Lower back pain sufferers dominate the U.S. healthcare industry, with over 31 million Americans suffering from symptoms at any given time. Even more alarming, over 50-percent of the working population in the U.S. suffer from it annually – both mild and acute/chronic cases. So, what does this mean for you as a resident in Seattle, Washington?
Currently, there are over 686,700 residents in the Seattle area, with 549,773 of these residents actively working. Statistically, 1 in 10 residents (or 68,773) in the area experience some form of lower back pain at any given time. Even worse, around 274,886 residents in Seattle will incur some form of lower back pain throughout the year.
Living in Seattle might be fruitful for work, but it may lead to significant damage to your muscles, spine and tissue over time. With more than $50 billion allocated to back pain treatments in the US (and less than 10% of the population receiving health care), it’s predicted that you’ll spend an average of $1,000 or more annually on lower back pain treatments through medical services. But, with the help of spinal management services from a reliable chiropractic care provider, you can spend less money and receive more direct results with pain management.
What Causes My Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain forms in both organic and non-organic ways. However, it’s more common for residents in Seattle to get it from non-organic or mechanical means. Non-organic defines any injury that’s not a symptom of a disease, but rather is the main source of the problem caused by excessive stress on your bones, ligaments or muscle.
Here are the most non-organic, or mechanical, ways you can suffer from a lower back injury:
- Spraining ligaments or muscles;
- Rupturing discs in your back;
- Irritating joints, causing more strain on your back;
- Suffering sports injuries or major accidents; or
- Making a simple movement, such as bending down to pick something up.
While these involve the most common problems, you may also experience it from organic means. Simply put, this means that your lower back pain could be a symptom of an actual disease or disorder.
Here are the most common organic problems people face when lower back pain is a symptom:
- Coping with arthritis;
- Suffering from bone loss;
- Promoting bad posture by slouching;
- Fighting off kidney infections or stones;
- Developing internal organ diseases;
- Struggling with obesity; or
- Developing more psychological or emotional distress.
While uncommon, organic problems do occur throughout the population. Taking precautions by visiting your family physician to rule out these organic problems is advised.
How Does Chiropractic Care Treat Lower Back Pain?
Chiropractors help you manage your lower back pain with multiple treatments. Not every chiropractor practices each treatment method, which makes looking for the best chiropractor vital for you. However, one of the main treatments you will see used by all chiropractors involves a technique known as spinal manipulation — sometimes referred to as “spinal manipulation therapy”.
Chiropractors use their hands or a device that applies a controlled amount of pressure and force to the vertebrae. This force releases nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen gasses from your joints, known as joint cavitation. After several sessions, the goal is to experience an increase in your range of motion, improve your body’s ability to function and reduce both nerve irritability and subluxation — an abnormal separation between your joints.
However, sometimes during spinal manipulation therapy, you won’t experience the well-known “crack” that releases the gasses between joints. This happens in one of two scenarios, including:
- Failure to relax your body while your chiropractor performs the spinal manipulation; or
- Parts of your muscle have significant splinting.
When this occurs, your chiropractor uses other methods to help relax your body before the next adjustment. These include hydrotherapy, massage therapy, electrical stimulation, application of ice or allowance to rest beforehand.
These alternative methods also help, when incorporated as part of your treatment, with decompressing the spine, reducing inflammation in your muscles and tissues, improving circulation, decreasing muscle spasms and relieving pain. These methods are less known, but help encourages the healing capabilities of your body.
Other known forms of chiropractic care also include:
- Heat and ice therapy – The use of ice packs and heating pads to improve healing.
- Infrared radiation – Physicians use thermal cameras to locate any abnormal changes in temperature to assess the cause of the lower back pain.
- Cold laser therapy – A laser that shoots particles of energy to your cell membrane’s receptors that convert to biochemical energy for improved circulation and reduce pain and inflammation.
- Pelvic stabilization – Corrective arch support for those with flat feet or small heel lifts for those with leg length
- Electric stimulation therapy – Sends electrode pulses throughout the body to manage muscle spasms, reduce inflammation and relieve back pain.
- Spinal Decompression — Use of a traction device, such as rollers, that stretch the back, massage muscles and reduce any pressure on the nerve roots located in your lower, mid and upper back.
- Hydrotherapy – Use of cold and hot water to help with reducing back pain sensitivity.
- Ultrasound therapy – Heat therapy applied directly to the joints or soft tissue that promote relaxation from your muscles, down to the connective tissue and help improve blood circulation and decrease muscle spasms and stiffness.
Depending on the severity of your lower back pain and causes of it, your chiropractor may combine several of these to help provide your back with maximum relief from pains and aches. Additionally, they may help you manage your diet, plan exercise schedules and recommend modifications to your daily life to further help with long-term lower back pain relief.
How Long Will It Take to Feel Relief from Chiropractic Care?
Each case differs on a person-to-person basis, so relief may not be instantaneous for you, depending on your current condition. If you experience mild back pain from a non-organic method, you’ll likely experience relief after one or two sessions. However, if you suffer from moderate-to-severe chronic back pain and/or have back pain due to a disease or disorder, it may take several sessions before you notice any significant relief in your symptoms.
Your chiropractor works with you and uses an assortment of techniques to help you manage your back pain. If you suffer from long-term lower back pain, it’s possible for a chiropractor to recommend permanent visits every couple of days, weeks or months dependent on the severity of the pain. It’s the safest alternative to treating chronic back pain per the AHCPR.
Proven Results That Chiropractic Care Works for Acute Back Pain
While spine management treatment has been widely available for decades, it has only now begun to take notice. More studies in the past 20 years have been conducted than ever before, showing just how effective this is if you suffer from chronic or acute back pain.
In a study performed by Dr. Goertz and his team of medical experts showed that men and women between the ages of 18-35 experience a significant improvement in pain relief and physical function when using chiropractic care along with standard medicine care (SMC) than those who only used SMC.
Another study conducted by Cynthia K. Peterson in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (2012), showed that while people with acute pain reported additional pain initially using spinal management therapy. However, it showed more positive long-term effects, including quicker recovery and over pain reduction.
This study also showed that people who experienced improvement after the first week of treatment were 4 to 5 times more likely to have significant pain relief during the first and third month of treatment.
Even celebrities solemnly swear by chiropractic care, including Olympic Gold Medalists like Dan O’Brien, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lance Armstrong, Perdita Felicien and Marnie McBean. Others include well-known stars like Tiger Woods, Andy Griffith, Whoopi Goldberg, Tiger Woods, Lou Waters and even Whitney Houston. Many of these dedicate partial success of their careers because of their continuous visits to chiropractors.
This is just a small list of celebrities who use it to help management acute or chronic lower back pains. As it increases in popularity, more celebrities are trying and committing to it for years.
Before heading off to surgery for severe lower back pain, you may find success with a non-surgical treatment like chiropractic care. The results proven by studies performed across the world show that more people find relief when going to a chiropractor than with standard medical care. As a Seattle resident, you are likely to receive similar results to the masses who have had success with spinal management therapy.
Overall, an increase in your quality of life with simple treatments may persuade you against going under the knife or taking dangerous opiates for an extended period. Remember, nothing is more important that your health.