Lower Back Pain

Osteoarthritis

Headaches

Whiplash

Sciatica

Lower back pain affects 7 out of 10 people at some stage in their lives. It can affect anyone of any age, but is more common between the ages of 35-55 years. The pain can come on slowly, suddenly or be the direct result of a fall or injury.

In most cases, the cause of pain can be linked to the way the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments in the back work together. This complex structure means that any small amount of damage can cause a lot of pain and discomfort.
In most cases this problem settles itself down in a few weeks and continuing with your usual activities or exercise will promote healing. It is when the pain increases, persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as leg pain, fever, weight loss, chest pain, changes in your bowel or bladder habit or numbness around the buttock that there may be potential problems.

BACK PAIN CAN GENERALLY BE DIVIDED INTO THREE CATEGORIES:

  • Ordinary backache is the most common type and is usually triggered by an injury, poor lifting or bad posture. The pain is worse with certain movements and may spread to one or both of the buttocks or thighs.
  • Nerve root pain (‘sciatica’) occurs in less than 5% of cases and is where the pain travels right down the leg and is often worse than the back pain. The pain is often accompanied by pins and needles or numbness in the leg or foot and there may be associated weakness in the foot.
  • Serious spinal pathology occurs in less than 1% of cases and includes infections, inflammatory disease and tumours.

Arthritis is a condition characterized by the gradual breakdown of joint cartilage, most commonly in the weight bearing joints of the body such as the knees, hips, and back. It is also common in the neck and hands.

As the joint is broken down it can lead to joint stiffness and increased strain on the muscles in that area. Additionally, as joint function changes it can lead to movement compensations and place strain on other areas of the body as well. Although degenerative changes are common with age they do not automatically result in pain. Research now shows that it is not the degeneration of the joint that is responsible for pain but the effects the degeneration has on how the joint is functioning, resulting in stiffness and muscle strains.

We focus on restoration and maintenance of function by emphasizing joint movement and increasing the ability of the muscles to support and stabilize the affected joints. In addition, we assess how the body as a whole is functioning to uncover any other movement abnormalities that may be affecting the degenerated area.

HEADACHES

We have all suffered from a headache at some stage in our lives, but for some people headaches can take total control over their lives. As you are aware there are many different types, each with a unique set of causes and symptoms.

TENSION-TYPE HEADACHES

This type of headache usually starts as tension and pain in the shoulders and moves up the neck, to the back of the head and sometimes up over the head to the forehead.

MIGRAINE HEADACHE

A vascular-type headache, migraines are debilitating and are often accompanied by nausea/vomiting and acute sensitivity to light and sound. They may also be accompanied by an aura, which may manifest as a visual disturbance or rarely, sensitivity to smells.

CLUSTER HEADACHES

Occurring more often in men, cluster headaches may actually be the most severe of all headaches. The pain is severe and usually focused over the temples lasting up to an hour, recurring several times a day.

HORMONE HEADACHES

More common among females, they occur in conjunction with PMS and menstruation. The symptoms are often similar to those found in migraine headaches with a one-sided, throbbing headache with light/noise sensitivity.

REBOUND HEADACHES

Rebound headaches are caused by the overuse/abuse of painkillers that contain caffeine. These headaches follow the withdrawal or reduction of a prescribed painkiller.

CERVICOGENIC HEADACHES

These usually start with pain at the top of the neck that migrates over the back of the head, to the forehead or temple and can become localised behind the eye. This type of headache normally recurs on the same side of the head.

Whiplash is most commonly received from riding in a vehicle that is struck from behind or collides with another object. When the head is suddenly jerked back and forth beyond its normal limits, the muscles and ligaments that support the spine and head can be overstretched or torn.

The soft, pulpy discs between spinal bones can bulge, tear or rupture. Vertebrae can be forced out of their normal position, reducing range of motion. The spinal cord and nerve roots in the neck can get stretched and irritated. While occupants can suffer considerable soft tissue injury, the car may only be slightly damaged.

The resulting instability of the spine and soft tissues can cause headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, pain in the shoulder, arms and hands, reduced ability to turn and bend, and even low back problems. As the body attempts to adapt, symptoms may not appear for weeks or even moths later.

The chiropractic approach to these types of injuries is to use specific chiropractic adjustment to help return spinal function. After a thorough examination and case history, the doctor will recommend a series of visits to help restore proper motion and position of the spinal bones. If caught early enough, inflammation can be reduced and scar tissue can often be minimized.

‘Sciatica’ (pronounced sigh-at-ih-kah) is actually a misnomer and should be referred to as ‘Sciatic Nerve Pain’ as it is usually a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as a herniated lumbar disc, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis or a misaligned lumbar vertebra causing compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve is a long nerve originating in the lower back that extends down the back of the thigh into the leg and to the foot. When this nerve is irritated, it can cause pain, numbness, weakness, or other symptoms in the area of distribution.

Sciatic Nerve Pain is often characterized by one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Constant pain in the buttock with pain radiating down the back of the thigh to the foot
  • The pain in the leg can often be worse than the back or buttock pain
  • The leg pain can often be described as ‘’burning’’, ‘’tingling’’ or like an electric shock
  • The pain is often worse with sitting or standing, but can ease when lying down
  • Numbness or weakness in the affected leg

Sciatic Nerve pain can vary from person to person. For some it is a severe, debilitating pain and for others if may be an infrequent irritation.

Self diagnosis of ‘’Sciatica’’ or Sciatic Nerve Irritation is not recommended as there may be other reasons for your leg pain. It is recommended that you consult a trained medical professional for a full assessment.