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By Nicholas DiSabatino DC QME
Most anyone that has suffered from back pain can remember the first time it happened. Maybe you were walking your dog, and it ran towards another frenzied canine; you were the innocent bystander in the scuffle. Your back was suddenly twisted and contorted, with sharp unrelenting pain, the breath was knocked out of you, and you could barely walk a step. Or, you simply took groceries from your car when the onset occurred. Or, perhaps you just woke up with severe unrelenting back pain. You had to work that day it happened, but now you are out of commission. You get on the internet to search for answers to what happened, and how to get relief. How long will this last? Will it get worse? What can I do? What will make it worse? What medicine will help it?
Well, to answer these questions, I will admit, I am biased. As a chiropractor in Mission Valley San Diego, I have dealt with so many hundreds of low-back cases over the years, and seen them resolve with proper treatment, I have therefore of course formed my own professional opinions on what needs to be done to get rid of back pain once and for all. Cox flexion distraction is a well known, and reliable method of treatment for chronic low back pain. It is also important to know the "nuts and bolts" of what may be causing your back pain. After all, you need to know the cause, before you find a solution.
Back pain, and in this article I use the term as synonymous with low back pain, like most other conditions that affect the human body, first needs to be roughly categorized as congenital, or environmental. In truth, most sufferers have some combination of both. The most common congenital form of back pain is known as a spondylolisthesis (referred to as a "spondy" by chiropractors). This form of low-back pain is very common, (about 3% of population),and involves a actual break, or fracture, in the vertebra, usually at L5, the very bottom lumbar vertebra in the back. It most commonly occurs in teenagers, for example, those doing high-school sports, and may go unnoticed for several years or more. Certain individuals are just a more susceptible for reasons not fully understood, to these injuries. If you have a re-occurring mild to moderate back pain of several several years duration, with occasional flare-ups that are mildly debilitating, this is a sign of a spondylolisthesis. You may also have leg tightening in the back leg muscles. Research supports the use of chiropractic therapy for most forms of low-back pain including spondylolisthesis, (webmd), but again, it really depends on the underlying cause. Most chiropractic techniques avoid direct forceful adjustments to the site of spondylolisthesis, as attempting to set a bone back in place in this situation will not be able to correct the bone breakage that is causing the slippage and may just irritate the patient.
(The graphic above shows the anatomy of a spondylolisthesis. In technical terms, it is a fracture in the pars inticularis. What this means is that a small part of the vertebra bone that joins with the one above it becomes fractured. This can cause a shifting posteriorly, or rear-ward, as in the illustration above.)
For sudden onset of low back pain, there can be many causes, but the most immediate body response is usually inflammatory. For most occurrences therefore, ice application to the site of pain should be the first thing you do at home. The soft gel types of ice packs are the ones I prefer. They are soft, and mold to the body contour; whereas a block of ice does not mold well. Chiropractic students were taught early on that most people have something in their freezer that can be used for ice application, like a back of frozen peas. I know this is not glamorous, but hey, it works fine, and you can can serve it with dinner later, and get those muscle building and body healing vitamins and minerals that you need.