Do you or have you ever suffered with low back pain? What are the common causes? This is an important article that could make the world of difference to you.
“Low back pain is now the number one cause of disability globally” (1)
Low back pain affects many people, with significant negative impacts on work capacity as well as the overall wellbeing of an individual. Coupled with escalating health care costs, low back pain frequently results in a significant effect on physical and psychological health, and a decline in the performance of social responsibilities including work and family (2)
Some common causes include:
By improving body posture and adopting spine-friendly movements, load on the spine can be significantly decreased. Studies on the effects of such programs have found long-term positive results in decreased intensity of pain and disability, improving spine functions, fewer recurrent LBP episodes and a decreasing number of days off through low back pain (3).
How you sleep plays an important role in managing back pain, as certain positions place more strain on the back than others. Studies show that a medium firm mattress improved musculoskeletal pain and modified sleep (4). Newer bedding systems increased sleep quality and reduced back discomfort (5).
Alteration of foot position can influence pelvic alignment and the activity of important muscles when walking (6). In a large study, findings indicate that pronated foot function (rolled in foot or flat foot), is significantly associated with low back pain in women after adjusting for age, weight, smoking and depressive symptoms.
Inappropriate lifting and carrying of heavy loads:
Lifting things without bending your legs and keeping your back straight, puts a lot of strain on the lower back.
The role of psychological distress in the development of low back pain has been highlighted by a number of research authors. Factors such as anxiety and depression, catastrophizing, kinesophobia (fear of movement), and somatization (the expression of distress as physical symptoms or their persistence) have been suggested as risk factors for low back pain in prospective studies in adults and children. (2)
Employment and workplace factors, both physical and psychological, have been associated with low back pain. Heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, and prolonged walking or standing were found to be predictors of future back pain (2)
But the good news, is that if you are proactive in taking care of yourself and have these common causes in mind you can minimise the risk and duration of low back pain. Chiropractic care may benefit too, there is evidence to suggest that in patients with recurrent and persistent LBP who responds well to an initial course of manual therapy, maintenance care resulted in a reduction in number of days with bothersome LBP per week, compared with symptom-guided treatment (7).
“If we know the causes, we should be better equipped to help ourselves. In reality, our own health is in our own hands, and there is no better day to make a change in the positive direction than today…”
(1) Hartvigsen, J., Hancock, M.J., Kongsted, A., Louw, Q., Ferreira, M.L., Genevay, S., Hoy, D., Karppinen, J., Pransky, G., Sieper, J. and Smeets, R.J., 2018. What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention. The Lancet.
(2) Manchikanti, L., Singh, V., Falco, F.J., Benyamin, R.M. and Hirsch, J.A., 2014. Epidemiology of low back pain in adults. Neuromodulation: Technology at the Neural Interface, 17, pp.3-10.
(3) Jaromi M, Nemeth A, Kranicz J, Laczko T, Betlehem J. Treatment and ergonomics training of work-related lower back pain and body posture problems for nurses. J Clin Nurs. 2012 Jun;21(11-12):1776-84
(4)Ancuelle V, Zamudio R, Mendiola A, Guillen D, Ortiz PJ, Tello T, et al. Effects of an adapted mattress in musculoskeletal pain and sleep quality in institutionalized elders. Sleep Sci. 2015;8:115–120
(5)Bert H. Jacobson, Ali Boolani, Doug B. Smith. Changes in back pain, sleep quality, and perceived stress after introduction of new bedding systems. J Chiropr Med. 2009 Mar; 8(1): 1–8.
(6) Menz H. B., Dufour A. B., Riskowski J. L., Hillstrom H. J., and Hannan M. T., “Foot posture, foot function and low back pain: The Framingham foot study,” Rheumatology, vol. 52, no. 12, pp. 2275–2282, 2013
(7) Eklund, A., Jensen, I., Lohela-Karlsson, M., Hagberg, J., Leboeuf-Yde, C., Kongsted, A., Bodin, L. and Axén, I., 2018. The Nordic Maintenance Care program: Effectiveness of chiropractic maintenance care versus symptom-guided treatment for recurrent and persistent low back pain—A pragmatic randomized controlled trial. PloS one, 13(9), p.e0203029.
Data suggests that frequent, short, standing rest breaks may help to reduce symptoms of some spinal pain, however they are only a temporary solution (1). In another study of truck drivers, exercises during break periods consistently help to minimise Low Back Pain and disability (2). Hence it seems best while on a rest break do some gentle exercises. Every 15 minutes it is a good idea to do at least thirty seconds of movement. That is really only 2 minutes of movement every hour when you are working. Eg stand up and stretch and do the exercises below for thirty seconds.
