Sciatica: What is the Source?

sciatica_legpainSciatica: What is the Source?

One of the most common things that I see in my office is Sciatica.  In fact, many patients come to their first visit and tell me straight away that they have sciatica.  Self diagnosis is common today as you can find anything you want on the internet.  However, what most people don’t understand is that sciatic symptoms can have multiple different causes.  This means that sciatica treatment can vary depending on the primary cause.  The real trick is to uncover the true source.  Is is stemming from poor soft tissue health in the low back?  Scar tissue build-up in the hips and glutes? Poor pelvis function?  Poor lumbar spine function?  A herniated disc in the lower back?  Poor postural position of the low back and pelvis?  Or more commonly, is it a combination of many of these?  Many times therapists take a cookie-cutter approach to sciatica.  Adjusting the lumbar spine and pelvis, stretches for the piriformis, and maybe some electrical stimulation to the area.  This can sometimes help overcome the pain and symptoms, but most of the times function is never addressed.  This is the real source of the problem.  Some dysfunction in postural positions or movement has taken place that led to the problem.  Unless this is addressed the problem is likely to return.

The other issue I see is that people many times have an MRI that is done because of nerve symptoms that are present.  While this is not a bad idea you always have to remember that the pain is not always caused by what is found in the MRI.  For example, if you take an MRI of someone’s low back, many times you are likely to find that is does not look perfect.  You may find some mild narrowing of spaces or even some mild disc bulging.  This does not mean that you can automatically assign these findings to the source of all the patient’s pain.  This is why many times surgery to the lumbar spine fails to resolve the patients complaints.  The surgeon did a great job at making the MRI look ‘normal’, but it may not have been the actual thing that was causing the symptoms in the first place.  In fact, in the vast majority of cases conservative care will be enough to take care of the symptoms and restore function without pain.  However, there needs to be a comprehensive approach to this care.  You must address the soft tissue health, the proper joint function, the nerve health, postural positions, strength capacity, AND movement patterns.  You cannot just pick one and roll the dice.  If you fail to correct postural and movement patterns then treatment will likely fail or the problem will shortly reoccur.  We see this many times in our office as patients come to us after numerous other practitioners have failed to resolve the problem.  This is not because they are bad at the services they provide, it is simply because they did not address all of the problems at the same time.

Understand the basic premise behind sciatica treatment is taking pressure off of the sciatic nerve, wherever the compression may be happening.  Whether this is caused by scar tissue, poor joint movement, or poor functional patterns, it doesn’t really matter.  All we have to do is uncover all the dysfunctions, restore normal function, and then let the body heal on its own.  If you are suffering from sciatica, just make sure that your sciatica treatment program is comprehensive and addressing all these areas to ensure you the best chance for success.

Does a Chiropractor Only Adjust People?

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Most people think of a chiropractor as someone who adjusts you and then sends you on your way. Whether that’s the result of an experience they have had or just a perception, they believe there isn’t much more to it than that. While adjusting is important, we believe it’s only a small piece of the puzzle. There are many other aspects that we address with every client.

Chiropractor

We look at soft tissue health and function, how the nervous system is functioning, and whether your muscles are firing properly and in the right order. We also address functional movement as well as analyze posture with a digital program to see how it may affect activity, movement and basic core support structure. Nutritional and hormone health is also very important, and we have many tools to address these needs as well.

Ultimately, we optimize the entire system, and don’t just focus on one thing.

The reason we are able to do this is because I have expertise in multiple areas and not just in spine health.

I started my career as a strength trainer. This allowed me to focus on training the body to perform better and focus on physical health. I then received my doctorate from chiropractic school, which taught me about joint movement, nervous system functions, nutritional health, disease processes, and overall human health. During and after chiropractic school I spent many years training in Active Release Therapy, which focuses on treating the soft tissue of the body – which is essentially everything that’s not bone.

I’ve also completed studies in functional movement training which focuses on identifying dysfunctional movement patterns and how to address them. This also included looking at muscle firing patterns and how dysfunctional patterns can cause major problems.

