Lower Back Pain & How To Get Rid of Back Pain

Lower Back Pain Keeps You from Enjoying Life. Get Relief at Timber Ridge Back & Nack Pain Clinic

Lower Back Pain Keeps You from Enjoying Life. Get Relief at Timber Ridge Neck & Back Pain Clinic

Lower back pain is traditionally considered a normal symptom of advancing age. A lot of young adults are actually reluctant to accept that they may have an organic cause of lower back pain symptoms. For all those individuals who wait for symptoms to get worse before seeking medical help; here are some statistics from a latest study. According to this study (1):

  • About 15.4% individuals develop their first episode of lower back pain each year.
  • About 24 to 80% individuals develop recurring attacks of lower back pain
  • About 30% individuals have chronic lower back pain (symptoms lasting more than 6 months).

And here is one interesting one:

  • The incidence or occurrence of lower back pain is most commonly reported in young adults (mostly in the third decade of life). Most cases in old age are chronic cases which also suggest a lack of inappropriate treatment seeking behavior in adulthood that advance well into old age.

It is pretty understandable that lower back pain is itself discomforting and agonizing but sometimes (depending upon the cause, severity and extent of damage), associated symptoms may further affect the quality of life.

Signs and symptoms of chronic lower back pain and how it affects your life?

The most common cause of lower back pain is arthritis (mainly osteoarthritis that affects weight bearing joints or spinal joints). Other common causes of lower back pain include spinal disc herniation, ligamentous strain (very common in athletes, sports personnel), traumatic injuries, joint dislocation or fracture and spinal stenosis.

Besides persistent low back pain (that becomes pronounced after prolonged inactivity or excessive exertion), degenerative bone disorders affect the life of an individual by:

  • Limiting the range of motion and degree of physical independence (obviously with persistent backache you will think twice before joining your friends for a hike or even to accompany your partner for a morning jog). The most disabling aspect of lower back pain is progression of disability and functional mobility.
  • Tingling, numbness and paresthesia (changes in the perception or sensations) is also reported when the nerves are also involved
  • Sciatica is a fairly common associated symptom of degenerative disc conditions that is characterized by sharp and shooting pain along the legs that interferes with normal mobility and day to day activities.
  • In situations when the lower back pain is due to degenerative joint disorders (like osteoarthritis), individuals also develop incontinence of urine and feces due to incompetence of nerves in controlling sphincter action
  • Other non – specific symptoms include dizziness, abdominal pain, fatigue etc.

In simple words, chronic and poorly managed backache affects all aspects of your personal, professional and social life, making minor activities (like playing catch with your grandkids) an agonizing exercise.

What can you do about it?

In order to manage and treat lower back symptoms, it is very important to know the primary cause of pain and discomfort. A variety of treatment modalities are available and each has its pros and cons.

Most reliable therapies include:

Pharmacological options:

This includes over the counter pain killers (analgesics like non- steroidal anti- inflammatory drugs like aspirin, acetaminophen) or high potency medications like codeine, oxycodeine and other opiates.

The benefit of pharmacological intervention is:

  • Instant relief
  • Cost effective therapy in short term

The negative aspects include:

  • Short term benefits (the pain relief disappears in a few hours that require re-dosing)
  • Systemic effects or complications; like intake of NSAIDs for longer period of time is associated with damage to vital organs like kidney and liver. Intake of opiates for pain relief is associated with addiction or dependence.

Same is true for surgical methods that may alleviate the pain symptoms but increases the risk of long term disability, recurrence of symptoms and other procedure related complications. Moreover surgery is not a safe choice in a number of individuals with certain co-morbid medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, ischemic heart disease and endocrinological disorders.

Broadly 21.6% patients receive analgesics for the management of low back pain and 6.3% adopt surgical course.

Holistic methods of care:

Holistic methods of care are preferred over allopathic methods for a number of reasons; holistic methods (like chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage therapy and others) are not only safe but are also directed at improving the general physical status and management of primary disorders (instead of just masking the symptoms like pain killers).

16.3% individuals choose physical therapy for the management of chronic low back pain (3)

A lot of individuals are fairly confident in adopting therapeutic massages and physical therapy as an adjuvant to allopathic as well as holistic therapies; but, a lot of people are concerned about the safety of chiropractic manipulations.

T W Meade (2) compared the long term efficacy and treatment benefits for the management of chronic backache in patients who received chiropractic care and hospital care. The trial conducted on 741 patients and across 11 centers suggested that chiropractic manipulation is far more superior and effective in managing chronic backache when compared to hospital management. Moreover, the benefits and effectiveness of chiropractic therapy only improved even after the completion of therapy over the course of follow up period.

Paul G. Shekelle (4) suggested that overall duration of therapy is only 3-4 week during which chiropractors employs a variety of techniques like:

  • Spinal traction with the help of goal directed exercises and procedures like inversion therapy
  • Manual therapy of tissues that involves specialized techniques like Active Release Technique (ART) and Graston Technique
  • Stretching exercises (that may be manual or instrumental)
  • Spinal manipulation (that involves active mobilization and manipulation of spinal joints to alleviate the pressure on nerves and soft tissues.

Chiropractic therapies are most effective for spinal vertebral fractures and herniated discs by inducing spinal traction and alleviating the pressure from collapsed vertebrae. The therapies exert their action by allowing tissues to heal by reducing inflammation and promoting blood circulation across damaged/ collapsed vertebrae.

Data indicates that almost 30% cases of chronic low back pain are managed primarily by chiropractic care and 26% by physical therapy. Speak to a chiropractic professional to discuss the options that may be suitable in your case.


1. Hoy, D., Brooks, P., Blyth, F., & Buchbinder, R. (2010). The epidemiology of low back pain. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, 24(6), 769-781.

2. Meade, T. W., Dyer, S., Browne, W., Townsend, J., & Frank, A. O. (1990). Low back pain of mechanical origin: randomised comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 300(6737), 1431.

3. van Tulder, M. W., Koes, B. W., Metsemakers, J. F., & Bouter, L. M. (1998). Chronic low back pain in primary care: a prospective study on the management and course. Family practice, 15(2), 126-132.


Lower Back Pain & How To Get Rid of Back Pain was last modified: October 14th, 2013 by Dr. Patrick McCluskey