Lower Back Pain
Is low back pain affecting your life?
If, like many people, you work at a computer or are sitting for long periods of your work day, you may be concerned about the possibility of developing back pain.
A recent review of studies linking long periods of sitting to lower back pain sheds some light on how concerned you should be. The review looked at workers who were sitting for more than half their working time, and were also exposed to whole body vibration (such as that experienced by truck and bus drivers) and/or awkward postures.
The findings suggest that 'sitting alone was not associated with the risk of developing lower back pain.' However, the combination of sitting for long periods, whole body vibration and awkward postures increased the risk of lower back pain occurring fourfold.
While this may seem like reason to sit back and relax, this study highlights the dangers of a poorly set up work station that encourages awkward posture. It is a good idea to check that your work space allows you to sit comfortably. Taking frequent breaks to walk around, move and stretch are also good for keeping your spine healthy, and if you do sit for long periods of time in an awkward position, it could be worth visiting your chiropractor to check the condition of your spine before it starts causing you pain.
European Spine Journal August 2006; 15.
Lower back pain in the elderly
The study also found that chronic back pain is associated with other factors such as fatigue, joint pain and dependence in activities of daily living. This study suggests that chronic back pain may be disrupting the daily lives of many elderly parents and grandparents. Chiropractic care may relieve some of the symptoms of chronic back pain, and improve the overall function of the spine.
Spine April 1, 2006; 31: E203-7.
Chiropractic care for children with low back pain
A study of 10,000 Danish twins over 8 years has shown a correlation between low-back pain experienced during childhood or adolescence, and that same individual experiencing low-back pain in adulthood. The scientists determined that 'low-back pain in adolescence was found to be a significant risk factor for low-back pain in adulthood with odds rations as high as four.' Further, it was found that the more days an individual had low-back pain as a child or adolescent, the higher the risk that they would have low-back pain in the future.
The result from this study indicates that it is especially important to examine ways of treating, and preventing low back pain in young children because if the problem is not addressed at the time it may increase the risk they will experience lower back pain in the future.
Exercise and activity promote a healthy growing spine:Movement, stretching and exercise are important for keeping a spine healthy. It is impossible to prevent a child from falling or having an injury that might affect their spine, but doing exercise and activity and being in a generally fit condition can help a child's body to be a bit more able to cope with knocks and falls.
Avoid heavy, poorly fitted school bags: Make sure your child has a well-fitted back pack that carries some of the weight with a waist strap, as well as across the shoulders. Remember that a bag that feels light to you may still be too heavy for your child. A good guideline is a school bag should not weigh more than 10% of body weight.
Desks, computers, TV: It is best to avoid sitting in a fixed position for a long time, particularly if it is an awkward position, such as twisted around to see the teacher or blackboard from a school desk. Set an example for your child by not staying in one position for too long, and teach them to stretch gently after sitting at a desk or computer for long periods.
Chiropractic is a gentle, drug-free and effective way to treat low back pain in children. In a healthy spine, the vertebrae have a natural degree of movement. Sometimes this movement can be disturbed by a knock or by the day-to-day stresses described above. Chiropractic care consists of gentle adjustments to restore spinal movement, improving the function of the spine and relieving pain.
A child who has had low back pain in the past may have sustained some damage to the spine and though they no longer have the symptoms their spine may not have recovered fully. In these instances, chiropractic care can help prevent a child from experiencing a recurring low back pain in the future.
Sources: Spine, February 15, 2006; 31:488-72,
The Alberta Bone & Joint Health Institute
Meade et al 1995