While the common cold is oftentimes the number one reason why people miss work, the second most common reason is low back pain. Low back pain affects 80% of Americans at some point in their lifetime and happens to be the reason why many individuals under the age of 45 receive disability. Given these statistics, it is safe to say that you or someone you know may be struggling with low back pain.
There are different causes of low back pain. Less than 1% of low back pain is caused by serious conditions such as fracture, cancer, or infection. The overwhelming cause of low back pain is from mechanical stress to the spine, which can begin with sprains/strains to the muscles and ligaments. These sprains/strains can lead to mild to severe pain but can resolve within a few weeks with rest. However, even if the pain dissipates, it doesn’t necessarily mean the problem is resolved. Over time, wear and tear type injuries can progress to arthritis and/or stenosis (narrowing of the space where the nerves exit the spine). In some instances, mechanical stress to the spine can lead to a ruptured disc. The disc is a gel-like substance that acts as a cushion between the bones in the spine and a spacer for the nerves. Symptoms of a ruptured disc can include pain, tingling, weakness, or loss of sensation from the back down to the buttocks, leg, or foot. This is often characterized as sciatica or radiculopathy. This can be further complicated by the factors listed below:
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Weak Core
- Poor Posture
- Prolonged Sitting
- Improper Lifting
These factors are important to address. However, it is also essential to address any misalignment that could lead to the conditions mentioned earlier. Imagine the tires on your car. When the alignment is off, the tires wear out faster. This is analogous to the spine; except we cannot replace our spine! Therefore, it is critical the root cause of low back pain is corrected by aligning the spine. NUCCA is a unique and lasting approach that precisely aligns the head to the rest of the spine without any twisting, popping, or cracking. You may be wondering how aligning the head and neck can affect the low back. When the head and neck misalign, a phenomenon called your righting reflex will engage.
The body will follow where the head goes. Most of our postural sensors are in the upper neck. If the brain senses the head and neck are misaligned and there is stress near the brainstem, it will compensate by tightening muscles in the spine. This can cause head tilt, uneven hips or shoulders, and the appearance of one leg being shorter than the other. The upper neck is unique and can be extremely susceptible to injury because there is not a disc between the skull and the top two bones of the neck called the Atlas and Axis. These top two bones are only held together by small muscles and ligaments making it the weakest area of our spine that is most susceptible to misalignment. Most trauma or accidents to the spine will result in injury to the upper neck. Until the misalignment in the upper neck is corrected, the body will continue to compensate resulting in misalignment of the entire spine.
In our office, we do a detailed postural assessment, range of motion, necessary neurological/orthopedic tests to determine if your low back pain is being caused by a misalignment of the upper neck. We then proceed in taking detailed digital X-Rays to determine the exact misalignment and how to precisely correct it. Once this is achieved, stress will be taken off the entire spine. For more information or to schedule a consult, please call our office at 314-332-1871.