More recent post-grad specialized training has been in functional nutrition, functional endocrinology, and sports medicine. This knowledge allows me to analyze a client’s complete health through comprehensive lab testing and create customized programs to make sure the body is working from the inside out.

When you take a look at our practice, it includes all of these elements. Each is important for your overall health. Although adjusting the spine is an important piece, it’s only a small piece. Our goal is to take a holistic view of your health and help you improve it.

If you are interested in learning more, please give us a call at 949-387-0060.

Cannons and Canoes

cannon

Cannons and Canoes

One of my favorite quotes as it relates to power creation in the human body I read many years ago in Stuart McGill’s “Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance”. When speaking about how the body can generate the most power the book says, “You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe”. This image has stuck with me ever since I first read it and seems to simply explain how we need to address the athlete’s conditioning if we want to ultimately create maximum power. The absolute, crushing power of a cannon ball shot from a cannon is unmistakable. If you decided one day that you wanted to create a cannon with more power that could ultimately create more force, the first instinct would be to build a bigger cannon that used a bigger cannon ball. This is often the same instinct that we have as athletes when it relates to our sport. Getter faster on the bike means getting a better bike, a lighter shoe, a lighter wheel, or more aerodynamic frame. To get faster, runners want to get the best shoe and just run more miles. To get bigger muscles athletes think only to lift heavier weights and lift them more often. While all of these things do help to improve the performance of the athlete, the most important piece of equipment is often neglected: the body.
Let’s look back at our example of the cannon. What if all the focus was placed on building a bigger cannon and heavier cannon ball without paying much attention to the stability of the cannon. This is eloquently illustrated by thinking about firing a cannon from a canoe. If you put a powerful cannon on a canoe and fired it, the explosion would cause more energy displaced in the movement of the canoe rather than in the propulsion of the cannon ball. This same principle can be seen with athletes. Too often athletes are narrowly focused on big muscles and better gear, rather than focusing on the stability of their cannon. Remember that the more you stabilize the cannon, the more power you can create when shooting the cannon ball. Any loss in the stability of the cannon directly relates to loss of power in the firing of the ball. This is no different than the human body. If athletes lack proper stability then maximum power can never be created. This goes for every sport: golf, running, cycling, basketball, football, etc. Taking the cannon off of the canoe and putting it on the ground obviously yields better results. For the highly competitive athlete this needs to be taken one step further. Not only does the cannon need to be on solid ground, but it needs to be completely immobilized so that no energy is wasting moving the cannon when fired. This ultimate stability of the cannon allows for maximum force dispersed to the cannon ball.
For the athlete, this ultimate stability needs to be realized not only through the proper fitness training, but also through optimizing the stability of the internal health. Let’s briefly discuss these two:
Proper fitness training for the athlete needs to be very specific to what muscles and movements are involved in the sport. It also needs to build an athlete from the ground-up. This means making sure there is a proper base strength and muscular control from which power and strength can be built upon. It is far too common to see athletes who focus on power and strength, but have very poor stabilizing capacity and fine motor control.
Optimizing internal health is probably never even considered by the athlete as a way to ‘stabilize the cannon’. This is where I find true performance enhancement can really be achieved. Getting bigger, stronger, or faster is completely determined by an athletes ability to recover. This was discussed at length in a previous blog (read here: http://momentumsportstherapy.com/category/sports-and-fitness/) so we’ll keep it simple here. Just know that improving your overall health is the absolute best way to be able to train harder and recover faster. Using specified lab work, precise nutritional intervention, and high-quality supplementation can give athletes huge advantages in competition.
If you are a serious athlete that either wants to compete at a high level or stay in the sport for many years, start to consider that optimizing your health is the first priority to achieving those goals.

