Types of Low Back Pain
SEPT 23, 2021
Good morning, everybody. This is Dr. Aaron Seaton, again with the Chiropractic Place here in Redding, California. I wanted to talk to you about the three most common symptoms of low back pain that I typically see in my office and what we can do to help our patients. So, first and foremost, the number one thing that I typically see in my office is somebody experiencing a sprain, strain in their low back. Often, they might have pain on their left side, leaning to the right. They come in like this. Usually, those are acute injuries. They were lifting something, perhaps they were doing gardening that weekend, or helping a friend move, and then they just do something, and then boom, this thing hits them.
This is the most common thing that I see in my office as far as low back pain. So typically, it's a pain on either side of the pelvis. It could be the right side or the left side. Usually, the patient is leaning away from the side of the pain. We call that an antalgic lean where they're pushing away from that side because of all the inflammation. They are taking pressure off of it. Usually, sprains strains like that will resolve quickly. Using ice on that can be very helpful, especially if you have this brand new injury where you're eight, nine, 10 out of 10 type of pain. Using ice to help mediate that pain can help. Sometimes this pain wants to follow all the way up into your lower mid-back, kind of into your lower ribs, that's really common with a sprain, strain in your low back, and sometimes you can get radiating pain down in kind of the back of the leg that usually doesn't cross the knee, but that's the most common with a sprain, strain in the low back or what we call the sacroiliac joint here, that can create a lot of pain, a lot of discomforts, and people can get really nervous when they have these because the pain is very intense.
But what I always tell my patients is that these are typically 10 to 14 days if this is what I suspect. The first three to five days are usually the most intense, and then we start to see this gradual improvement take place over time, so that is the first thing I see. The second thing that I see in my office is a common disc problem, and a lot of people, when they first start having low back pain, want to know what's causing it. So with discs, typically, these are what we call micro-traumas over time. There's usually not a major event that sets one of these off. Usually, the disc has some wear and tear over time. A lot of times, people wake up in the morning, and they have this pain in their back that's shooting down their leg. In a lot of cases with discs, it'll come down the side of the leg into the foot. The pain is usually worse in the morning.
That pain may start to get a little better over the course of the day because what happens is when we're sleeping, a disc will rehydrate at night, most people don't know this, but you're actually anywhere from a quarter-inch to a half an inch taller in the morning because your discs start to rehydrate at night. So if you're five foot seven like me, you want to take your height measurement in the morning, get that extra quarter to a half an inch. So with discs, they're worse in the morning because they swell up at night, and then as you get up and move around and walk around, it tends to alleviate the symptoms somewhat, depending on the level of disc involvement. Sometimes with discs, it can be 10 out of 10 nerve pain all day long. Many times, people will report, doc, I take ibuprofen, I'm taking Advil, nothing's touching it, this nerve pain won't stop.
That's usually an indication that there's some pressure on that nerve, and usually, the anti-inflammatories don't really take the edge off of that shooting pain down the leg. This can also be helped with chiropractic care. Discs need to move for them to heal. Discs do not have a very good blood supply, so they get nutrition pumped in from the bones above and below. So if that joint is stuck and not moving, it's going to make it very hard for that disc to heal. Some chiropractic care can get that unlocked and get that disc moving and pumping, so it has a chance to heal, and these typically heal the course slowly. Some of them can be six-plus months for these to improve. So this is another thing that we see. Another thing I do see in the office is patients with low back pain, with kind of that chronic arthritis where it just kind of aches a lot, they report that with exercise and movement, they tend to feel better if they sit for too long a period or sit on hard surfaces, it can really start to agitate this.
So these patients also respond very well to chiropractic care because arthritis is a joint that has wear and tear, the cartilage is wearing out, and we're getting bone moving into that joint space. That's what arthritis does, and so, the more movement we keep in there, the healthier we can keep that cartilage and hopefully slow that process down and give that patient a much better quality of life. So hopefully, that explains just a little bit of the differences. By no means should this video be used to diagnose what's going on with you, but hopefully, it gives you an idea of what a chiropractor is looking at when you first come in, which is why we do a thorough examination on our patients. We take digital x-rays right here in the office on that first appointment to help better understand what's going on with our patient, so we can explain to them what the care plan is, what we think is going on, and hopefully see some results for those patients over time. So, hopefully, that helps you understand a little bit more about low back pain and what we can do to help. If you have any questions, please give us a call here at the office. I'm Dr. Aaron Seaton with the Chiropractic Place.
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