Home Blog Let Me, Dr. Tim Harcourt of Coast Chiropractic Centers, Try To Explain What May Be Causing Your Back Pain

Let Me, Dr. Tim Harcourt of Coast Chiropractic Centers, Try To Explain What May Be Causing Your Back Pain

Sep 9, 2021 -- Posted by : Dr.Harcourt

Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most common reasons patients seek out Chiropractic care, and they appreciate being told what is causing their back pain. This is why doctors gather a careful and complete history from new patients and perform a physical examination.  Once the “pain generator” is determined, a doctor can discuss various treatment options and develop a plan for managing the patient. Let’s review some causes of LBP!

If we divide the various conditions into three categories, it significantly improves diagnostic accuracy. These include 1) Mechanical LBP; 2) Nerve root pain, and 3) “Red Flags” (serious conditions). The most common conditions are those belonging to the first group. The following is a partial list of conditions that belong to each category:

1)  Mechanical LBP: Causes of mechanical LBP include Lumbar and sacroiliac (SI) sprain, lumbar muscle strains, facet syndrome, degenerative disk disease (DDD) and/or injury to the disk without nerve pinch, osteoarthritis (this can affect different parts of the spine), spinal instability, spondylolysis and/or spondylolisthesis, and more. The pain pattern is usually localized to the low back and may spread into the buttocks, hips, thighs, but rarely extends past the knee. Usually, there is NO numbness or weakness in the leg or foot because that symptom suggests a spinal nerve pinch.

2)  Nerve root pain can result from herniated disk (from either direct nerve pinching and/or chemical irritation inflaming the nerve), central or lateral spinal stenosis (usually caused by a combination of things including DDD), arthritis, and/or calcification of ligaments near the nerve. These can be managed very successfully without surgery but the careful monitoring of numbness, muscle weakness, and treatment satisfaction are important!

3)  Red Flags: These are potentially dangerous conditions such as cancer, fracture, infections, cauda equina syndrome (spinal cord pinch creating bowel and/or bladder weakness). Referred pain from organs may be included here as well. As you can see, these carry potentially lethal consequences and require immediate referral and specialty management.

The majority of patients suffering from LBP fall into the first two categories, and the HISTORY can tell us a lot! If the patient complains of pain that stays mostly in the low back but may spread into the buttocks or thigh without numbness/weakness in the leg and feels better with leaning forwards or curling up in a ball, it probably is a Group 1 (mechanical) diagnosis. If there is numbness, tingling, and/or weakness in the leg to the foot and bending over hurts, it’s most likely disk derangement (bulge, herniated, etc.) with a nerve pinch. If there is unexplained weight loss, a past history of cancer, non-responding LBP to treatment, sleep interruptions, and age >50 years old, we may now be in category three and further tests are needed!

The IMPORTANT point is that spinal manipulation (chiropractic) can manage the most common causes of LBP as a non-surgical, low-risk form of care.

So, if you are experiencing back pain, lower back pain, or pain in the coccyx and type in pain management near me, you may find Coast Chiropractic Centers with Dr. Timothy Harcourt, me, comes up. 

You may wonder, “Do I need an MRI scan of my back.”

Also, if you feel leg pain it may indicate things are getting worse and may indicate a bulge on the disc or worse yet a herniated disc in your back.  Some people will try stretching the lower back first to see if they get relief from their back pain.  Pain very low in the lower back may be originating from the coccyx or tailbone.  A pulled muscle in the back generally will get better with rest.  Persistent or worsening pain intensity and/or frequency necessitates a visit to see a professional. 

Call me, Dr. Tim Harcourt, at (239) 278-3344 and mention this article for an awesome discounted first visit to include history, exam, and adjustment or Class IV high-intensity laser treatment.

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