Lesser talked about questions regarding low back pain.
Low back pain is a common complaint we see and treat on a daily basis. As someone who has dealt with several serious bouts of low back pain myself, here are some lesser discussed but important questions regarding it:
1. Why am I so tired with low back pain?
2. Why doesn’t rest fix low back pain?
3. Do I need an X-ray or MRI for my low back?
1. A new occurrence of low back pain (LBP) makes everything in life VERY difficult and is VERY exhausting! Pain is the body’s alarm system, and when the episode of LBP increases, the sensitivity of the alarm increases. This makes normal every day things seem much more painful and much more daunting to complete. It makes us think twice before bending over to throw something away or picking something up that was dropped. A new occurrence of LBP can be very tiring! The increased stress and vigilance of the body’s nervous system uses a lot of the body’s available resources, and those must be replenished.
We have to purposely focus on getting into a state that will help bring the body’s alarm system back down to normal. This includes getting adequate rest, water, and nutrients to help bring the body down to “rest and digest.”
2. Lounging is one of the fastest ways to increase LBP. As counterintuitive as it sounds, sitting around all day won’t help and many times will make it worse! LBP is a combination of stiff joints, muscles and irritated discs. These parts of our body crave movement, and lounging is the opposite of what they’re telling us they need.
“Motion is lotion” meaning movement is like lubrication to the joints. Find gentle, tolerable activities to keep your body moving. Somedays your body can tolerate a lot, and other days it won’t tolerate as much.
-We love and recommend short, frequent walks throughout the day.
3. In most situations, getting an X-ray or MRI is the last thing I want for myself and for a majority of my patients. This is for several key reasons. One, most of the time, it won’t change our course of treatment. Either way, we need to get things calmed down and moving better again. Two, many studies now tell us when imaging is taken right away, it actually makes the prognosis WORSE! The results of imaging can increase the amount of expensive treatments, surgeries, and prescription medications those patients receive.
Yes, there are times X-ray and MRI’s are needed, but for a majority of LBP, it isn’t necessary.
To get the body out of pain, we need to get the body moving. Time is the biggest factor. Some LBP resolves quickly, and for others, it takes a while. We use combinations of manual adjustments, rehab exercises, and muscle work to get things calmed down and moving better.
If you’re dealing with low back pain, don’t be discouraged! Seek out a great chiropractor, rehab specialist, or other practitioner near you to help you get moving better again.