If you’re worried about lower back pain, you’re not alone. Many people experience lower back pain due to injury, spinal misalignment, and prolonged poor posture. Lower back pain comes and goes throughout life, and current research shows that from the first time you experience low back pain to your most recent exacerbation, it’s really the same issue progressive over time. Timing is everything, flare-ups of back pain, which last for more than 2-3 weeks, indicate the problem is becoming more of a problem.
In this article, we’ll explain why paying attention to pain symptoms is important. We’ll also describe how normal pain should feel compared to symptoms that can indicate a more serious health problem. If you’re suffering from lower back pain and are seeking treatment, we discuss how PostureWorks can help you get to the root of the problem and create a spinal realignment plan that can lead to pain relief and improve your quality of life.
The Importance of Recognizing Pain Symptoms
Lower back pain affects people of all ages and can occur without any prior risk factors or injury to the back. While lower back pain is not always indicative of a more serious health problem, it is a symptom you should take seriously. It’s your body’s way of telling you there’s a problem.
Lower back pain is caused by several physiological processes that differ depending on the underlying cause. In many cases, people with abnormal strain and stress on the spine and vertebral discs will develop inflammation and pain in those areas. Then, inflammation in the vertebral column alerts the brain that there is a problem deep within that location, resulting in increased pain levels. The inflammation will also form scar tissue in the injured area to defend the area against future stress and strain, kind of like a callus.
For patients with proper spinal alignment and good flexibility, it’s easier for the body to naturally push inflammation out of the vertebral joints through normal motion and simple activities of daily life. And when the issue gets “resolved,” your body will turn off the pain signal. When the pain is gone, the inflammation is reduced and the tissue is now strong enough to handle all activities again.
Normal Human Healing Times:
- Acute Phase: 2-3 days of active inflammation, muscle guarding, and pain
- Subacute Phase: 2-3 weeks, inflammation becomes passive, scar tissue is forming, and pain reduces
- Repair Phase: 6-8 weeks inflammation has turned into function scar tissue that can withstand most activities
However, it’s important to understand that chronic inflammation in the spine can lead to the overdevelopment of scar tissue in the vertebral joints and reduce range of motion. Over time and with continued wear and tear the overall shape of soft tissue and bone in those areas will become degenerated and less functional.
While lower back pain does not always indicate a serious health problem, you should address it as soon as it occurs. Suffering for years with off-and-on back pain can lead to the onset of spinal degeneration, resulting in increased pain, decreased flexibility, mobility, and strength, and reduced quality of life. You should address the problem as soon as you notice it and seek treatment.
When Should I Be Worried About Lower Back Pain?
As discussed, lower back pain can indicate a more serious problem; it’s a warning signal from your body. Even when pain levels drop, it’s helpful to investigate the underlying cause. For younger individuals, poor posture, prolonged periods of sitting at a computer, and minor muscle sprains and strain can be the reason for their short-term lower back pain. Preventative wellness care is recommended, in these cases, to ensure the issue is addressed early on before it leads to degenerative conditions later in life.
In comparison, lower back pain that lasts more than a few weeks indicates an internal problem that requires medical evaluation. To identify the underlying cause of pain and recommend appropriate treatment, a qualified health professional will need to consider your specific health risk profile and perform an in-person medical evaluation.
In many cases, lower back pain will “resolve” independently. But if it doesn’t, here are some guidelines on when you should seek professional help:
- If the pain lasts a few weeks or longer
- If the pain keeps getting worse over time
- If you are experiencing other symptoms, such as fever, major weight loss or weight gain, loss of function or weakness in extremities, bladder problems, etc.
How PostureWorks Treats Back Pain
Many people treat lower back pain with prescription and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications without understanding the underlying cause of their symptoms. You can treat the short-term effects of lower back pain naturally and without prescription medications through chiropractic adjustments.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, goes one step further to assess and correct spinal and postural alignment issues, to truly resolve the low back pain at its root. During your evaluation, your doctor will look for postural distortions and take an x-ray to look for structural problems, such as spinal misalignment issues, asymmetrical leg length, or abnormal pelvic alignment—as these issues are common causes of chronic stress on the spine and joints.
According to research, the patient’s natural lumbar curvature affects how the spine ages and how much pain an individual will experience in that area. Misalignment of the lumbar spine can result in vertebral disc degeneration, arthritis (inflammation), bone spurs, and chronic lower back pain. During treatment, your chiropractor will recommend postural exercises and use traction to directly treat the ligaments and discs of the spine, to restore a normal curvature and increase flexibility in the lumbar spine.
PostureWorks — Treatment with Chiropractic Biophysics®
Invasive treatment for lower back pain, such as surgery, is rarely required and is highly preventable. If you have lower back pain that comes and goes, you should seek an evaluation and treatment from a certified Chiropractic Biophysics® provider. In many cases, restorative care is sufficient to treat the underlying cause of lower back pain and to prevent problems caused by spinal degeneration. If you have severe and chronic lower back pain that lasts more than a few weeks—don’t delay—seek treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.
At PostureWorks, our chiropractic physicians provide several treatment options to our patients, which include standard chiropractic adjustments and more specialized treatment, such as Chiropractic BioPhysics®. During your initial consultation, we will evaluate your spinal health using a biometrics analysis, incorporating your personal health goals to provide you with a customized treatment plan that may include postural exercises, neuro-muscular reeducation, and spinal alignment traction to correct spinal misalignment.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine to health and restore optimal function. CBP is conservative, evidence-based, and non-invasive. If you’ve been suffering from lower back pain and asking yourself questions, like, “when should I be worried about lower back pain,” we can help. Contact us today and schedule your first appointment with PostureWorks!