Low back pain is a blight on humanity. If we are unlucky enough to have a weak point in our back then for most people it will be the low back. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, at any one time 15% of all Australians suffer from low back pain. This figure goes up to 24% of the population aged between 65 and 75.1
Low back pain (or lumbago) is a common musculoskeletal disorder affecting nearly everyone at some point in their lives. “In the United States it is the most common cause of job-related disability, a leading contributor to missed work, and the second most common neurological ailment — only headache is more common.” 2
When supported by walking on all four legs this problem would have been far less common. But now that we stand upright over half our weight is above the pelvis and has to pivot around just two vertebrae that are only approximately 4 to 5 cm wide. These two vertebrae are the fifth lumbar vertebra (L5) which is attached to the first sacral (S1) vertebra via the fifth lumbar disc. This is the most common location for low back pain.
If you have ever browsed the Web in search of information on low back pain for more than just a few minutes then you have more than likely come across all the standard information such as
- anatomy of low back pain
- injury to the disk
- medication to ease pain and spasm
- surgical options for treatment
- how medical doctors diagnose low back pain
- suggestions to temporarily sooth the pain
In this series of articles I will provide a different approach to the understanding of low back pain and its treatment that I doubt you would find elsewhere. I will also explain a wonderfully effective treatment method that has enabled me to provide relief and often resolve this issue for hundreds of my patients. This has been achieved even after they have been told they needed surgery for problems such as bulging discs or advanced arthritis diagnosed with MRI’s or CAT scans. That is not to say that some people with low back pain don’t need surgery, as there are many cases that do benefit from that.
Low back pain is a complex topic with whole text books devoted to its academic examination. While I have studied several of those texts myself I am grateful for having then studied a practical, gentle and effective approach to the analysis and treatment of low back pain. After six years of full-time study at university including research into facial nerves I then did a four-year Doctor of Chiropractic degree at Palmer College of Chiropractic-West in California, graduating in 1994. Since then I have treated hundreds of people with mild to severe and chronic cases of low back pain as well as other related conditions that can also arise from dysfunctions in the low back. Such conditions include muscle weakness and imbalances that then end up as knee pain or recurrent ankle sprains or even “Foot Drop”. Other examples include gait problems such as ”Pigeon Toe”, various types of limps as well as sciatica.
In my next low back pain article I will discuss the process of choosing the treatment and health care provider that is right to you.
Jason Barritt, B.Sc. (Hons), D.C.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. “Musculoskeletal Conditions in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05”, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4823.0.55.001. Last updated 28 June 2006 [Accessed 8 April 2011]
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “Low Back Pain Fact Sheet” http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/backpain/detail_backpain.htm Last updated 18 February 2011 [Accessed 8 April 2011]