Heart-Attack or Rib Dysfunction?

heart attack, rib dysfunction, is my rib out

This blog article is a personal story, and thus a little long.  A couple months ago I was struck with severe pain in the right side of my chest.  There was no trauma or single incident that caused the pain.  It gradually began one day and became increasingly severe over the next couple of days.  Like many of my patients, the only thing that I could recall as potentially being the cause was some hard workouts the week prior to the pain beginning.  This not only caused severe chest pain, but it also began to cause other symptoms that most people would not correlate to a musculoskeletal injury.  I began to have acid reflux, heartburn, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.  Sleep became difficult and work became touch-and-go with pain increasing throughout each work day.  Luckily, because of my training and profession I was about 90% sure of the diagnosis.  However, there was a small part of me that gave some thought to the potential of the pain stemming from the heart.  While my pain was on the right side, all of the other symptoms made me question my diagnosis.  Had the pain been on the left side as well then I would have had more of a questions in my mind and the heart consideration would have been stronger.  However, I was pretty confident that my pain was due to a rib dysfunction on the front of my chest.  So, like a good chiropractor, I made an appointment with my chiropractor and mentor.  Although, because of a family history of heart conditions I also made an appointment with a trusted medical doctor for the following day, should the rib adjustment not prove to be the root of the pain and other symptoms. 

One visit to my chiropractor (some ART and adjustments to the ribs and spine) and the pain was 80% decreased and was isolated to just chest pain, instead of being accompanied by reflux, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.  More treatments and self-care were still needed to fully recover, but luckily my diagnosis was correct and the visit to my medical doctor was not necessary.

To this day, I still marvel at the fact that anyone else in this situation who was not a chiropractor would have probably went immediately to their medical doctor.  And this would have been the right decision as it is never wise to procrastinate on medical care if heart complications are suspected.  However, the unfortunate thing is that they would have went through extensive (and expensive) testing only to find that ‘everything looks good’.  Blood tests, an EKG, an x-ray, and maybe even a stress test would show that the heart is healthy.  They would be told they were fine and sent home with some prescription meds to mask the pain.  So, thousands of dollars later the patient would not be given much direction on how to solve the real problem and would be sent home to just let time heal everything.  Unfortunately, many times ribs do not just ‘fix themselves‘ over time and pain will last until the rib is corrected with a chiropractic adjustment.

I guess the point of this article is to show that there is a place for all health professionals in healthcare.  Medical professionals are fantastic at what they do.  In severe, acute-care situations, we have the best in the world.  However, when none of the serious conditions are confirmed with medical testing, the default treatment should not just be to pull out the prescription pad.  Especially in this situation, where relief of symptoms would not occur until a chiropractor correctly fixed the rib dysfunction.  No health professional knows everything, nor should they pretend to know everything.  In the event that the cause of a patient’s pain or symptoms is unknown, it is never OK to just dismiss their symptoms and assign the best known drug to mask all symptoms.  Just as I would expect any competent chiropractor to refer a patient out of his or her office should they need medical attention, so too do I expect a medical professional to refer to a competent chiropractor, or other therapist, should the root cause of the problem not be discovered with their knowledge base.  My rib dysfunction just reinforced this concept in my mind as this particular case would have cost a patient a significant amount of money and anxiety, and resulted in nothing but a recommendation to take harmful medications.  If your doctor will not be an advocate for your overall health, please take your health into your own hands and seek out a healthcare professional who cares enough to figure out the underlying cause of your symptoms.  While medications can be very helpful in many circumstances and can definitely help modify pain, it is up to the patient to not be satisfied with that as a treatment protocol or way to fix anything.  Having a team of health professionals that you trust is imperative, not only in the medical world, but also in the world of conservative care.  After all, the vast majority of symptoms that you will encounter in your lifetime will not necessitate true medical care. 

What is Neuromuscular Therapy?

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is a specialized form of manual therapy. A therapist trained in NMT is educated in physiology of the nervous system and its effect on the muscular and skeletal system. It is a structurally integrative, comprehensive program of recovery from acute and chronic pain syndromes, which utilize specific manual techniques, stretching and breath work to eliminate the causes of most neuromuscular pain patterns. It can be used for prevention, injury recovery and general well being. 

massageBy definition, NMT is the utilization of static pressure on specific myofascial points to relieve pain. This technique manipulates the soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, and connective tissue) to balance the central nervous system. In a healthy individual, nerves transmit impulses (which are responsible for every movement) to the body very slowly. Injury, trauma, postural deficiencies or stress cause nerves to speed up their transmission, inhibiting equilibrium and making the body prone to pain and dysfunction.

This type of therapy often concentrates on painful spots within a tight muscle or its fascia, the strong connective tissue surrounding muscles, called trigger points. These tender sites can cause pain by shortening the muscle or causing referred pain patterns, which is a pain in a location other than the trigger point site. By releasing these adhesions and trigger points the nervous system is able to stabilize low levels of neurological activity to maintain normal function and overall health.

NMT treats the following elements to alleviate pain and dysfunction within the soft tissue:

Ischemia: is a decreased blood supply to the connective tissue. This is very common within tight muscles. This can lead to hypersensitivity at the site of pain. Ischemic compression can cause a rush of blood to the area. Pressure is then reapplied and released until pain is lessened.

Nerve Entrapment: is when soft tissue or bone applies pressure to a nerve. This can often lead to intense shooting pain along that nerve.

Postural & Biomechanical Distortion: is an imbalance of the muscular system resulting from improper movement patterns, stress or trauma. The movements of both the longitudinal and horizontal planes are faulty.

Poor nutrition and hydration: is an deficiency in the health and well-being of the body.  Food is our medicine and if we don’t take care of that area the body begins to be thrown out of balance and therefore pain begins.

Distorted Breath Patterns: One of the first signs of stress and anxiety is a constricted breathing. When the body starts to take shallow short breaths instead of breathing at a natural pace, it is near impossible for one to reach a relaxed state.

At Momentum Sports Therapy our NMT therapists not only eliminate the pain your having but educate you on ways to prevent the recurrence of your specific injury or distortion. We want you to be well! NMT fills a void left by traditional health care by analyzing soft tissue causes of pain.

According to research approximately 80% of pain systems are considered idiopathic, which means there is no known cause.

We believe that treating the body as a functional unit we are able to treat symptoms that have eluded other well qualified health professionals. Our training and experience is a way to unlock the hidden sources of pain.

To experience the skill of one of our Neuromuscular Therapists contact our office today at (949)387-0060.

How Does Your Spine Get Out of Place?

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There are several ways your spine can get out of place.  But before I get into how it gets out of place, it’s important to know what that actually means.  Typically, when most people say things like, ‘I threw my back out,’ it doesn’t literally mean their spine is twisted or the bones aren’t where they are supposed to be.  Most of the time, it’s because one of the joints in your spine has lost a specific motion.  While this can cause the bones to not be exactly where they should be because they lost a specific motion, it is better to correlate ‘back out’ with joints not moving.   

source of lower back pain, lower back pain chiropractor orange county, chiropractor lake forest

When you see a chiropractor, our goal is to restore motion to that joint.  For example, if a joint in your spine won’t rotate to the right, my job is to restore that specific motion so you can move better.  Knowing this will help you better understand how your spine gets out of place. 

There are a few common ways your spine can get ‘out of place’. 

The first, and most obvious, is trauma.  If you are playing sports and you fall really hard on your back, it can cause your joints to get locked in certain positions.  Other common causes of trauma to the back are car accidents.  Depending on the severity of the accident, the shock of the crash can cause severe trauma to your spine in a number of different ways. 

Another common reason for your spine getting out of place is poor posture.  If you constantly have poor posture, you are slowly losing the ability to have mobility in your spine.  For example, if you sit at a computer or drive a car all day, you are probably hunching forward a lot.  Over a period of time, your body adapts to this hunched position and begins to lose the ability to move backwards or be upright. 

Over time, the joints, tendons, muscles, and ligaments gets accustomed to this position and become the new ‘normal’ posture. This is why a lot of people who sit at their computer all day often end up with shoulders that are constantly rolled forward and a head that is out in front of their body.  This new ‘normal’ greatly stresses the spine and significantly reduces motion and leads to a spine that degenerates much faster than it should.

