Category Archives for "low back pain"
Arthritis Research UK funded a study that found chronic pain is far more prevalent than anyone thought (unless you happen to be a pain relief specialist like little old me). Over 50% of the adult population is suffering.
While mild chronic pain can be ‘lived with’, up to 14.3% have moderate or ‘severely disabling’ pain. That means more than 1 in 10 people have their life negatively affected, and often in more than one way.
First off, there is the immobility, meaning less enjoyment of once pleasurable activities and hobbies and even inability to do everyday things like getting your socks and shoes on.
Next up is the emotional toll. For some the mental/emotional strain is so great they consider suicide.
Then there are the side effects of medication. There is no such thing as a safe pain killer or anti-inflammatory drug. Some can prove fatal with just one dose, but all have long term effects either on the liver, kidneys, brain, bowel, stomach, immune system or joints. Medication leads to side effects and more medication and often a shorter life. It is a common occurrence that when elderly patients are hospitalised with an ‘unknown illness’ it is found to be the side effects to the 4 or 5 drugs they are on that proves to be more fatal than the actual conditions they are being treated for.
What is the answer? Where did all this pain come from?
What the study did not look into was what is causing all this pain and disability and what the way forward may be. This is where my 20 years of experience and continued research may shed some answers.
Many of the chronic pain conditions suffered by our aging population actually have their route causes in earlier life – even childhood and child birth.
The development of poor posture is a big one, and this really starts at the age of 5 when we go to school and get told to ‘sit still’. Our spine, our nervous system and our bodies are NOT meant to be still at 5. In order to fully develop a healthy brain and nervous system, and a good upright posture, you need to be fully mobile.
This is why we offer free annual posture checks for our patients children from age 3 – 10, and why we would love to perform posture checks in nearby primary schools.
A second huge, under diagnosed cause of chronic pain is toxic accumulation. This again starts in childhood. Even the safest pain killer – paracetamol – given to children as Calpol, can cause lifelong health issues with as little as one dose! Asthma, eczema, kidney problems, liver toxicity and increased diabetes have all been linked with levels of paracetamol currently thought safe in Calpol.
I have written about the dangers of Calpol in the past, and have more extensive articles on toxicity planned. The toxic cause I’d like to highlight today is ‘polypharmacy’ – the use or 2 or more drugs in a single patient.
Too many people are mistakenly being prescribed more drugs than they need. 66% of people suffer bad reactions, some so severe that even properly prescribed medicine is a leading, preventable cause of death in the UK. 40% of the elderly are actually given the WRONG prescription. Ideally you should have regular full reviews with your GP. Next best is the pharmacy that dispenses the drugs. Often GP’s and pharmacists are too busy to fully check prescriptions, so we offer our local community this free service. We can give you guidance so when you next see your GP things can be dealt with quickly.
To make use of our Posture Checks for Children, or our Prescription Review service, call us on 01707 662 704.
The International Posture Association recommends everyone should have yearly posture checks from the age of 6. Why?
It is because poor posture has a devastating effect on your health – especially forward head posture. Does this look like you, or someone you know?
Over 100 years ago two doctors at Harvard Medical School performed hundreds of autopsies and determined 99% of all disease was down to ‘bad posture’ putting undue mechanical pressures on muscles, joints, internal organs and blood vessels.
20 years later, another American doctor, Henry Winsor, was more specific, finding a 96% correlation between minor curvatures of the spine and diseases of the internal organs.
More recent research has confirmed these early findings, that poor posture is related to disease and a shorter life.
Posture affects and moderates every physiologic function from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.
-American Journal of Pain Management 1994, 4:36-39
Forward head posture leads to long term muscle strain, disc herniations, arthritis, and pinched nerves.
-Mayo Clinic, Nov 3rd, 2000
The more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy is available for healing, metabolism, and thought.
-Roger Sperry, Ph.D. (Noble Prize in Physiology)
Some poor posture relates to birth injuries, so although the International Posture Association recommends checks on posture form the age of 6, some would argue it is worth having spines checked from birth.
