Low Back Pain: A very fortunate few ever experience the joys of low back pain. A whopping 80% of Americans will experience low back at least once in their life with it typically going away in 4 weeks. 66% of Americans will go on to experience some level of chronic low back pain. Low back pain can start when you are a teenager but most often it is most prevalent by your mid 30s. Low back pain is the most common reason for loss of work and worker’s disability.

Some causes of low back pain:  The vast majority of low back pain is mechanical in nature. In many cases, low back pain is associated with spondylosis, a term that refers to the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:

Sprains and strains: account for most acute back pain. Sprains are caused by overstretching or tearing ligaments, and strains are tears in the tendon or muscle. These soft tissues help to maintain the integrity of the joint holding the vertebra in their healthy position. Sprains and strains can occur from twisting or lifting something improperly, lifting something too heavy, or overstretching. Such movements may also trigger spasms in back muscles, which can also be painful. The vertebra lose their normal positioning and are not corrected, it will lead to the accelerated break down of the joint resulting in degenerative disc disease and degenerative joint disease. No pill, shot in the back is going to correct this misalignment. 401-433-3600

Intervertebral disc degeneration: is one of the most common mechanical causes of low back pain, and it occurs when the usually rubbery discs lose integrity as an abnormal process of aging. Degeneration of the discs is not a normal process of aging just as tooth decay is not a normal part of aging. When the spine loses its normal healthy alignment, mechanically the spine will wear out just like a car’s tires will wear out quicker when the front end is out of alignment. In a healthy back, intervertebral discs provide height to allow the spinal nerves to exit the spine without irritation and allow bending, flexion, and torsion of the lower back. As the discs deteriorate, they lose their height and cushioning ability. It is important to note that the disc should last you a life time just like your teeth if they are taken care of. Age is not the cause of degenerative changes to the disc it is due to abnormal wear and tear from the spine being out of its proper alignment. To prevent early degeneration of your disc you should invest in regular chiropractic care.   Chiropractic is very effective in relieving symptoms associate with disc degeneration. 401-433-3600

 Herniated or ruptured discs: can occur when the intervertebral discs become compressed and bulge outward (herniation) or rupture, causing low back pain. Sometimes there are no symptoms associated with a herniated disc because the disc does not have a nerve supply. If the bulge is large enough it can press on the spinal nerve causing moderate to extreme pain. Herniated disc can be caused by repetitive bending, lifting carrying, twisting. It can also be caused by a bad slip or fall. Herniated or ruptured disc given the chance can heal or if they are bad enough do require surgical intervention to remove the herniated portion of the disc. The majority of the time chiropractic treatments have been very helpful treating herniated disc. If you suffer from this condition and would like help, call my office today 401-433-3600.

Radiculopathy: is a condition caused by compression, inflammation and/or injury to a spinal nerve root. Pressure on the nerve root results in pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation that travels or radiates to other areas of the body that are served by that nerve. Radiculopathy may occur when spinal stenosis or a herniated or ruptured disc compresses the nerve root. It is important to remove the compression on the nerve. Prolong compression can lead to damage to the nerve and organ dysfunction long term. Waiting is not a solution. Call 401-433-3600

Sciatica is a form of radiculopathy caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, the large nerve that travels through the buttocks and extends down the back of the leg. This compression causes shock-like or burning low back pain combined with pain through the buttocks and down one leg, occasionally reaching the foot. In the most extreme cases, when the nerve is pinched between the disc and the adjacent bone, the symptoms may involve not only pain, but numbness and muscle weakness in the leg because of interrupted nerve signaling. At times, there is no low back pain only hip or leg pain. Sciatica is not something that should be taken lightly. Sciatica is an indication that something is definitely wrong and needs to be examined. If you are having radiating pain into your buttocks or legs call my office today and schedule an exam. 401-433-3600

Spondylolisthesis: is a condition in which a vertebra of the lower spine slips out of place, pinching the nerves exiting the spinal column. This condition is usually the result of trauma causing a break in the posterior portion of the vertebra. If the vertebra slips too far, it may press on nerves and cause severe back pain or nerve crowding that produces leg pain or numbness. This type of condition is managed very well with chiropractic care. It is very important that an x-ray is taken during the examination to determine which level the break has occurred and which vertebra needs to be adjusted. If you have been diagnosed with this condition or having lower back pain, call my office 401-433-3600

A traumatic injury: such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall can injure tendons, ligaments or muscle resulting in low back pain. Vertebra of the spine are jarred out their proper position and if not treated can lead to chronic spinal condition. Traumatic injury may also cause the spine to become overly compressed, which in turn can cause an intervertebral disc to rupture or herniate, exerting pressure on any of the nerves roots of the spinal cord. When spinal nerves become compressed and irritated, back pain and sciatica may result. Chiropractic care is vital to the recovery and long term health the spine when dealing with this types of injuries. If you are the victim of a traumatic injury call my office 401-433-3600

Spinal stenosis: is a result of neglecting the health of your spine. It is a narrowing of the spinal column or neural foramina that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that can cause pain or numbness when walking and over time leads to leg weakness and sensory loss. This is a condition that can be prevent or treated and managed well with chiropractic treatments. Unfortunately, when following the medical model of health care we wait until it is too late to act on our health.   401-433-3600

Skeletal irregularities: include scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that does not usually cause pain until the person has fully grown; lordosis, an abnormally accentuated arch in the lower back; and other congenital anomalies of the spine. The medical advice for this condition is a wait and see approach only acting when the condition is causing problems. However, waiting to treat these conditions when symptoms occur is a major mistake. The best time to address these conditions is early childhood before the child stops growing. May times the curvature can be reduced or eliminated depending on how bad it is and how old the child is. If the child is physically active they increase their chance of developing painful symptoms as results of the curves. Chiropractic is very effective in keeping the child active and symptom free. If you are an adult chiropractic care can still be a great help to you in relieving symptoms and keeping you active. There is a better approach than medication or surgery. Call today 401-433-3600