Do you suffer from lower back pain? You’re not alone.
Research shows that about 65 million Americans have had lower back pain, and around 8 percent experience chronic lower back pain. Additionally, back pain is a leading cause of missed work days, disability, and work limitations.
Given how prevalent lower back pain is, you might think there would be numerous treatments available. Unfortunately, many people who visit a doctor for back pain find few solutions, and they may try multiple treatments without results.
Here are a few of the options and their limitations:
- Some physicians recommend rest and over-the-counter remedies. These may work temporarily, they may only provide partial relief, or they might not work at all. Long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen can also cause side effects like digestive issues or bleeding problems.
- Prescription anti-inflammatory medications may offer a bit more relief, but they could also have unpleasant side effects.
- Anticonvulsants and antidepressants are sometimes used for patients with chronic pain, even if they don’t have seizures or depression. It’s not clear exactly how they work, but their effects on the brain may interfere with pain signals. Unfortunately, some people also have to quit taking these medications due to side effects like nausea, drowsiness, mood swings, and even liver damage.
- Opioids are rarely prescribed for back pain these days due to concerns about addiction. Even when they were more widely prescribed, they weren’t a good solution for many patients due to side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, or nausea.
- If your back pain is persistent and/or interfering with your ability to work, a specialist might be able to give you steroid injections, but this treatment is only a temporary solution. Steroids can have serious side effects, including bone loss, high blood sugar, and an increased risk of infection, so they can’t be used regularly.
- Surgery is only helpful if you have a specific issue that can be corrected, such as a slipped disk – and then, there are many risks associated with back surgery, including worsening your pain. Additionally, your recovery could be lengthy, and you may not get the pain relief you need. If your pain is severe enough that you’re thinking about surgery, we recommend consulting a chiropractor to learn if there are any other options you can try first.
Accessible Grayson Lower Back Pain Treatment for You
Unlike family doctors, who are skilled at treating many conditions but have few resources for lower back pain, a chiropractor can offer you more options. One reason is that your chiropractor will work to correctly diagnose your pain’s root cause or causes.
We also take a holistic approach and offer a variety of treatments to address these issues. Depending on your diagnosis, we may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Spinal manipulation is what most people probably picture when they think of going to a chiropractor. It’s used in cases where the vertebrae, or small bones of the spine, have become misaligned.
A chiropractor gently pushes these vertebrae back into place – most patients don’t feel a thing, and some are even surprised when we tell them we’re done. Often we repeat the treatment regularly, especially if the patient is prone to recurring misalignments.
What causes these misalignments or vertebral subluxations?
Numerous factors can contribute to misaligned vertebrae, including injury or trauma (such as a car accident), repetitive strain from work or other activities, sleeping in an unusual position, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, anatomical differences, genetics, poor diet, and more.
In addition to correcting a subluxation, your chiropractor may also recommend other therapies to strengthen the muscles and ligaments in the back and reduce the likelihood of another misalignment.
One of these options is physical therapy or rehabilitation, which is used to help patients improve strength, flexibility, and overall health of the lower back while diminishing pain. Often this helps to keep the spine in alignment in the future.
Physical rehab is also helpful in situations where your back pain is caused by daily stresses – sitting at work, repetitive movements, heavy lifting, etc.
A physical rehab specialist will review your medical history and create a plan to help reduce your pain. Depending on the situation, this may include stretching, strength exercises, spinal traction to separate the vertebrae, hot and cold therapies for pain and inflammation, and other treatments.
You’ll meet with a physical rehab specialist regularly, and they will walk you through the exercises, but you’ll also be given “homework” or exercises to do at home. These are crucial to your recovery because they account for most of your progress.
If you can’t do the home exercises because of pain or other difficulties, please immediately inform your Physical rehab specialist. They will work with you to find a solution, such as modifying exercises or speaking to your chiropractor about pain management options.
Sometimes we may use injections to reduce your pain so you can get started on your physical rehabilitation.
In some cases, lower back pain is caused or exacerbated by a pinched or compressed nerve. This can occur due to arthritis, injury, disc disease, bony spurs, or other issues.
After reviewing your imaging, nerve conduction studies, and other tests, your chiropractor may use spinal manipulation to take pressure off the nerve. Additionally, we might recommend physical therapy to help improve circulation and keep the nerve healthy.
Another treatment involves using electric stimulation (E-Stim) to stimulate muscle contractions in the affected area, which improves circulation and can help decompress the nerve.
Sometimes E-Stim is also used for pain relief, as we can program the device to interfere with pain signals. E-Stim is not painful and uses low-voltage currents that most people don’t notice.
In some situations, you might have muscle or ligament damage in your back or a permanently damaged nerve. When other treatments have not been successful, we might try a regenerative approach called platelet-rich plasma injections, also known as PRP.
Plasma is a pale yellow liquid that makes up part of your blood, containing platelets (which help with clotting), proteins, and other compounds that stimulate healing. It is usually distributed evenly throughout your blood.
We will take a blood sample, then use a centrifuge to separate the different components. Eventually, we’ll have separated all the plasma from the rest of the blood.
This sample is then further divided into platelet-rich and platelet-poor plasma, and the platelet-rich plasma is used for the procedure because it contains the most proteins and other healing elements.
The rest of the procedure is relatively simple. We’ll use ultrasound to find the right area and inject the platelet-rich plasma, then you can go home and rest.
Many people are surprised at how fast and easy the process is – we do all of it in one appointment, separating the plasma while you wait in our office.
That said, we advise you to take it easy for a little while afterward and avoid specific actions (like using NSAIDs) for several weeks. Many patients are back to their usual activities within a few days.
PRP is also very safe because it uses your body’s own healing compounds. You don’t have to worry about blood types or finding a compatible platelet donor because we use your own blood.
Some patients find that they have long-term pain relief, and in many cases, it’s worth trying PRP first if you’re considering back surgery.
Why Is Lower Back Pain Chiropractic Care Good for Overall Wellness?
Chiropractors operate from the belief that the health of the spine affects the overall physical, mental, and emotional health of the individual. The spine directly connects with the spinal cord and plays a central role in the health of your central nervous system. Since the central nervous system controls almost every function in the body, its health is crucial to the health of the individual.
Choosing the Best Grayson Chiropractor for Your Lower Back Pain
Academic credentials and experience in the field are the two most important things to consider when choosing the best chiropractor for lower back pain treatment. Much like with any profession, the more training and years of experience a person has the more knowledgeable they likely are in their field.
Causes of back pain can vary from person to person. The techniques and approaches used in lower back pain treatment are dependent on each patient’s unique condition and the source of their back pain. The more real-world experience a chiropractor has the better equipped he or she will be to correctly identify and treat the problem.
A good lower back pain treatment specialist will ask for your input and answer any questions you have during your initial visit and your chiropractic adjustments. If you encounter a chiropractor that isn’t sensitive to your needs and comfort level as a patient, you may want to keep looking.
What Are the Next Steps to Getting Lower Back Pain Relief?
First, please call Optimum Health Rehab to schedule a consultation. Our friendly office staff will find a time that works for you and help with any intake paperwork or insurance coverage questions.
Once you come in for your appointment, we’ll review your records, take a history, and ask questions about your symptoms, when they started, and what treatments you’ve tried already.
Next, we may run tests depending on your symptoms, including imaging (such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs), nerve conduction studies, and a physical examination. After reviewing the results, we’ll diagnose your condition and organize a personalized treatment plan.
This includes follow-up visits to check on your progress and make changes as needed.
There is no need to remain in pain. Please call Optimum Health Rehab today at (678)985-7286 to get started on your path to back pain relief.