Exercise has some eﬀect in secondary prevention — ie, the prevention of recurrence (3). The picture that emerges is that post-treatment exercises likely reduce the rate and the number of recurrences and the days on sick leave, and increase the time to recurrence (4). Therefore, any general exercise such as stretching, strengthening, endurance training and posture education could be implemented to help manage spinal pain.
To see our free exercises go here:
If any of this relates to you or someone you know
for "The Top 10 Strategies to Target Back Pain"
It’s an easy to follow checklist to help you get out of pain
It covers the newest and most up to date researched secrets about getting rid of back pain that you can use to eliminate the problem in your own time, from your home or office.
(1) Sheahan P.J., Diesbourg T.L., Fischer S.L. The eﬀect of rest break schedule on acute low back pain development in pain and non-pain developers during seated work. Appl Ergon. 2016;53:64–70
(2) Ghasemi M, Khoshakhlagh AH, Ghanjal A, Yazdanirad S, Laal F. The impacts of rest breaks and stretching exercises on lower back pain among commercial truck drivers in Iran. Int J Occup Saf Ergon. 2018 Jun 7:1-8.
(3) Choi BK, Verbeek JH, Tam WW, Jiang JY. Exercises for prevention of recurrences of low-back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Jan 20;(1):
(4) Foster NE, Anema JR, Cherkin D. Et Al. Prevention and treatment of low back pain: evidence, challenges, and promising directions. Lancet. 2018 Jun 9;391(10137):2368-2383
Low back pain is all around us. If you have not suffered from it yourself, then you probably know at least one person who has or still does.
In the first instance, when the pain is in the acute phase, most people will improve with ease within the first month and continue to experience small, but incremental improvements up to 3 (sub-acute phase) months on average. At this point, a lot of people stall in their recovery and will often have a relapse within 12 months (chronic phase) (1,2).
Western Acupuncture, or dry needling, has been shown to be an excellent adjunct treatment for those suffering from low back pain, especially those who have been suffering for more than 3 months (classed as chronic) (1,3). The Western style of acupuncture varies from its traditional Eastern roots as it tends to focus on trigger points (taught bands) within the muscle belly, rather than going for specific meridian points. Both styles use the same style of needle, a fine filament solid steel needle. Nothing can be injected by them.
Insertion of the needles has a few effects on the body. Locally there is a release of chemicals and neuropeptides that cause an increase in blood to the area as well as pain relief from the stimulation of endorphins and naturally occurring opioids (4,5).
Acupuncture has been shown to be effective for pain relief for low back pain, especially in the short term, and for improvements in functionality 1. Chiropractic care has already been shown to be better than placebo or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories in the management of low back pain 6. When we pair these two therapies together, it is shown to be effective to reliving pain and improving functionality better than conventional therapies (medications, stretching) alone. And not just for low back pain, acupuncture can be applied to almost all musculoskeletal complaints (1,7).
If you are interested in finding out more about adding acupuncture to your care, speak to one of our chiropractors.
1. Furlan, A. D., van Tulder, M. W., Cherkin, D., Tsukayama, H., Lao, L., Koes, B. W., & Berman, B. M. (2005). Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd001351.pub2
2. Hoy, D. , Bain, C. , Williams, G. , March, L. , Brooks, P. , Blyth, F. , Woolf, A. , Vos, T. and Buchbinder, R. (2012), A systematic review of the global prevalence of low back pain. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 64: 2028-2037. doi:10.1002/art.34347
3. Brinkhaus B, Witt CM, Jena S, et al. Acupuncture in Patients With Chronic Low Back PainA Randomized Controlled Trial. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(4):450–457. doi:10.1001/archinte.166.4.450
4. Carlsson, C., 2002. Acupuncture mechanisms for clinically relevant long-term effects–reconsideration and a hypothesis. Acupuncture in Medicine, 20(2-3), pp.82-99.
5. Zhao, Z.Q., 2008. Neural mechanism underlying acupuncture analgesia. Progress in neurobiology, 85(4), pp.355-375.
6. von Heymann, W.J., Schloemer, P., Timm, J. and Muehlbauer, B., 2013. Spinal high-velocity low amplitude manipulation in acute nonspecific low back pain: a double-blinded randomized controlled trial in comparison with diclofenac and placebo. Spine, 38(7), pp.540-548.
7. Kalichman, L. and Vulfsons, S., 2010. Dry needling in the management of musculoskeletal pain. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 23(5), pp.640-646.