Your spine can get out of place if you have certain muscles that are tight and others are weak.  I see a lot of people who need the same joint in their spine adjusted over and over again.  When this is the case, the muscles need to be addressed to make sure it doesn’t keep happening.  Going back to the sitting and hunching forward example, I typically see people with tight chest muscles and weak back muscles.  As a result, they commonly have pain and tightness in the upper back and/or neck.  Over time, as the joints are being pulled forward, they lose the ability to be straight or go back a healthy postural position.  This can cause a lot of pain and decreases the body’s ability to move, necessitating the rest of the body to compensate. 

Having a spine that is functioning properly and has proper range of motion is critical to your health.  All of your nerves stem from the spinal cord which is protected by the spine.  If your spine is degenerating or is dysfunctional, it will have a dramatic effect on how your body operates. 

Whenever I work on a patient, I assess each joint to see how it is moving.  If it isn’t moving properly, I work on the muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons to restore motion. 

If you would like to know more about how we can help get your spine back in place, please contact us at 949-916-9742. 

Pain is NOT Normal

It’s common for me to see a new patient who is in some kind of pain – maybe it’s their knee, or shoulder, or something else. It’s been hurting the last couple weeks or months and they need to get it fixed. However, when I ask about any other type of pain, they say something like, “My lower back hurts too, but it’s been like that for 15 years so I just live with it. That’s just normal for me so I’ve learned to deal with it .”

pain is not normal, chronic pain help, solutions for chronic pain

When I hear this, I literally want to shake them! I don’t. However, I do explain that pain is not normal no matter how long it’s been or what you have tried or not tried to fix it. Only in a very few circumstances is pain something that can’t be avoided without drugs or surgery.

Here’s the thing, pain is like a warning light in your car, or a signal telling you that something is wrong. If you are experiencing pain, it means that something in your body is not working right or is being damaged. Your body is telling you that the machine is not functioning properly and needs to be tuned-up. Would you let the warning light in your car remain on for over 10 years?

You should not ignore it and you definitely shouldn’t mask it with painkillers.

Pain – especially chronic pain – can damage your body in many different ways. Not only is the area that is experiencing pain damaged and continuing to be damaged, but it also affects other parts of your body.

For example, if you have lower back pain, you might unknowingly alter the way you walk, sit, or stand to try to accommodate for your pain. This might work in the short term, but your altered walking/sitting/standing can easily create dysfunction in other areas, such as the hips and knees. If you let this continue and ignore or mask the pain, you not only are going to have lower back pain, but your knees and hips are going to degenerate much faster than normal. The “normal” pain you experience over a long period of time can actually cause many more problems, often necessitating long, expensive and invasive treatments to fix or cure once the pain becomes unbearable.

However, if you take care of it when you first notice it, you can avoid all of this, and live a much healthier, pain-free life. Too often people wait until pain is severe or in multiple locations. This drastically complicates treatment, recovery times, and the ability to create a lasting, complete resolution to the problem.

It’s also important to note that masking the pain with painkillers doesn’t actually make things better. If you are experiencing everyday pain – like your back hurts every morning or every time you sit down at work – just because you can take some painkillers and make it go away doesn’t mean it’s fixed.

Additionally, painkillers (over-the-counter and prescription alike), are not good to take on a regular basis. Taking drugs to lessen the pain introduces toxins into your body that you have to process. Doing this for years on end can have a major affect on your body. It also doesn’t allow your warning lights (pain signals) to work appropriately and let you know when further damage is being done.

In fact, the FDA announced last year that Acetaminophen, a common painkiller used in Tylenol and many other over-the-counter medicines, can cause severe liver damage and failure with even a small amount of the drug. 

Needless to say, taking a painkiller every day can be very damaging to your body in many ways.

Overall, it’s important to be in touch with your body. If your body is telling you something – especially in the form of pain – listen to it and do something about it. Pain is a signal that allows us to know when something is going wrong and helps us avoid things that are dangerous.

If you are experiencing chronic pain, we can help. We offer a free consultation to first-time clients and can help you understand how we can help and what options you have. Just give us a call at 949-916-9742.

