September 7, 2012 – Chronic low back pain is the most common cause of disability and lost work days among US adults. Over 80% of our population will experience an episode of low back pain at some point during our lives, and once low back pain occurs, it is likely it will happen again if left untreated. Most people experience recurrent episodes within one year and lifetime recurrences are likely for up to 85% of low back pain sufferers.
A combination of Chiropractic care, Active Release Technique and a functional, corrective approach is a successful remedy for most low back pain sufferers. How you move and your posture can show muscular dysfunction and breakdowns in the kinetic chain. Dr. Alesha Willis of Whole Health Center uses this information to develop a treatment plan that will help to correct the cause of the back pain.
The treatment approach depends on the cause of the low back pain. Each person needs to be evaluated and managed based on his/her underlying background, health status and activity level.
Diagnosing low back pain involves getting a history of how the pain began and a physical examination. It is necessary to get a complete story of the back pain, things that make the pain better or worse, associated symptoms (numbness, tingling, digestive problems, etc.), as well as the how long the problem has been going on and are the symptoms getting better or worse. Further tests for diagnosis of severe low back pain that may be needed are X-ray or MRI’s among others.
Dr. Willis uses an assessment that looks at the movement patterns and posture of the individual that helps to determine how to approach treatment. Looking at the functional impact caused by back pain allows for the detection of faulty movement patterns and muscular imbalances that can both add to or cause low back pain. After determining these factors, a comprehensive corrective exercise and treatment plan is developed that will help the individual correct the patterns that perpetuate his/her pain.
The goal is to have a corrective exercise and plan that will identify why this problem is occurring and how to prevent further occurrence. By using a functional approach, Dr. Willis can determine if the back problem truly is a back problem or if it is occurring because of a biomechanical issue elsewhere in the body. The functional approach doesn’t chase after symptoms and pain; it gets to the root cause of problem. Using this type of strategy gives the individual a chance to participate in their own care and have an understanding of how to help prevent future occurrences.
Freburger JK, Holmes GM, Agans RP, et al. The Rising Prevalence of Chronic Low Back Pain. Arch Intern Med. 2009; 169:251–258.
Source: Dr. Alesha Willis; Chiropractor at Whole Health Center- Highlands Ranch