An estimated 7% of us will see a doctor for back pain this year and over 50% of us will get back pain at some point in your life.  And the unfortunate trend is that once you have it, you’re likely to get it again.  Back pain interferes with work, with sport, with social activities, and with all aspects of life.  What can you do to protect yourself and your family and prevent low back pain.

Drop Bad Habits to Prevent Low Back Pain.

There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself.  Smoking is one risk factor for low back pain.  The theory is that smoking damages the blood supply to the spinal discs and related structures in a manner similar to smoking’s effects on coronary arteries (the arteries that supply your heart with nutrition).  Want to decrease your risk for back problems?  Stop smoking, today.

Another pair of risk factors for low back pain goes hand in hand:  a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity.   Whether you sit all day at work, or just don’t get enough exercise during your day, you have the power to make a difference in your health.  Physical fitness, including both aerobic exercise, training of balance and strength, or using activities like yoga. The more physically active you are, the less your risk for back pain.  Though physical activity carries risks, physical inactivity may carry even higher risks for most people.  By creating what’s called a “caloric deficit” you can lose weight, stay trim, and decrease the load on your spine.  Don’t forget healthy diet, including proper hydration with pure water.  Spinal discs are up to 90% water, so care for them well by remembering you are what you eat… and what you drink, too.

Fads in Prevent Low Back Pain

There’s always a fad when it comes to health care, and back pain is no exception.  Spinal surgery was originally viewed as an intervention of last resort for most back pain.  However, with laser and minimally invasive surgical improvements, companies have began marketing surgery as more routine. All these improvements however, have not increased the outcomes of the surgeries as much. This is likely to the poor correlation between imaging studies and cause of pain. A study showed that more than half of asymptomatic patients have imaging findings that a surgeon correct. So when a surgeon sees something on an imaging study, it doesn’t mean that is the cause of the pain, and if they fix it, it doesn’t mean your pain will go away.

Pills don't prevent low back pain

As far as magic pills for back pain, they strike out too.  This goes for pills in general, which simply cover up the pain, and gadgets you see marketing on FB and Instagram. There is no one size fits all treatment to prevent low back pain, because there are many types of back pain. That is why you need to find a tailored treatment for your specific condition by being evaluated by a chiropractor.

Visit your Chiropractor

One intervention that has long been a part of the back pain conversation has been spinal manipulation.  Doctors of chiropractic are the primary providers of spinal manipulation.  Though research has shown that non-chiropractors can achieve “very modest benefits” for their patients when receiving limited training in spinal manipulation, chiropractors must complete approximately 5000 hours of training. That training allows them to pair a diagnosis of your problem with a specific intervention designed not only to help you get out of pain, but to help you live better with less down-time and more time to live the life you want.

A study in Annals of Internal Medicine listed one primary intervention for acute low back pain that does not respond to self-care:  spinal manipulation.  Though the initial article suggested acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as part of initial care, medical physicians themselves disagree that these drugs have value for low back pain, with one expert referring to an “obvious lack [emphasis added] of evidence” that these drugs actually help. 

Most sources agree on one thing:  That chiropractic is safe. 

For most patients, it’s also highly effective for back pain.  Your chiropractor may in fact be practicing the best “medicine” out there when it comes to low back pain.  While chiropractors are highly proficient when it comes to the spine, good “medicine” requires good prevention.  Chiropractors are trained to advise you on improving your life and helping you reduce your risk factors for back problems. Schedule your appointment today to find out how your downtown chiropractor can get you feeling better, and help you prevent low back pain all together.