Lower-Back Pain

The back is made up of many individual parts and as a result is can easily develop many problems. Any excessive pressure placed on the muscles or nerves, as well as damage to the spine can cause back pain. Back pain is most commonly the result of either injury or degeneration of the intervertabral disc. Degeneration is a process whereby many years of wear and tear cause deterioration.

Lower Back Pain

Back pain can be of two main types:

Mechanical Lower Back Pain: this type of back pain is due to inflammation in the disc, ligaments, spinal joints, or muscles within the back. Mechanical back pain usually starts in the lower spine but can spread to other areas such as the buttock or thigh.

Compressive/ Neurogenic lower back pain: this type of back pain occurs when nerves become irritated or compressed. This type of back pain may be associated with numbness and is usually described as an electric type of pain. The muscles that are supplied by the irritated nerve may become weak and reflexes maybe diminished.

Red flags for back pain:

  • Weakness/numbness in one or both legs
  • Back pain from a fall /injury
  • Back pain accompanied by fever
  • Back pain associated with abnormal bladder or bowel  symptoms

Diagnosing back pain:

A complete history of the back pain will be needed in order for your chiropractor to make a proper diagnosis. The chiropractor will ask you a number of questions related to your back pain:

  • What are the symptoms?

  • Where in the back is the pain exactly?

  • Where is the back pain most serve?

  • How long does it last?

Next the chiropractor will perform a full physical exam. During this examination the chiropractor may perform any of the following:

  • Observe your joints and muscles.

  • Ask you to lie down.

  • Ask you to move the back in different positions

  • Look at other areas of the body that may be painful (kidney, intestines etc).If the chiropractor can identify the cause of back pain, at this point, no further tests will be needed. However, if more specific information is required the chiropractor maybe request X-rays.

Types of back pain:

Back pain can be acute (severe, but short-lived), subacute or chronic( long-lasting /occurring often);

Acute Back Pain

  • Back pain lasts between 1 to 7 days
  • Back pain is moderate to severe
  • An accident/injury may be the cause of this type of back pain
  • 80% of all

Subacute Back pain

  • Back pain lasts from 7 days to 7 weeks

  • Back pain is usually mild but can sometimes be severe

  • 10-20% of all back pain

Chronic Back pain

  • Back pain usually lasts more than 3 months

  • Back pain is moderate/severe

  • 5% of all back pain


Our Back

Our back is held upright by muscles that attach to the spine. Within the spine are the discs that lie between each vertebra. These discs are made of a soft, elastic material called cartilage. The main function of the discs is to act like a cushion and by doing so they protect the spinal joints from wearing out.

The key to a healthy back:

  • Proper exercise is the main key to healthy back.
  • Mother nature did not design the human spine to sit. Sitting especially for a long period of time is much harder on the back than lying down or even standing. The reason for this is due to the natural curve present in our lower spine called a lordotic curve. When this lordotic curve is maintained the muscles, ligaments and discs can all work normally.