What are the odds?
Have you ever overheard people talking about their lower back pain while you are sitting in a cafe enjoying your coffee or during a family gathering? Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017–18 National Health estimates about 4.0 million Australians (16% of the population) have back problems. It is estimated that 70–90% of people will suffer from lower back pain in some form at some point in their lives. (1)
Lower back pain is associated with weakened core muscles
Our spinal health and stability are supported by different tissues (intervertebral disc, muscles, tendons, ligaments…). Research describes the weakening of the truck and abdominal muscles as one major cause of chronic lower back pain. (2) We observed many people only focus on loosening up their stiff back muscles, but seldom discuss weak core muscles with their chiropractor. In the past decade, core strengthening has been brought back to one of the main protocols in a rehabilitation plan post-injury with athletes, the public and people who suffer lower back pain. (3)
Your abdomen is a cylinder! Imagine that your spine is sitting at the back of a cylinder, your abdominal wall would be the front of the cylinder, traverse abdominal muscles would be the two sides of your cylinder. (3) When the abdominal walls are weakened, while daily stresses and pressures to your spine remain unchanged, passive tissues such as the discs and spinal joints will take up the duty. Predictably, muscles around your spinal joints tighten up, speeding up spinal degeneration and give you lower back pain.
A common misconception is to “suck the belly in” when people are asked to activate their core muscles. In fact, pushing your abdominals out is a better way to take the pressure off your spine. Here are a few steps to help you learn how to activate your core muscles!
Chiropractors are trained to help manage musculoskeletal disorders. If you have any concerns about how a chiropractor can help, consult with one of our chiropractors for a comprehensive health check and let us help you to be your best self possible!
1 .Health AIo, Welfare. Back problems. Canberra: AIHW; 2019.
2. Chang W-D, Lin H-Y, Lai P-T. Core strength training for patients with chronic low back pain. Journal of physical therapy science. 2015;27(3):619-22.
3. Akuthota V, Nadler SF. Core strengthening. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation. 2004;85:86-92.
An absolute nutritional deficiency occurs when nutrient intake is not sufficient to meet the normal needs of the body. This type of deficiency is usually known by the individual as it results in a disease process e.g. Vitamin C deficiency resulting in scurvy.
A relative nutritional deficiency exists when nutrient intake and systemic levels of nutrients are within normal, but stress on the body results in nutrient intake requirement not being sufficient from diet alone. When the intensity of stress on the body increases, the brain or body runs out of these nutrients to maintain optimum function .
One of the factors that can lead to possible relative nutritional deficiency is from lack of sufficient nutrients in the foods we eat.
Recent studies from the University of Texas compared U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits. Reliable declines in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C were found in the fruits and vegetables analysed. The main culprit in this nutritional trend is soil depletion as a results of modern intensive agricultural methods which have stripped nutrients from the soil in the food we eat.
If you find yourself experiencing different symptoms in times of stress and think you might have possible nutrient deficiencies, please get in touch with one of our Doctors so we can help point you in the right direction to help manage your nutrition levels.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information about the lack of sufficient nutrients in our food and how your genes can determine if you are able to absorb and utilise these nutrients.
A lot of people wonder why we take such a thorough history from our new patients. It not just so that we can screen out “red flags” (things we potentially need to refer out for further testing) it’s also so that we get a better understanding of their life journey, and then can better help our patients develop personalised goals for their care.
One of the most common goals we are given is less pain, which is often coupled with less pain medications. I am not talking about the occasional Panadol here either, there has been a massive increase in the used of opioid based pain medications. In fact, between 1990 and 2014 there was a 4-fold increase in the use of opioids within Australia (1)! Australia also experienced a rapid increase in the number of opioid related hospitalisations as well as deaths (2).
This increase in opioid prescription is in line with a global trend, we are ahead of the UK but behind the US. The US has also seen overdose death rates and substance use rates quadrupled in parallel to sales of prescription pain relievers (1999-2008) (3).
A recent study (from the US) looked at a population of over 200,000 people over the age of 18 and compared the usage of opioids for low back pain. They found that there was a decreased rate in the use of opioids in the people who sought care from a chiropractor or physical therapist compare with those who sought treatment from a primary care practitioner (4).
This study reinforces what has been seen in previous studies which have shown; greater satisfaction of care and results, providing greater short-term reduction in self-reported pain or disability, and that a multimodal approach, which (most) chiropractors utilise, is often the most effective way to manage musculoskeletal pain (5-7).
So, if you, or someone you know, is struggling with musculoskeletal pain, AND you don’t just want a pill to cover up the cause, give us a call to book an assessment to see if we can help.