Regarding manipulation for low back pain, a well known and highly respected Washington, DC area physician, Dr. Gabe Mirkin, wrote in the spring of 2009 “A lead article in the New England Journal of Medicine [NEJM] showed that spinal manipulation is at least as effective in controlling low-back pain as the standard medical treatments of ultrasound, anti-inflammatory drugs, hot or cold packs, use of a corset or transcutaneous nerve stimulation. I have always recommended deep massage and manipulation for low-back pain, for pain relief, not as a cure”. He then went on to write “Many medical doctors recommend cortisone injections when the evidence is that the most they can offer is temporary pain relief. It is not a cure. Surgery is specific for a limited number of cases of low-back pain and has a high failure rate. The NEJM article reinforced my belief that deep massage and [chiropractic] manipulation can help relieve some cases of severe low-back pain”.
Back pain varies widely and often the cause cannot be pinpointed. For many people it lasts only a few weeks and doesn’t respond to any type of treatment and eventually seems to self-correct. But for many others the pain becomes chronic and sometimes crippling. Listed below are some common-sense measures that may help you to prevent that health catastrophe from happening.
Causes, prevention and treatment
The causes of back pain are potentially many – poor posture, extended sitting or driving without stretch breaks, overextending, stretching or bending the wrong way or too suddenly, lifting a too heavy object or lifting even something light improperly, heredity, overweight and of course trauma from a car accident, a sports injury or even a simple fall. Despite the fact that back pain is the leading cause (50%) of work place absences and doctor’s visits each year, most people continue to suffer in relative silence while temporarily quelling their pain with pills, taking periodic time off or experimenting for short periods with various back pain relief exercise. Here are a few tips on how you can prevent or at least minimize backaches.
Posture is the way you sit and stand and it has a critical effect on your back. While standing, you should balance your weight equally on both feet. Your legs and back should be straight and head should face forward. While sitting, your back should be supported. You should sit straight, with your knees and hips level and feet flat on the floor. If need be, you could use a small cushion or a rolled-up towel to give your lower back ample support.
While driving, support your lower back as you would while merely sitting. Position your wing mirrors in such a way that you don’t have to twist to look at them. On long drives, take breaks often and stretch your legs and back. These breaks not only help your back, but also help avoid fatigue.
Your choice of mattress is critical to a healthy back. It should be medium firm for most people and should support your body without sagging and keep your spine straight. If you have a very soft mattress, you could place a firm board underneath. If you sleep on your side, then using a small pillow between your knees will help you. If you have a very bad backache and spasms, then you could try sleeping on your back with your lower legs resting on a few pillows.
Lifting objects correctly is also very important. Never stoop or squat while picking up anything. Carry as much weight as you can comfortably, and balance the weight evenly on both sides of your body. Try not to twist your back or lean sideways. And remember, if you want to move something heavy, then it is always better to push than pull.
Exercise is essential for preventing backaches. It can also help reduce the back pain that you already might have. Walking and swimming help in strengthening the back muscles without straining them. Yoga and Pilates help to keep the spine flexible and the back muscles strong. If you have a chronic backache, then you should consult your physician before starting any form of exercise.
The successful chiropractic treatment of cervical and lumbar back pain can and often does encompass as many avenues, either singly or in multiple combinations, as there are reasons that cause back pain. The reasons and the treatments are concisely described throughout this site. Rest assured that Dr. Alex and his staff have the experience, the expertise and the enthusiasm to treat you and your pain with the care and attention you deserve.