Your low back is very much reliant on its surrounding muscles and ligaments for support. "Sprains" and "strains" are a direct result of these tissues being stretched too hard or too far, much in the same way that a rope frays when it is stretched beyond its normal capacity.
The term "sprain" means that the tough, durable ligaments that support bones have been damaged, while a "strain" refers to when your muscles or tendons that move your trunk have been partially torn.
Lumbar sprains and strains can often result from sudden or forceful movements like a fall, twist, lift, push, pull, direct blow, or quickly straightening up from a seated, crouched, or bent position. Most commonly, sprains and strains are not the result of any single event, but rather from repeated overloading.
The spine is very good at being able to manage small isolated stressors, but repetitive challenges often can lead to injury in much the same way that constantly bending a piece of copper wire will cause it to break. Examples of stress that can cause lower back pain include bad postures, sedentary lifestyles, poor-fitting workstations, repetitive movements, improper lifting, or being overweight.
Rest may relieve your symptoms in some cases but often leads to stiffness. The pain is generally localized in your lower back but can also spread towards your hips or thighs. You should notify your doctor if your pain extends beyond your knee, or if you have weakness in your lower extremities or a fever.
This process can lead to an ongoing cycle of pain and even arthritis. Patients who elect to forego treatment and "just deal with it" are known to develop chronic low back pain in 60% of cases. It is imperative to seek early and appropriate treatment like the type we provide.
Your lower back is meant to have a gentle backward (lordotic) curve. A typical sitting posture will straigten or even reverse this curve. This straightening can become permanent over time. When this happens, your muscles become over-stretched, your discs compress, and joints become strained. This misalignment also makes your muscles work harder and this makes you more prone to strains.
Each segment of your healthy spine is also meant to move a specific amount. If it stops moving, which it often does, the joint above or below it will begin to dry out and fuse. If allowed to progress for years, this process will result in a very common form of bone deformity called "osteoarthritis."
Luckily this is preventable by adding chiropractic care to your healthy lifestyle. Stretching and exercise are helpful to restore movement and to some degree, alignment. Unfortunately, stretches and exercises are not able to isolate individual joints, leaving your lumbar spine vulnerable to osteoarthritis in the future.
Regular chiropractic care (about once per month) restores normal movement to each specific joint and can help prevent problems from occuring. In addition, since chiropractic improves nerve flow and coordination, muscle tightness often disappears with just the adjustments.
A chiropractor trained in Active Release Techniques (ART) is also able to identify and treat specific muscles that are causing your pain, sometimes providing immediate relief in just one visit.
Laser Therapy can also be used in your care program to decrease pain and speed up the healing process.