Many people experiencing lower back pain are told it is from a bad disc and need medications, injections or surgery. However, research has proven that those having low back pain in reality have spinal joint problems. This article will explain what is the cause of most lower back pain and what can be done about it.
Let’s, initially, put to bed and extinguish the idea that lower back pain is caused by a bad disc. A recent study performed at the Mayo Clinic and published in The American Journal of Neuroradiology confirms that MRI scans showing intervertebral disc problems are not the source of back pain. The researchers found that MRI scans showing disc problems are exceedingly common in pain free people. In other words, people who have no lower back pain can have an MRI that can show a disc bulge, protrusion and degeneration and still have no pain.
The researchers said that their study indicates that findings of narrowing of the disk space, disc degeneration, loss of disc height and other disc abnormalities are part of the normal aging process rather than pathological processes requiring intervention. They went further to say that most of the disk degenerative changes are no more significant than gray hair or crow’s feet around the eyes.
Let’s also clarify the term “slipped disc.” Medically a disc does not slip back and forth. It can bulge, protrude, herniate or degenerate. It does not slip back and forth or slip out of place. Slipped disc is a layman’s term similar to trick knee, cauliflower ear or double-jointed.
If the intervertebral discs are not the source of pain in the back what is? Again, much scientific research indicates that it is from the misalignment and improper motion of the spinal joints. There are 24 spinal bones called vertebrae which makes up our spinal column. Between each vertebrae there are joints which are called the facet joints. Because of the strain we put on our backs in the course of our everyday activities the facet joints undergo a significant amount of stress. Accumulation of this stress can cause these joints to become misaligned and not move properly. The medical term for this is “joint dysfunction.” When this occurs it creates the majority of the lower back pain that we experience day-to-day. In a sense, we could create a layman’s term and call this condition “slipped joints”.
The majority of people suffering from low back pain due to joint dysfunction can be helped by doctors of chiropractic. Chiropractic care should be the first line of treatment. It is successful in a significant majority of cases where people are suffering from low back pain.
The next time a person is heard saying “I have a slipped disc and need surgery” they should be told “You have slipped joints and need chiropractic treatment.”