methodology”
1. Hear the message your body is trying to convey with pain
We can go through a process, we call the “Heal Methodology”. It revolves around the idea of hearing the message that your body is trying to convey with pain. This is critical in the pain mapping process we follow where we actually identify the specific different components of your spine. We do this in order to determine if they’re functioning properly or if they’re overcompensating for some other problem downstream or upstream from that initial pain location. Once we build that “pain map”, then we can build a long-term plan that really starts to address the root of the problem instead of just the symptoms of many different problems.
2. Envisioning what your life is meant to be like
Now we’ve got a good idea of how pain can be mapping, we will then proceed to the second component. It is envisioning what your life is meant to be. This will include:
- Setting your goals for healing
- Determining the things that you’re not able to do because of pain
- Alleviating the symptoms
All the while that we’re starting to work on fixing the underlying problem, we want to make it a more functional, manageable condition.
Your body is an amazing healing machine. We need to harness the power of your natural tendency towards self-healing in order to fix any damage and get back on track with our lives! That is the most important step in the Heal Methodology.
Oftentimes, the kind of breaking point that people are unable to get over these chronic issues is because chronic pain is long-standing. If we can understand where the injury is not able to heal, that’s something we can repair with exercise. We can heal it with different types of injection therapies or some of our regenerative strategies that use growth factors and stimulants to actually promote healing in the structures that are failing to heal themselves.
We hope this article has helped to shine some light on the causes and potential treatments for low back pain. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, please know that you are not alone. Millions of people around the world experience similar problems on a daily basis. And fortunately, there are steps we can take to address our pain messages. The Heal Methodology is one approach that may be able to help get your life back on track. If you’re interested in learning more about how the Heal Methodology could work for you, please schedule a free discovery call with us today. We would be happy to discuss your individual situation and see if our program might be a good fit for you. Thanks for reading!
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DISCLAIMER: The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional