Back pain, whether in the mid or low back, is a common problem in our population. Approximately 3.7 million Australians suffer with back problems, which is around 16% of the total population and 60 – 90% will experience back pain at some point in their lives (2).
Research has shown that 31% of low back pain is due to facet joint pain (3). This can be secondary to repetitive movements such as rotation and bending backwards. These joints can also degenerate which is often due to the loss of disc height in disc degeneration.
Discogenic pain is also a source of low back pain. You do not have to have a disc bulge in order to experience low back pain. Sometimes, the fibres within the disc itself can have small tears called annular tears, which stimulates pain fibres resulting in low back pain ( 1).
An interesting study on healthy individuals, with no complaints of back pain demonstrated ‘Imaging findings are weakly related to symptoms. In one cross-sectional study of asymptomatic persons aged 60 years or older, 36% had a herniated disc, 21% had spinal stenosis, and more than 90% had a degenerated or bulging disc ‘ (4).
So what does this mean? It means that even though your scan may shows signs of a disc bulge, it may not necessarily be the cause of your symptoms.
Our Chiropractors are experienced and trained in completing a thorough examination of your low back, to determine where the pain is coming from. We start with a history of your complaint, which can identify many factors for your diagnosis. Following this, we look at your range of movement and complete a neurological and orthopaedic examination. This, along with your history, will lead the Chiropractor to a working diagnosis. If your Chiropractor is unsure, or would like to review your spine closer, she can refer you for a bulk bill spinal x-ray or MRI if deemed necessary.
The treatment regime will depend solely on the working diagnosis of your Chiropractor. They will base their treatments on current evidence and advise you on how to look after yourself at home and prevent further aggravation of your complaint. At your Report of Findings appointment, they will discuss your prognosis and anticipated time it will take to recover.
Types of treatments we commonly use in the clinic for discogenic or facet joint pain are spinal manipulation, mobilisation, dry needling, activator method, lumbar traction, flexion distraction, kinesiology taping, stretching techniques and home exercise programs.
Whether you back pain is old or new, our Chiropractors are experienced in techniques to assist in alleviating your pain and get you back to living a healthy and vibrant lifestyle without pain. So call today or book online with one of our specialised Chiropractors.
If you would like more information on current and recommended treatment for low back pain please link to the following sites: