Mid and Lower Back Conditions

Lower Back

All the conditions listed below are seen regularly in the clinic. Research has shown chriopractic treatment to have positive effects the following conditions. The information here is to help people understand their problem, it is not here as a substitute to seeing a chiropractor and getting their problem diagnosed. In order to diagnose a problem effectively a full case history, orthopaedic examination, and neurological examination must be performed.

Irritated middle and lower back joints [+]

Also known as thoracic and lumbar facet joint irritation or dysfunction

The middle and lower back, just like anywhere else in the body, move through the use of joints. Each of these joints allows a small range of motion but when working together they allow the full range of motion that is seen when, for example, the body is twisted.

Maintaining the same posture for prolonged lengths of time and lifting incorrectly can cause the middle and lower back joints to become tight and potentially irritated, which in turn can cause mid back pain, lower back pain, buttock pain, leg pain, muscular tension and spasms.

It is important to realise that a stiff and painful back is not normal and that it most likely occurs because the spine isn’t functioning correctly.

Lumbar disc injury [+]

Also known as a slipped disc, disc prolapse, disc bulge or herniated disc

In between each of the vertebra in the spine is a disc. These discs are full of fluid and act as shock absorbers. If too much force goes through the spine (one heavy load or multiple light loads) then the fluid in the disc can escape and irritate the nerves. This can cause lower back pain, buttock pain, leg pain, muscular tension and spasms, as well as numbness and pins and needles.

It is important to realise that there are many names for a disc injury (slipped disc, prolapsed disc etc) but it all means the same thing. If the fluid in the disc is pressing on a nerve it will cause pain, the amount of pressure on the nerve determines the extent of the injury.

Sciatica [+]

Also known as sciatic nerve irritation

The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body that extends from the lower back into the lower leg. Sciatica is irritation of the sciatic nerve and describes a range of symptoms that may be felt.

There are many causes of sciatica with the main ones being disc injuries, and tightness of the muscles in the buttock. The usual symptoms of sciatica are lower back pain, buttock pain, thigh pain, calf pain, and foot pain. It may also cause pins and needles and/or numbness into any of those areas.

It is important to understand that sciatica is not a diagnosis but a description of symptoms. In order to be treated effectively a correct diagnosis needs to be ascertained.

Sacroiliac joint irritation [+]

Also known as sacroiliac joint dysfunction, pelvic instability, or an unstable pelvis

The sacroiliac joints are at the base of the spine and connect the spine to the pelvis. These joints are an essential component of weight transfer from the spine to the legs. This means that if they are stiff or not functioning correctly the weight will not be transferred evenly and pain may occur.

Maintaining the same posture for prolonged lengths of time and lifting incorrectly can cause these sacroiliac joints to become tight and potentially irritated, which in turn can cause lower back pain, buttock pain, leg pain, muscular tension and spasms.

Arthritis in the lower back [+]

Also known as lumbar spine arthritis or lumbar spondylosis

Arthritis is a progressive disease that causes painful inflammation and stiffness of joints. Arthritis cannot be cured but the joints can be made more mobile and therefore less painful.

With arthritis the joints become worn, which in severe cases leads to fusing of the vertebra. Increased mobility and decreased pain levels can be achieved with chiropractic care right up until the point in which the vertebrae fuse. Arthritis in the lower back can cause low back pain, buttock pain, leg pain, muscular tension and spasms.

It is commonly thought that having arthritis in the spine means nothing can be done, however, this is rarely the case. It is first important to determine how much ‘wear and tear’ is present and whether the vertebrae have fused.

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