Low back pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal pain conditions in the United States. Interestingly, thousands upon thousands of people are disabled due to some low back condition that causes pain. And it wreaks havoc on their physical, social, emotional, and economic welfare. Many are looking for low back pain treatments to find relief.
At some point in almost everyone’s life, they will experience low back pain to some degree. And those who are fortunate enough not to suffer from low back pain themselves are certain to know someone else who has endured the pain.
There are a variety of treatments for low back pain. But despite many available remedies, relief for low back pain is frequently only temporary. And it can be challenging too!
We see many people in our office who have come to us after trying numerous treatments that left their back pain unresolved. It’s not uncommon for patients to tell us they have received weeks, months, and years of therapy, taken various over-the-counter medications, received corticosteroid injections, or maybe even tried surgery. But after all of that, the pain persists. And unfortunately, many low back surgeries do not relieve the pain or fix the problem. Plus, they might even result in a recommendation for another surgery!
So why do low back pain sufferers have a difficult time finding relief? Unrelieved back pain poses some challenges to the medical community. That’s because, very often, many of the common treatments only attempt to cover up rather than actually repair the problem.
Think about it! Do pain medications repair the problem? No! They might reduce the pain. But they don’t actually repair anything. Pain medications aren’t taken because the person has an Advil or Aspirin deficiency, right?!
And in the same way, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) might provide some short-term benefit. But in the long run, they do not result in repair of the underlying problem.
Chiropractors are very good at helping dysfunctional backs and can provide back pain relief. But when doctors must see patients multiple times a week for months on end, and adjustments simply do not hold, one must then think outside the box. The problem may be ligamentous. Or it may have to do with tendon instability. The cause needs to be found. And then, the physician should direct the treatment at fixing the root of the problem.
Imaging tools are helpful at times. But even though they are highly accessible, their usage has not caused the rates of back pain to go down. Ongoing back pain that will not resolve very often originates from injury to ligaments (and sometimes tendons). These soft tissue structures surround the spine, sacrum, and even the sacroiliac joint in the low back. And when injured, it will cause the spine to become unstable. This is called spinal instability.
Most low back pain is a chronic condition due to years and years of working, playing sports, hiking, and working out. And even daily normal daily activities with repeated walking and sitting can cause the ligaments and other supporting structures to weaken.
Original injuries that can lead to low back pain due to spinal instability most often occur with sudden movements and poor body mechanics or trauma during a sports activity, fall, or motor vehicle accident. Of course, diseases such as infections, endometriosis, fibroids, and cancer can also cause low back pain and need to be ruled out.
An example of poor body mechanics that may injure spinal ligaments might include instances when an individual bends over and twists. The knees are also often locked during this time, stretching the ligaments too much and making them vulnerable to injury. When this occurs, sufferers can try therapies for relief of muscle pain in the low back. But if the pain persists for a prolonged period and the low back continues to “give out,” there is a good chance injured ligaments are the problem.
Massage and physical therapy are beneficial but, unfortunately, cannot repair ligament damage. The muscles will continue to spasm because they are overcompensating due to the ligament injury that has left the spine unstable. Until the root cause is treated, the spinal instability will continue. That’s because the ligaments are designed to keep the spine in the correct place and in proper alignment. But now they are too loose from injury. This is where Regenerative Orthopedics comes in! Ligament damage and injury are conditions this therapy very effectively resolves and repairs.
Ligaments are structures joining bone to bone. And in the low back or lumbar spine, they are the structures that connect adjacent vertebrae and facet joints. And the facets, two on each of five lumbar vertebrae, actually have a capsule surrounding them made of ligaments. Ligaments serve as some of the primary stabilizing structures of the spinal column. They allow for adequate motion while restricting excessive motion. So they protect the spinal column and the nerve roots as they exit the spine.
We need the low back or lumbar spine to maintain an upright posture, bend, turn and sit. These positions and activities place quite a bit of stress on the low back and the soft tissue structures like the ligaments. The function of the ligaments involves the transfer of all of the various loads that occur from bone to bone as they manage the forces placed on the spine. Normally, they do a great job.
But when loads and forces exceed what they can tolerate, the ligaments weaken and become lax or loose. Imagine a rubber band that has lost its elasticity. A stretched-out ligament is similar. When they are stretched out, the injured ligaments cannot provide adequate stability to the lumbar spine. Again, this is called spinal instability.
Ligaments are highly innervated. That means they have a lot of nerves. So when they are injured, pain is the result. Therefore, with bending, turning, and any other activity that engages the vertebrae of the lumbar spine, nerve fibers in the ligaments will start firing and sending out pain signals.
Besides pain, other symptoms of spinal instability in the low back include a feeling of the back giving out, cracking sensations with movement, catching or locking, a frequent need to crack the back, and recurrent muscle spasms. Unaddressed, this condition of spinal instability will result in low back pain that will not go away.
In addition, spinal instability allows for too much movement in the vertebral segments, which produces too much pressure on the discs due to the altered joint mechanics. And that fosters even more degeneration and disc herniation. The pathological process involved in spinal instability is at the core of many spinal conditions.
So what can I do to fix my back pain and find actual relief? Fortunately, for sufferers of low back pain, Regenerative Orthopedics offers pain relief and healing and repair at the source of the pain. Treatment directed at the injured stretched out, and lax ligaments can strengthen them. That, in turn, stabilizes the vertebral segments, eliminating the excessive movement and resolving the pain.
The common denominator for many painful musculoskeletal conditions causing low back pain is spinal instability due to injury to ligaments. Still, Regenerative Orthopedics treatments such as Stem Cell Therapy, PRP, and Prolotherapy can get rid of the pain. Plus, these treatments repair the source of the problem. That means the pain is not just covered up. The source of the pain is actually repaired. So you can get pain relief and enjoy improved function too!
Read our other articles about low back pain by clicking here. Experiencing sciatica pain? Find out how Regenerative Orthopedics can help by reading our article.