Back pain is the second reason after the common cold for visits to the doctor: 80 % of the American public has back pain of sufficient intensity to seek care and treatment. Sciatica, pain shooting down the leg, is often related to back pain and is successfully treated with non-surgical and natural treatment.
Before any treatment can begin for your back and leg pain an accurate diagnosis and assessment are necessary. Muscles, ligaments, discs and even internal organs can all create back and leg pain. The caveat is to be careful with self-diagnosing your back pain and sciatica and seek the advice of a professional you can trust.
Essentially there are 4 common back conditions that cause sciatica and back pain:
- Deconditioning: Due to our sedentary lifestyle, our supporting muscles of the spine become weak and it only takes a simple movement like picking up a pencil or reaching behind you to “throw your back out.”
- Joint Imbalance: The spine has 24 bones (vertebrae) that connect through spinal joints. These joints are highly pain sensitive and are right next to the spinal nerves. Misaligned and inflamed joints can easily aggravate spinal nerves and cause back and sciatic pain.
- Disc Syndromes: the spinal discs separate the vertebrae and allow for shock absorption and motion. They can become swollen, inflamed, herniate (bulge out) or become thin (degenerate). Any of these disc conditions can lead to inflammation and pressure on the spinal nerves – again creating pain.
- Sacroiliac joint: The tailbone (sacrum) sits between the pelvic bones and forms the sacro-illiac joint. It must move freely to allow pain free walking, standing, and sitting. Misalignments, stiffness and inflammation of the sacroiliac joint is a common cause of pain.
- Arthritis: degenerative changes in the spinal joints and discs can also become inflamed and place pressure on the spinal nerves and spinal canal. Spinal stenosis can develop which can be a challenge to treat.
- Treatment for back pain and sciatica revolves around four key steps. Decrease the inflammation, restore normal joint motion, decompress disc syndromes, strengthen the stabilizing core muscles and lengthen tight muscles.
- Decrease inflammation: inflammation is often related to lifestyle and diet The solution: be sure to get adequate sleep, drink a lot of water, eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, and avoid the sweets and sugary treats. Nutritional supplements that drive you to an anti-inflammatory state include fish oil, ginger, curcumin, boswelia, rosemary, and systemic enzymes.
- Restore joint motion and muscle compliance: Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy (adjustments ) are the gold standard here. Research has documented that Chiropractic is effective in the treatment of back pain with or without sciatica. Today’s modern doctor of chiropractic will also incorporate exercises and physical modalities such as traction to assist in breaking muscle spasm and restoring muscle balance.
- Lifestyle modification: Physical, mental, and biochemical stress are an underlying cause of back and leg pain. Addressing each is important in your recovery.
- Exercise: exercises are needed to loosen tight muscles and stiff joints as well as to strengthen weak muscles. For a tear sheet of my top back exercises email the office and ask to subscribe to our home exercise program. To understand which exercises are best for your back pain and sciatica Click Here…….
Managing your back pain and sciatica will take time, money and a commitment to participate in your health recovery. The exciting news it that according to Optum Health (a division of United Healthcare) patients who saw a Chiropractic Doctor first for back pain had a cost savings of almost $1,000.00 per episode. Not only is Chiropractic effective and safe for back and leg pain, it saves money when your go to the Chiropractic doctor first.
Dr. Donald DeFabio is a dual board certified Chiropractic Physician in Berkeley Heights, NJ and author of Health Management: The DeFabio Difference. He is the Director of DeFabio Spine and Sports Rehab, LLC where Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Nutrition, and Personal Training are integrated for a comprehensive approach to your health management. The office may be reached at DeFabioChiropractic@gmail.com or www.DeFabioChiropractic.com.
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