The research states that 60% of all back pain is because of the intervertebral discs. These are spongy shock absorbers that sit between each of the vertebra.
So it makes sense that we should determine if we have a disc problem first.
A disc problem often starts with a minor ache in the low back, the buttocks or the leg. It’s generally worse when you first get up to the point where it takes a little while to straighten up and then is really achy at the end of the day.
With a disc problem the other symptoms that are most common are aching or crampy legs (particularly the calves), tingling in the leg and constipation or an increase in frequency of urination.
The good news! Well sort of…
The good news is that the majority of low back pain eases off over 4 to 6 weeks. So you’re feeling better-GREAT!
Unfortunately, you have an 80% chance of having another episode in the next 12 months if nothing is done and generally it will be worse.
The reason is we now know that the majority of low back pain is due to your brain losing its intimate control over how the spine moves.
It’s like you go out and drive your old car after being in a new one for a while and you realise you can turn the wheel 15 degrees in either direction and the wheels don’t actually turn! That’s what’s called an enlarged neutral zone.
So what we need is to do a wheel alignment, check the bearings and the steering column (your brain).
Can’t I just go to the gym and work on my core?
You can definitely do that and it will help somewhat.
The problem is if your brain is not getting the messages the way it should to certain muscles and organs if then go and build these muscles up the strong ones will increase in strength more and this will lead to more imbalance over time.
What about physio or massage?
These can definitely help and I’m often referring people for physio or massage. These are best if you have chronic muscle spasm that has inflamed the lining around the muscles or created tiny tears in the muscle.
The underlying reason these don’t heal on there own is that chronic pain (more than 4 weeks) increases your bodies natural inflammatory response. So massage is great to improve the blood supply and stretching from a physio is helpful but it is a bit of a band aid for the short term all be it a great one when you need it.
The solution is to upgrade your brain. Imagine having the latest apple iphone software and using it on your iphone 3. It wouldn’t work right. So we need to upgrade your software so it has better control, faster feedback and enough memory to run things day to day while being able to repair things in the background so you are actually getting healthier.
We do this with specific brain based exercises, improving the function of your spine and nervous system while making sure your nutrition and rest are helping you to heal at a better rate.
Start with Dead Bug exercises and gentle cross crawl exercises lying on your stomach. McKenzie exercises are great if you are getting pain into your legs.
Your chiropractic adjustments get the nerves firing more than anything else which decreases pain, increases blood flow to the area and allows your brain to function at a higher level.
Once your nervous system is working better then you get much better results from physio, massage and diet changes.
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