Low back pain is an epidemic in modern society, with 85% of the population experiencing a low back injury in their lifetime. In fact, this is the number one reason a person will seek medical care - including with your favorite Beaverton Chiropractic Clinic, Back In Motion! There are several causes of low back pain, each with their own set of signs, symptoms, and treatment techniques. For chronic low back pain, that is pain lasting more than 3 months, we look to the intervertebral disc as the cause.
Imaging signs (x-ray and MRI) of degeneration of the disc correlate very closely with age. About 20% of teens will show some mild signs, whereas about 10% of 50 year-olds and 60% of 70 year-olds will show severe signs of degeneration. Not surprisingly, disc abnormalities are more common in athletes than in non-athletes. This is also very evident in our Beaverton Chiropractic & Sports Rehab clinic. Nearly 50% of college football players experience lumbar spinal symptoms. MRI evidence shows that the rate of lumbar injury in gymnasts is directly related to level of competition: 9% of recreational, 43% of elite, and 63% of Olympic level. Discogenic pain isn't just for high-impact, contact athletes. Non-contact sports like golf, tennis, and cycling, are also associated with increased low back pain. It is the repetitive nature of these sports, rather than the high forces, that cause injury.
Discogenic pain in the lumbar spine, will typically present as diffuse low back pain with aching pain radiating into the lower extremity. It is very common for radicular pain to be present in the buttocks, hamstrings, anterolateral thigh, and often the knee. In fact, we have seen many cases of knee pain in our Back In Motion Chiropractic Beaverton Clinic, that are radicular symptoms of lumbar disc injury, as opposed to knee pathology. In addition to lumbar and radicular pain, numbness and/or tingling are often experienced in the lower extremity. In the most extreme cases of disc injury with physical nerve root impingement, loss of muscle strength and function can be present. Drop foot is a common neurological dysfunction in which the nerves controlling the muscles that support ankle dorsiflexion are compromised, causing the foot to drop or slap onto the ground with each foot strike.
Treatments for discogenic pain range from conservative care all the way to surgical intervention. The good news is that most cases will resolve with non-surgical care such as chiropractic manipulation with therapeutic exercise. At Back In Motion Chiropractic & Sports Rehab in Beaverton, the vast majority of lumbar discogenic cases, even severe presentations, resolve under our care. Typical treatment consists of lumbar joint manipulation to address joint restriction, soft-tissue therapies like Active Release Technique and Graston Technique to address tissue extensibility dysfunction and scar tissue, physical therapy modalities like electrical stimulation and laser/light therapy to aid in tissue healing and decrease muscle tension, and therapeutic exercise to add stability to dysfunctional joints.
Studies show conclusively that low back pain and discogenic symptoms resolve much more quickly with care than without care, so don't take your pain lying down. Back In Motion Chiropractic & Sports Rehab in Beaverton, Oregon can help!
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