Bulletproof Your Lower Back: An Introduction

An Introduction:

 

According to the World Health Organisation from a report in 2020, low back pain will affect 80%+ of us at some point and it is the single-leading cause of disability worldwide. In the United States alone in 2016, it is estimated to have cost them $136 billion. That’s a lot of billions for just one country.. 

So what if there was a way to mitigate this huge burden on the economy and even the healthcare system? Imagine if there were people in our community who day in and day out, helped people with low back pain and kept them from relapsing into another debilitating episode stopping them from doing the things they love.. Well do I have a crazy concept for you! As Chiropractors, we see people DAILY struggling with low back pain. You could say it is our bread and butter. 

On Wednesday April 10th from 630-730pm, I’ll be running a free workshop on How to Bulletproof Your Lower Back and I’ll be sharing my signature program for dealing with this unwelcome guest! But in this blog, I’ll give you some pointers and a better idea around what we’ll be offering at this workshop AND I’ll touch on why regular chiropractic care is a fundamental aspect to a healthy lower back (and more!).

Hit the link below if you would like to come along to the live workshop!

Get tickets to Bulletproof Your Lower Back Workshop HERE

 

Where does the pain come from?

 

Most commonly we find pain comes along at the end of the equation i.e you can have dysfunction building up over a long time (whether dysfunctional segments of the spine, weak muscles, etc) before they become symptomatic. A good example of this is our arteries calcifying or becoming blocked over decades. We don’t actually have any symptoms or warning signals. The main symptom is the last one – a heart attack. Luckily low back pain is more forgiving, yet if you’ve experienced a severe episode before, it can feel just about as debilitating!

So just like your heart, it is important to have your spine and nervous system checked regularly before symptoms arise. Typically what we find in the spine are weaknesses or imbalances, leading to compensations and pain over the long haul. These are known as vertebral subluxations. Segments of the spine which have become dysfunctional or fixated, causing stress and irritation to the nerve which affects the signals being sent between the brain and body. 

If I were to give advice on how to prevent these subluxations building up in your spine and nervous system, I would tell you the following – avoid the 3 T’s. These are stressors in your life which chip away at your spine and nervous system. The 3 T’s stand for THOUGHTS, TRAUMA and TOXINS.

Thoughts – mental/emotional stress. The stress of daily life! There are even studies which have shown you’re more likely to encounter back pain if you work with people you don’t like, versus in an office with people you like! It makes sense. Whenever we’re stressed we go into a sympathetic overdrive mode of fight/flight, causing our nervous system to perceive its environment as danger/alert (or pain). Counter this by utilising breath work to calm the nervous system, take cold showers in the morning, and even start journaling to come up with ways you can better respond to the stressful situations happening in your life.

Trauma – in the physical sense. These come in micro and macro form. In the micro form, we see repetitive movements and postural stress as a micro stress. These may not seem like an issue in the moment, however if you’re constantly sitting at a desk all day, it’s going to create some weakness on the tissues of your lower back. In the same way that working in a physical environment e.g. in a production line moving items from your left side to your right side, may build up stress on the spine over time. In the macro form, we see a large stress to the spine being injuries, surgeries, or accidents. These obviously create a huge stress on the surrounding tissues which can lead to pain either short or long term. The first step is being mindful of what you can do to mitigate those stressors – changing the ergonomics of your desk or getting up more often? Stretching regularly? Wearing your tool belt on each side of your hips? All ideas to create more BALANCE in your day.

Toxins – what we eat, drink and the environment we put ourselves in. Some foods are highly inflammatory and when we have global inflammation in the body, we’re more likely to experience an over-exaggerated inflammatory response around tissues causing some pain. In short, avoid sugar, smoking, alcohol and ultra-processed foods where you can. Bring in omega 3’s, magnesium and eat enough protein + drink enough water! 

Each of these topics deserve their own blog alone, but hopefully that gives you an idea around how subluxations arise in the spine and nervous system, which can lead to low back pain further down the track. 

 

Chiropractic and Low Back Pain

 

The most important aspect of improving the function of your lower back, through greater mobility, stability and strength comes down to your brain’s ability to control and coordinate everything in crystal clear fashion. Like a switchboard in your house, the fuses need to send clear signals out to every part of the house. As chiropractors, our primary focus is on improving that brain to body connection, allowing your body to heal and restore, and be the most resilient and adaptable version it can be.

Healthy spine = healthy nervous system = healthy human.

When it comes to the lower back, one study in particular has shown that adjusting joints in the spine may influence the feed-forward activation of core stabilising muscles. Feed-forward activation is the ability of the nervous system to activate other muscles before limb movement, to ensure healthy movement of the body without injury.

This is important as studies show people with lower back pain have delayed feed-forward activation of the core stabilising muscles. It has also been determined that people who have altered core muscle recruitment are more likely to have back pain in the future. Therefore, Chiropractic care may not only help with back pain, but prevent it from developing in the future.

If you’ve been told your back pain is due to “weak core and glute muscles”, maybe it’s time to start taking a more 3D approach to your pain and consider how optimising your nervous system could be the answer to less low back pain and more strength and resiliency long term.

Join me at our free workshop on Wednesday 10th April 2024, from 630-730pm and we’ll dig into this on a more granular level with some actionable tools you can use at home to Bulletproof Your Lower Back!

 

– Dr Hayes