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If my low back pain isn't a vertebra or a disc, what is it?

When I ask you to picture a low back problem, what is the first thing you think of? I would be willing to bet that you either think of a “slipped disc” or a vertebra that is out of place. The problem with that way of thinking is that there are so many other causes of low back pain that we are forgetting to mention. I want to unpack a few of these potential other causes of low back pain today. My goal is to help deepen your understanding of low back pain causes. It is extremely important to know the exact cause or your low back pain. When a chiropractor is very specific in treating the specific tissue causing the low back pain, he can be more effective and offer faster and longer lasting relief.



Why is referred pain important?

One concept I want to reveal to you today is that of referred pain. The best and most common example of referred pain might be a heart attack. This pain can start from a dysfunction in the heart, but it is often experienced by the sufferer in the left shoulder or left jaw. The definition of referred pain is pain that shows up a distance from the site of the cause of the pain.





Can low back pain come from other parts of the back?

Low back pain can also be a referred pain. It can be a pain that shows up because of internal organ dysfunction. It can show up because of a problem that occurs in the vertebral alignment of the lower mid back. Low back pain can be the result of problems that start in the feet, the knees, the hips, or even the muscles of the legs.



Organs in the abdomen can cause low back pain too

There are many other potential causes of low back pain therefore the chiropractor puts you through a very extensive examination. He needs to be sure of your general health, past medical history, as well as any prescription medicine intake to rule out various internal issues as potential causes of low back pain. He needs to rule out previous injuries and surgeries that might be weak spots that could potentially cause low back pain.





Proper function and balance of muscles of the torso and the legs are essential to preventing the onset of low back pain. Muscles work in pairs that have opposite actions. If one muscle becomes weaker than it’s opposite, the movement of the joint the muscles are designed to move becomes dysfunctional. These joints can be ankles, knees, hips, sacroiliac joints, or even low back vertebral joints.

The description and location of the pain in the low back also takes on significance in determining the cause of the pain. Pain that extends into the leg can be more than just a vertebra out of alignment. Pain that becomes worse with movement one way or another gives the chiropractor important clues as to the cause of the problem. The image below shows how degenerated facets can cause pain. This pain can show up in the low back, the buttock, or even the groin area.




I hope that this discussion helps you to understand the importance of treating the specific cause of the low back issue as well as treating the other associated tissues that can affect it. The more the chiropractor knows, the more specific his treatment can be. Therefore, it is so very important to do more than treat the symptom of just pain. It is extremely important that you get treatment to stop that pain, but also to repair the underlying problem that is causing the pain, and to strengthen that newly repaired problem that will prevent recurrences of your low back problem.

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