Your Chiropractor Explains: Low Back & Chiropractic Manipulation – How Does it Work?

Your Chiropractor Explains: Low Back & Chiropractic Manipulation - How Does it Work?

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Low back pain (LBP) MY TOP 3 CAUSES OF LOW BACK PAIN….THAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT is such a common problem that if you haven't suffered from it yet, you probably will eventually. Here are a few facts to consider:

  1. LBP affects men and women equally;
  2. It is most common between ages 30-50;
  3. Sedentary (non-active) lifestyles contribute a lot to causation;
  4. Too much or too little exercise can result in LBP;
  5. A BMI around 25 is "ideal" for weight management, which helps prevent LBP;
  6. Causes of LBP include lifestyle (activity level), genetics - including, but not limited to, weight and osteoarthritis;
  7. Occupation;
  8. Exercise habits and the list can go on and on.

Let's next look at how an adjustment is done…see the video above!

When spinal manipulation is performed in the low-back region, the patient is often placed in a side-lying position with the upper leg flexed towards the chest and the bottom leg kept straight. The bottom shoulder is pulled forwards and the upper shoulder is rotated backward at the same time the low back area receives that the manipulation is rotated forwards. I put a full video demonstration of this procedure in the video at the bottom of this page.

This produces a twisting type of motion that is well within the normal range of joint motion. When the adjustment is made, a "high velocity" (or quick), "low amplitude" (a short distance of movement) thrust is delivered often resulting in "cavitation" (the crack or, release of gases). Chiropractors are trained in this procedure and can speak with you more about this as a treatment option if you are experiencing low back pain.

What are the popping and cracking? Your spine is a series of moveable joints. Those spinal joints can move, lock, and fixate out of their normal position. When this happens, pressure and gas build up in the spine causing pain, headaches, back pain, muscle tightness, stiffness, spasm, and sometimes some nerve irritation.

Chiropractors remobilize these spinal joints and realign them. When that happens, oftentimes, there will be an audible pop or a cracking sound. Quite simply what that sound is, is gas being released from the joints. It's a combination of oxygen and CO2, and the joints sliding back into their normal position. I wrote I prior blog post explaining the "cracking sounds" What Is The Cracking?

So, WHY do we do this?

Most studies show that when there is back pain, there is inflammation. In fact, inflammation is found in most disease processes that occur both within and outside the musculoskeletal system. We know that when we control inflammation, the pain usually subsides. That is why the use of "PRICE" (Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) works well for most muscle/joint pain conditions.

We have also learned it is possible that IF we can avoid cortisone and non-steroidal drugs (like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.), tissues may heal quicker and better.

But what does spinal manipulation DO in reference to inflammation?

Different things occur physiologically during a spinal adjustment or manipulation. We know that the mechanical receptors located in muscles, muscle tendons, ligaments, and joint capsules are stimulated and this results in muscle relaxation (reduced spasm or tightness), increased measurable range of motion, and a decrease in pain. A recent study also reported that inflammatory markers (CRP and interleukin-6) measured in a blood test, NORMALIZED after a series of nine chiropractic low back manipulations! So, NOT ONLY do spinal adjustments give immediate improvements in pain, flexibility, and muscle relaxation, they also REDUCE INFLAMMATION!

So, let's review what manipulation does for your low back pain

  1. Pain reduction;
  2. Improved flexibility - now you can put on your socks with less pain and strain;
  3. Improved functions and activities of daily living like sitting more comfortably, getting in or out of your car, bending over to feed the cat, etc.;
  4. Improved sleep quality; and
  5. Faster healing time by actually reducing the inflammatory markers in the blood! If you have LBP, PLEASE don't delay - make that appointment TODAY!
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Carolina ChiroCare and Rehab

1207 Ridge Rd
Raleigh, NC 27607

(919) 351-8368
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