Approximately 9 out of 10 adults experience back pain during their lives, making it one of the leading reasons for doctor visits. Many episodes of low back pain pass within a few weeks to a month (acute episode). However, individuals with continuous pain lasting 8 weeks or more after onset (chronic episode) will often have symptoms at 1 year. Low back pain as a chronic condition is a leading cause of disability worldwide.
Low back pain itself is a symptom of a medical condition, not a diagnosis in itself. The low back is a complex network of spinal muscles, nerves, bones, discs and tendons in the lumbar spine that move together interdependently. Keeping this system mechanically aligned and held snuggly together allows for healthy function and pain-free movement. When the optimal function of the low back is compromised, pain will occur. Read more
Pain doesn't always develop immediately following an injury because the body is good at adapting to strains and stress. However, the injured area will cause strain to build up over time and eventually symptoms will develop. That is why injuries from the past can still cause current pain. Symptoms can include muscle ache, shooting or stabbing pain, pain that radiates down leg or arm, limited flexibility.
Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) focuses on correcting mechanical dysfunction. Structural integrity allows these complex joints to function as they were designed, reducing irritation, inflammation and pain. Healthy function improves blood flow to nourish tissue and further reduce inflammation. Strain on surrounding body tissue caused by compensation is reduced preventing further complications. OMT addresses the root biomechanical causes of injuries and conditions to alleviate pain and restore optimal function of the body.
Manipulation is the cornerstone of Osteopathic Medicine, treating the patient as a whole rather than treating a series of symptoms. OMT effectively treats muscle pain, joint injuries, and fascia dysfunction to maintain the structural integrity of the body. Healthy function of the musculoskeletal system helps to ensure normal nerve function and free circulation of fluids that furnish the nutrients the body needs.
Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy (OMT) helps to:
- Correct structural and tissue abnormalities in vertebrae, muscles, myofascial structures, etc.
- Relieve joint restriction and misalignment
- Restore muscle and tissue balance
- Promote the movement of bodily fluids
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), Prolotherapy, and Stem Cell Therapy are orthobiologic procedures that help heal collagenous tissue, such as tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Ligaments in the back, as elsewhere in our body, are designed to handle a normal amount of stress that will stretch them to their natural limit. Once the stress is removed, the ligaments will return to their normal length. When excess stress is applied, stretching the ligament beyond its natural range of extension, the ligament will not return to its normal length. Instead, it will remain permanently “over-stretched," diminishing its ability to hold the vertebrae in their proper place. Such a condition is called “ligament laxity.”
Ligament laxity in the lower back may be caused by a major traumatic injury, repeated minor injuries to the same area, simple normal aging, or simple wearing of collagen. Left untreated, laxity can lead to other, more serious, conditions. Orthobiologic procedures can strengthen the connecting tissues to make the spinal column more stable, reducing friction and inflammation that cause back pain.
Common conditions causing back pain
Ligament strain. Injury occurs when ligament tissue is over-stretched or torn, resulting in damage to the ligament fibers (tough, fibrous tissues that connect the bones together). A strain that occurs in the lumbar region of the back is referred to as a lumbar strain. Ligament laxity of overstretched tissue results in mechanical dysfunction and inflammation of surrounding tissue. Muscles and tissue surrounding the strain will attempt to compensate for the instability. These conditions lead to back spasm that can cause both severe lower back pain and difficulty moving.
Bulging or ruptured discs. Discs act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae) in the spine. The soft material inside a disc can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve. However, a bulging or ruptured disc can occur without back pain. Disc disease is often found incidentally during spine X-rays given for another reason.
Spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is narrowing of spaces in the spine, causing pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that travel through the spine to the arms and legs. Most cases occur in the lumbar region of the back and are often caused by the wear and tear related to osteoarthritis.
Skeletal irregularities. Back pain can occur if the spine curves abnormally. Scoliosis, a condition in which your spine curves to the side (laterally), also may lead to back pain, but generally only if the scoliosis is severe.
Irritation of large nerve roots that travel to the legs
Irritation of smaller nerves in lower back
Sprain. Tendons attaching the muscles to bones and can become sprained with excess force resulting in a sprain. The large paired lower back muscles (erector spinae) can also become sprained, often resulting in small tissue tears.
Degeneration of intervertebral discs
Too much or too little movement can cause low back pain. Keeping the spinal column mechanically functional, free from obstructions and impingement, helps all of the body’s systems function optimally. A healthy spine has long been considered a key to a longer, healthier life. Exercising this complex system, like any part of the body, maintains supple, pain-free movement.
Look well to the spine for the cause of diseases. -Hippocrates
We Can Help
To learn more about what we can do to help with your condition, call our office at 817.416.0970. We will thoroughly diagnose your condition and present you with treatment options. From there we will guide you along your road to recovery.