Most people walk around every day unaware that they have numerous misalignments in their spine, pelvis and other joints. At some point the internal stress of compensating for this internal balancing act reaches a tipping point and the pain appears to drop out of nowhere.
About 85% of people will have a serious episode of back pain
Back pain is the most common cause of disability and the second most common reason given for missing work. At least 85% of adults below the age of 50 will experience back pain and it’s the most common reason for visiting a chiropractor.
For low back pain, chiropractic is unmatched in its ability
to quickly reduce pain and restore function.
The most common cause of back pain is mechanical imbalance in the spine and related structures. Of course, there are many other things that can cause back pain including internal organs problems like kidney stones to ulcers and these should always be considered when back pain occurs. Lower back pain is a symptom and not a diagnosis so it’s important to determine the cause.
Medical and personal history
My evaluation of back pain includes:
- Alignment evaluation. I use both visual and computer aided analysis in my office.
- Muscle testing of the major lower back and pelvic supporting and stabilizing muscles. Misalignment in the spine or pelvis can inhibit the function of these muscles and make the spine vulnerable to strain and injury.
- Clinical orthopedic testing, although these common medical tests are often of little value in evaluating common back pain.
- Range of motion evaluation reveals underlying restrictions that lead to pain and dysfunction.
- Pelvic Categorization classifies the specific grade of underlying pelvic distortion.
- Static and motion palpation to evaluate segmental alignment and mobility of the spine.
- X-Rays and/or MRI if needed. Imaging studies can help rule out fracture or pathology, but they are often not very helpful when it comes to mechanical back pain. However, if the patient history or other examination factors warrant then we’ll order them.
When should a more serious diagnosis be considered? If the pain is increasing steadily over time without any remitting periods then the possibility of a more serious underlying problem is higher. If there are other associated symptoms such as fever or night sweats, redness and/or swelling over the area, night pain, pain that isn’t at least partially relieved in any position such as lying down or standing up then there may be more a more serious underlying problem. Pain that lasts more than a few days should always be evaluated by the doctor.