Back / Lower Back
Are you suffering from any of the following symptoms which are often linked to back pain?
- Low back pain with or without buttock or leg pain?
- Numbness / tingling / pins and needles?
- Gluteal or buttock pain?
- Weakness / heaviness in the back or low back?
- Leg pain either above or below the knee?
Low back pain is by far the most common reason to consult a chiropractor. It is by far the most common reason why patients come to see us at Back to Health.
In the UK, 30% of people are suffering with back pain at any one time and up to 80% of the adult population will suffer an episode significant enough to seek medical advice at some time in their life.
The low back, also known as the lumbar spine, consists of 5 lumbar vertebrae separated by discs and the sacrum, a triangular bone which is joins the spine to the pelvis by very 2 large sacro-iliac joints. Between each vertebra, pairs of facet joints connect on each side of the spine and allow the back to twist bend and turn in different directions. Between each set of vertebrae, a nerve leaves the spine which travels down into the leg, creating the sciatic nerve.
Your Back to Health clinician will aim to identify the source of your problem, treat the cause of pain and advise how to best keep it from recurring. Often this will involve advice on exercise, lifestyle changes and adaptation of day to day activities. The treatment may take several weeks depending on how long the pain has been present. Back pain is often associated with several different conditions:
A very short guide to self-diagnosis!
- Sharp pain - Indicates inflammation. This can occur with tendons, bursas or indeed the joint itself
- Ache - Often originates from muscular problems, tightness or overuse
- Restriction - Can occur when the joint itself is involved as with osteoarthritis or can be restricted by pain from muscle and tendon problems
- Weakness - May be associated with pain or can be directly caused through nerve involvement
- Numbness and Tingling - Indicates nerve involvement. When the hand is involved, the nerves can be irritated anywhere from the neck to the wrist or hand itself
Conditions most commonly & successfully treated
- Sprain / strain - the most common injury to the low back. One common myth with acute low back pain is that you need to be doing something stressful for your back to ‘go’. This is seldom the case. More often, the back gives way doing ordinary, benign activities such as picking up the paper or post in the morning. This is usually the proverbial ‘straw which breaks the camel’s back’. In these situations, the back has been undergoing small, unnoticeable injury over a long period of time and finally goes into spasm as the level of joint irritation or damage exceeds the ability of the body to cope
- Sciatica - irritation fo the sciatic nerve which affects the deep tissue in the buttocks, down the inside of the thigh or the back of the calf. It is often associated with low back pain. It can produce pain, numbness and tingling and in some cases, weakness within the lower leg, ankle and foot muscles
- Disc herniation or "slipped disc" - the disc bulges ~(herniates) and irritates the nearby nerves, giving you leg or buttock pain (known as sciatica). If severe, this can cause acute leg pain accompanied with nerve symptoms including loss of reflex and weakness in the muscles of the leg and foot, as well as numbness and tingling. It is much less common than people think
- Facet joint irritation and strain - where the joints between the vertebra become inflamed or irritated, causing local pain. Symptoms are usually aggravated by straightening up and relieved by bending forwards. Where the tissue around them becomes inflamed or irritated, it can cause pain and restriction of the low back area, sometimes into the buttocks and tops of the legs
- Sacro-iliac joint strain or torsion - the joints between the tailbone (sacrum) and pelvis (ilium) can become torsional and inflamed leading to pain over the tailbone and into the backside and even into the leg. Often associated with functional and structural changes with the pelvis during pregnancy and after childbirth
- Piriformis syndrome - the sciatic nerve passes through the piriformis muscle in the backside and can be compressed as it does so. This is one of the common causes of sciatic symptoms
- Lumbar disc strain - injury to the disc may not be sufficient to cause herniation but can be worse in terms of pain. Disc pain is felt as acute, localised pain which can be aggravated by bending forwards
- Scoliosis - a twisting of the spine causing postural and muscular imbalances and related compensation. Again, not a common problem, as it involves the spine twisting in reaction to some of the vertebrae being angled or misshapen. This can exist from birth if genetic or secondary to trauma if a fracture results in the irregular healing of the vertebrae. Although this is a structural problem, there are many benefits to receiving chiropractic treatment for pain relief and improving joint, muscle and nerve function
Causes of back pain
The main causes for low back pain are muscular weakness and postural strain due to a variety of causes including:
- Being overweight
- Incorrect lifting
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Stress (both physical and mental)
- Sports injuries
- "Wear and tear"
and the list goes on!
Back pain may vary from a slight niggle to sharp debilitating pain. It can be quite localised or can affect every part of the back. Recent research by NICE has highlighted both the effectiveness and safety of chiropractic treatment for low back pain. GP guidelines on the management of acute low back pain also recommend spinal manipulation as a treatment option.
The chiropractor has not only alleviated my lower back discomfort, she was shown me the correct way to perform stretches & exercises to strengthen my back. All of this done in a friendly and relaxed environment
Lesley, Wrexham chiropractic patient
I thought that this would be my life from now on. I had beaten cancer twice and thought that chronic back pain was the price I had to pay. Once unable to move without pain killers, I can now manage without them and have a new lease of life
Wrexham patient 5146
Feeling much, much better after suffering from years of back pain. Did a 2.5 mile walk on holiday which I haven’t managed to do for years! Thank you Chris for your help
Jean, Mold patient
Did you know?
Your GP can refer you to chiropractors because they are regulated by the General Chiropractic Council in the same way as medical doctors are regulated by the General Medical Council. Sadly, you will still need to pay for your treatment as chiropractic care is not provided within the NHS in this area of the country. If you disagree with this, let your GP know!