Back pain affects millions around the world, and no matter the specifics of your pain it can easily impair your ability to fully enjoy your life. More than 22 million people visit chiropractors each year, and the number is beginning to grow steadily as more realize that relief may be found at a chiropractor’s office.
Of course, before you visit a downtown Vancouver chiropractor like Dr. Stuart Kilian, you probably want to learn more about the different types of problems you might face and how a chiropractor can help.
Lower back pain is among the most common types of back pain, and is also one of the most difficult to treat and overcome. It is primarily caused by damage of some kind done to the lumbar spine region, and in particular lumbar spine subluxation is a very real issue that can create serious problems for patients. It’s well worth a closer look.
What Is The Lumbar Region?
First, it’s worth understanding more about the lumbar area of the back. This term refers to the lower back, and is made up of the vertebrae that are located about six inches below the shoulder blades. This section of the back actually curves slightly inwards towards the abdomen to help absorb more stress and support more weight.
And the lumbar region does support weight – the lower the vertebrae, the more weight it holds and as a result the five vertebrae that make up the lumbar spine are the largest in the spinal column. They support the entire weight of your torso, and as such it’s important that your lumbar health remains high.
So just what is subluxation, then? This is a term that can have two meanings. In general medicine, it’s defined as the partial separation of a joint. But in chiropractic terms, we use it to refer to an altered or unnatural position of a vertebra.
For instance, your spine should be a straight line when viewed from the back. But if a vertebra is subluxated, it will shift to one side or the other slightly. When this happens, the bone can place added pressure on the muscles, nerves, and blood vessels around it. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and a wide range of other problems.
Lumbar subluxation is among the most common types of spinal subluxation due in large part to the amount of stress that is placed on the lumbar region at any given time. Additionally, the fact that daily activities such as walking, running, and heavy lifting can all place additional stress on the back means that subluxation is even more likely to occur.
Causes of Lumbar Spine Subluxation
There are numerous causes of lumbar spine subluxation. It’s important to understand that the weaker the muscles around the spine, the more likely it is that subluxation will occur. This is because the muscles are designed to hold the vertebrae in place, and when they are weakened they may allow the vertebrae to move. As such, some people may be more at risk of subluxation than others.
Still, there are several potential causes that are worth looking more closely at. In addition to the ‘weak muscle’ factor, here are some of the things that can contribute to subluxation of the lower spine.
- Overly excessive sport performance or sporting related impacts.
- Heavy lifting, especially if done improperly.
- Accidents and injuries that impact the back in any way.
- Poor posture.
- Obesity due to the added stress it places on the back.
- Twisting or turning motions of a repetitive or severe nature
As you can see, subluxation largely stems from nothing more than overuse of the body or even regular use. Wear and tear is common as we age, and direct injuries can lead to even more trouble. There are some steps you can take to avoid the issue – stretching daily, maintaining good posture, and lifting properly, for example – but at times there is no way to avoid subluxation and it could occur before you realize it.
Impact Lumbar Subluxation Will Have On Your Life
The primary symptom of lumbar subluxation is pain. When a vertebra shifts to one side or the other, it presses against nerves that run the length of the spinal column. And when that occurs, it can bring with it pain ranging from mild to severe. This pain may be even worse with activity, when you sit down or lie down, or when you turn in a certain direction.
However, beyond the pain that is commonly connected to lumbar subluxation there are numerous other things that this condition could cause. When you consider the number of nerves leading out of the spine, it becomes clear that pressure placed on one of them could influence other parts of your body. Here are some of the symptoms that chiropractors have connected to lumbar subluxation.
- Sciatica, causing numbness, tingling, and pain of the legs and buttocks.
- Reduced mobility
- Digestive issues
In many cases, minor subluxation may not even be noticed and instead other steps may be looked at to correct the issue. But the truth is that lumbar subluxation can impact your life in more ways than just increased pain.
Treatment Options For Lumbar Subluxation
Lumbar subluxation is something that can be remedied, luckily. Chiropractic care is the best option for this since it doesn’t require the use of surgery or prescription drugs. Instead, chiropractors will use the following to treat subluxation:
- Manual chiropractic adjustments
- Muscle stimulation
- Strength exercises
- Stretching techniques
By manually adjusting your spine to help gradually realign the vertebra, and by giving you the information needed to complete self-care steps like better exercises and stretching techniques, a chiropractor can directly help you improve your overall wellbeing by correcting subluxation.
If you’re suffering from lower back pain, stiffness, tingling in the legs or feet, or any other similar issues listed above, you owe it to yourself to visit a chiropractor for an examination. Lumbar spine subluxation could be present, and could need to be adjusted.