Do you have pain in your lower back?

13 Mar 2024

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Are you in pain?

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Lower back pain is experienced by at least 50 million people each year in the United States alone. My own severe back pain when I was a teenager is what led me into this field.


Back pain is often a debilitating, terrible experience. But it can also be just annoying and limiting. I’ve treated hundreds of clients who’ve been in back pain for many years. The greatest satisfaction comes when those clients are no longer in pain.


There is a common myth that most chronic pain comes from injured muscles. They don’t. Muscles get injured, but they have great blood circulation and heal quickly.  If you injure a lower back muscle, you will likely get better overnight or in a few days.


Another myth is that most back pain involves a slipped disc. A herniated disc in the spine that compresses a nerve is not that common. They represent a small percentage of back pain.


Of course, it’s a serious injury and requires a physician to diagnose the problem. Disc injuries usually resolve by themselves in about 12 months, but more severe disc problems may require surgery.


Injured ligaments are the most likely culprits in lower back pain. The secret to treating this type of pain is finding the ligaments that are injured and knowing how to treat them.


Ligaments are structures that hold your bones together. There are many ligaments in the lower back, but a few of them are the most common causes of lower back pain. This drawing shows the sacroiliac ligaments in the center.


This is a close-up of the sacroiliac ligaments. They attach the large triangular bone, called the sacrum, at the bottom of your spine to your pelvis. The most common lower back injury is sacroiliac ligament sprains.


A second commonly injured ligament in the lower back is the iliolumbar ligament, which holds your lower spine to the top of your pelvis. A third is the sacrotuberous, and the fourth is the sacrospinous ligament, which attaches to the bottom of the sacrum to the pelvis.


In the majority of cases, a series of simple physical tests tell you what’s injured. For example, pain on this back extension test gives you information about certain ligaments in the lower back.


This one is testing a particular nerve.  And this one looks at the amount of flexibility in the hamstring and the lower back. Most lower back pain will disappear if you find out what’s causing it and get it treated.


Injuries to these ligaments cause chronic pain in the lower back and can also cause pain down one or both legs. This is because of a phenomenon called referred pain. This can be triggered by sitting, standing, lifting, or all three.


If you have discomfort or pain when bending forward or backward or to the side, you likely have a ligament injury. Treatment involves locating, then breaking up the scar tissue in the injured ligaments followed by exercises to prevent the scar tissue from returning.


The secret of successfully treating chronic pain problems is identifying the exact source of the pain and then correctly matching the appropriate treatment required to eliminate it. If you have lower back pain, I can likely help you.