If you are nearby then you can take advantage of our free posture screening. Call the clinic on 01707 662 704 and we will fit you in for a 15 minute check, in which we will give you the most up to date advice specific to your postural strains.
If you are not local, then this may be for you…
For many years I had planned to create my own exercise program for patients, but I have recently found someone else has already done a great job.
Fill in your details below to get access, and I will send you my ‘Good Posture Report’ for free, and keep you updated with the latest findings and tips to improve your health.
Remember to check your email.
If you have been struggling with pain then these two videos should help you come to an understanding of what is going on, and give you some hope.
If you think starting with some basic supplements is all you need then see our products pages Pain Relief Supplements
With all exercises make sure you follow the instructions, and if you are in any doubt stop them. If you do have severe sciatic pain then please consult a health care professional before trying any exercise.
For more information on Sciatica treatment and diagnosis:
Effective Sciatica Treatment Hertfordshire
Sciatica Diagnosis and Help Hertfordshire and Finchley
Sciatica Treatment Hatfield – this is just an informational video
You know you are in the right place for your Sciatica when you get a full examination and a proper diagnosis. You may find my previous blog post helpful – Sciatica Diagnosis
Depending on the cause of your sciatica you may fiend different therapists, or combinations of therapists work. Such as chiropractic or osteopathy combined with acupuncture.
Very often the cause of your back, hip and leg pain will have multiple factors, including sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits, so make sure whoever you see addresses not just your immediate pain, but your general lifestyle too.
One of the most common complaints we see as chiropractors is sciatica. This is because so many people have been told, or think they have it. The truth about sciatica is more complicated than just knowing what to call it though.
Sciatica, in lay terms, can mean anything form pain in the back or buttocks, to sharp shooting pain all the way down the leg into the foot. There are many different causes of these pains though, some of which are due to problems with the sciatic nerve, and some which are not.
One cause of sciatic pain is when the nerve is squeezed by the piriformis muscle. This cause of sciatica is therefore diagnosed as piriformis syndrome.
The most common cause of sciatic pains is a disc bulge in the lumber spine compressing one of the nerve roots.
There are many causes of back and leg pain that get diagnosed as sciatica such as facet joint problems and sacroiliac joint syndrome.
The most important thing is to get examined by an expert!
For more articles on low back pain – Low back pain
The sacroiliac joints are a common cause of low back pain, mainly because of our sedentary life styles. The best way to avoid sacroiliac joint problems is to avoid sitting and spend plenty of time walking. I know this is easier said than done!
If you do suffer low back pain, then there are hundreds of exercises that may help, so it is important to get a diagnosis before trying any. If you know you have sacroiliac joint problems it is also useful to know if you have unstable (or hypermobile) joints, or stiff ones.
Here are a few exercises to try:
For more information on sacroiliac joints: A common cause of low back pain
Sacroiliac joint pain, often labelled low back, pelvic, or even hip pain by the lay person is possibly the most common pain in the body.
Situated to either side of the base of the spine (see diagram) the sacroiliac joints (often shortened to SI joints) hold the pelvis together and provide a firm foundation for the spinal column. The joints are held together by thick ligaments that encapsulate the whole joint – so it is possible to sprain both the back and front portions, either separately or together.
At the beginning of the twentieth century the sacroiliac joints were thought to be the cause of most low back pain. Then with the discovery of ‘slipped’ discs the diagnosis of sacroiliac sprains became unfashionable. In the eighties and nineties the use of MRI revealed many people to have bulging discs yet no symptoms, as well as people with all the symptoms attributed to a bulging disc – but no evidence on MRI. Now the SI joints seem to be recognised once again.
Please watch the videos for more information on sacroiliac joint pain, and low back pain exercises.
To view some exercises to relieve sacroiliac joint pain go to the next post – Back Pain Exercises
Acupuncture also works well with persistent and repeated back pain problems in conjunction with more neurologically based therapies like chiropractic.Continue reading