Here at Banchory Chiropractic Clinic we hear this comment time and time again. Many patients feel that they have no problems with their backs until one day they bend down, twist or lift something and “PING!” they feel their back go. At this point the pain either creeps in gradually or it comes on immediately – either way it ends up being very painful.
So why does this happen?
A major factor is posture. So many of us have poor posture and it really can have a detrimental effect on the health of our spine. A modern lifestyle is not conducive to a pain-free body! Humans were not designed to sit all day (even on the most ergonomically designed office chair!) and look at computers, ipads or TVs.
So on a day to day basis most of us will be sitting in such a way that is likely to put a lot of extra load through our lower lumbar vertebral joints and discs. These joints are small joints and are NOT designed for load bearing. It has been proven that people who sit a lot have more lower back problems(1) and more disc degeneration.(2)
Over time these lumbar joints and discs deteriorate, causing them to become weaker and less supportive. Then you might bend down to tie your shoe, pick a toy up off the floor or turn to look at something and that is when your lower lumbar spine is most at risk of straining underneath the increased load. If you strain a lower lumbar joint it will likely be very painful, and will eventually become hot and sore from your body’s inflammatory response.
You may or may not also feel the surrounding muscle go into a spasm (commonly referred to as a “pulled muscle) or you may even have also damaged the lumbar disc, characterised by pins and needles or shooting pain into the leg – this is more serious and requires urgent attention.
All this can happen to anyone! Regardless of whether you have had back problems in the past or not.
How to avoid this problem:
- SIT LESS! Even if your posture is perfect studies have still shown an increase in the load going through the lumbar spine when sitting. If you are stuck in the same position for multiple hours then this will slowly wear down the joints and discs in the lumbar spine.
- EXERCISE DAILY! Even a 30 minute walk every day will help to realign your spine and redistribute loads going through your back – in addition to multiple other health benefits! Safe, routined exercises such as yoga or Pilates are also very beneficial for spinal health.
- REDUCE STRESS! Stress increases certain hormones in your body that set off the “fight or flight” response, which results in muscles becoming primed for either fighting or running. Prolonged stress can result in muscles that are hypertonic (too tight) and become fatigued and sore. These muscles then cannot function correctly and leave your spine and other areas of your body at risk of injury. One study published in the journal “Spine” concluded a direct link between lower back pain and a higher degree of worry. (3)
So what if it’s too late and this has already happened to you?
Plan of action:
- Get an ice pack on the sore area ASAP
- Try to get up and walk around
- Completely avoid lifting, bending forward and twisting until you have been checked over by a professional
- Call a health professional and get seen to as soon as possible! There is usually something that can be done if the problem is caught early enough. Don’t be a hero – get the problem looked at.
Banchory Chiropractic Clinic offers experienced chiropractors ready to take on new patients TODAY. Whether it is a problem that has just occurred today or if it has been going on for years, contact us for professional advice and treatment now.
Tel: 01330 824040 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web: banchorychiropractic.co.uk
- Kelsey JL. An epidemiological study of acute herniated lumbar intervertebral discs. Rheumatol Rehabil. 1975; 14: 144-59.
- Videman T, Nurminen M, Troup JDG. Lumbar spinal pathology in cadaveric material in relation to history of back pain, occupation, and physical loading. Spine. 1990; 15: 728-40.
- Vensson, Hans-Olof MD,PhD; Andersson, Gunnar B.J.MD,PhD. The Relationship of Low-Back Pain, Work History, Work Environment, and Stress: A Retrospective Cross-Sectional Study of 38- to 64-Year-Old Women.