Chronic Pain and Injury to the Low Lumbar Spine

By April 20, 2019Health

Chronic low back pain and injury to the lumbar spine are the two leading complaints from our clients.  In most cases our clients have lived with these problems for years without relief, simply accepting that this is going to be ‘the norm’ forever.  Pain medications, constant agony and discomfort, restless sleep, and limitations to normal activities, thus weight gain and other snowballing issues as a result.

 

We don’t address the injury or pain first. The problem is not the problem.  The problem is your attitude about the problem.

 

If you think this is just ‘the norm’ and something you have to live with, and you accept that you’re locked into a life full of limitations, then you are part of the problem.  So we need to work on that first.  

 

Pain is your body’s cry for help.  It is a signal that something is wrong.  Silencing it with medications does not fix the problem because pain is not the problem.  Taking pain medications, or even having surgery at the site of pain does not address the issue causing the pain or injury, therefore you may feel temporary relief but you’re still limited to what you can do and your chances of reinjury, new injuries and/or the pain returning are about 80-100%.

 

It’s like the “CHECK ENGINE” light in your car.  If it’s on, you don’t take it to the auto shop and ask them deactivate the malfunction indicator light so you don’t have to see it anymore… right? No, I’m assuming you’re like any other responsible car owner and you take it in to have its e n g i n e  c h e c k e d.

 

The same goes for chronic pain, injury or re-injury cases.  We do not ‘treat’ the pain. We find the cause of pain and injury, and then we fix that so it does not re-occur.  In our clinical practice, these are the most common leading causes for low back pain and/or injury to the lumbar spine:

 

  • Postural dysfunction
    • Muscle imbalance – depending on which postural dysfunction a client presents, there will always be an imbalance of muscle between any/all planes of the body. This creates instability on one side, and favor to another.
    • Muscle weakness – sedentary lifestyles or those who perform cardio/ endurance activities only are missing the boat on strength training benefits.  Without strength, your spine is not supported. Especially in the muscles of the trunk and core.
  • Breathing mechanics
    • Circulation –  most clients are not breathing correctly and this could be a case of “what came first: the chicken or the egg?” but inevitably it doesn’t matter because if you present shallow breathing, then you are not getting full circulation to the lower half of your body.  This means that the cells in the tissues of the lower lumbar are not receiving oxygen, which means the tissue cannot be repaired.
    • Posture – breathing affects your posture, and shallow breathing draws the body inward leading to forward head and upper cross syndrome, which leads to muscle weakness and imbalance. (see postural dysfunction)
  • Painkillers and antidepressants
    • Yes, ironically we have traced most back pain issues to these medications. Why?  Because their leading side effect is constipation, which leads to improper breathing mechanics (see above), which takes you back to postural dysfunction (see above), which promotes further instability, pain, and injury risk.
  • Impatience
    • Athletes or parents of athletes who have presented us with cases of re injury and limitations to perform their sport have something in common about 75% of the time; no patience. They did not:
      • allow enough time to recover
      • do the corrective stretches and exercises
      • limit their performance in practices when in pain

 

Even in a review of the top 100 studies on lumbar spine surgery, the conclusion was this:
Surgery for various conditions in the lumbar spine is common. Despite its prevalence, our knowledge of the underlying pathological mechanisms remains limited and the indications for surgical treatment remain controversial in many areas. Basic science and clinical research remain paramount in the understanding and advancement of the field of lumbar spine.”

 

Even the doctors and scientists will agree that there is a need in understanding the causes leading to spinal surgery, and therapies for prevention.

 

If you need surgery, then get the surgery.  But if you haven’t gotten that far yet, don’t allow yourself to.  And if you have had the surgery, don’t sign up for another one or submit your life to popping pain pills and missing out on activities that keep you healthy and fit.

 

Resources:

Efficacy of classification-based cognitive functional therapy in patients with non-specific chronic low back pain: A randomized controlled trial

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/j.1532-2149.2012.00252.x/full

 

Opioids Compared With Placebo or Other Treatments for Chronic Low Back Pain: An Update of the Cochrane Review

http://journals.lww.com/spinejournal/Abstract/2014/04010/Opioids_Compared_With_Placebo_or_Other_Treatments.10.aspx

 

The Top 100 Studies on Low Lumbar Spine Surgery

http://journals.lww.com/spinejournal/Fulltext/2015/05150/The_Top_100_Classic_Papers_in_Lumbar_Spine_Surgery.15.aspx

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