The Real Source of Shoulder Pain

real source of shoulder pain, chiropractor orange county, chiropractor lake forestThroughout my week, I see a lot of people who have shoulder pain. Shoulder pain is a common ailment. In fact, a study by the National Ambulatory Medical Care showed that shoulder pain was associated with an injury in one third of visits to doctors. 

Because the shoulder is such a complex joint, there are a lot of things that can cause pain there. Most people label it as rotator cuff pain, but there are a lot more things that can go wrong in the shoulder besides injury to one of the four rotator cuff muscles.

The shoulder is considered a complex joint. It is a ball and socket joint, so there are a lot of things that have to work together in order for it to function properly. Additionally, because of the location on the body, there are many other muscles, ligaments and joints that affect the positioning and function of the shoulder. Because of this, when people complain of shoulder pain, it’s really important to identify what exactly is injured and what is causing that dysfunction. If you don’t address the underlying dysfunction, even if you eliminate the pain in the shoulder, it will probably come back at a later time.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean.

#1: If someone has poor posture and his or her upper back is curved too much, it pushes the shoulder forward. If the shoulder is pushed forward, it isn’t in the proper position, making it impossible to work properly. If you don’t address the spinal position, the injury won’t go away.

#2: If one of the ligaments is damaged, too tight or too loose, the joint will never function properly. Again, this will prevent the injury from getting better.

#3: If a patient has really tight chest muscles, it can pull the shoulder forward and out of proper position. If you don’t get the chest muscles to release, the shoulder will never sit in the proper position.

#4: Most people suffer from some kind of neck tension or upper trap tightness. This pulls the shoulder blade up, pulling the shoulder out of position and causing dysfunction in the shoulder joint.

If someone is complaining of shoulder pain, we look at how the entire system around the shoulder is functioning. It’s easy to address the painful area, but if you don’t also address the underlying dysfunction, it will never heal, or will be re-injured again. If you’d like to learn more about this approach, I wrote a blog post recently addressing the issue of pain care versus functional care and the differences between them.

If you are suffering from shoulder pain, I encourage you to contact us. Let us take a look at it and show you what we can do to fix the pain in addition to the underlying issue that is causing the pain. We offer a free consultation to help you understand how our process works. Give us a call at 949-916-9742.

Orange County Chiropractor Receives Readers Choice Award

OC Parenting Magazine names Dr. Vince DiSaia Orange County’s best chiropractor

Best orange county chiropractor, top orange county chiropractor, sports therapy chiropractorDr. Vince DiSaia, Founder and Clinic Director of Momentum Sports Therapy, has been named the “Best Chiropractor” in OC Parenting Magazine’s 2014 Reader’s Choice Awards. The award was given to Dr. DiSaia after he received the most votes from the magazine’s readers.

According to OC Parenting Magazine, “Over 39,799 votes were cast across 89 categories, resulting in this one-of-a-kind annual directory from the moms and dads of Parenting OC.” This is the 12th annual Readers Choice Awards hosted by the publication.

“I am honored to be named as this year’s best chiropractor,” says Dr. DiSaia. “I am constantly looking for ways to provide the best care possible for my patients and it’s nice to be recognized for that.”

Dr. DiSaia holds a Doctorate of Chiropractor from Southern California University of Health Sciences and has been in private practice for more than 10 years. He has also authored a highly successful book named Golf Anatomy, which has sold more than 30,000 copies worldwide, is available in over 13 languages, and has been featured in Golf Digest Magazine.

Located in Lake Forest, California, Momentum Sports Therapy specializes in caring for the entire patient. They utilize multiple avenues to ensure that all aspects of health are address. Some of these services include Chiropractic care, Active Release Techniques (ART), Functional Medicine, Sports Massage, Nutritional Counseling, Weight Loss, Fitness Training, and rehabilitation exercises. Every program is designed to ensure that a patient’s performance will be optimized while injuries are eliminated, without the use of drugs, injections, or surgeries. The clinic just celebrated it’s third year in practice.

“We believe that our patients should be able to practice the activities they love without experiencing pain or inhibition,” says Dr. DiSaia. “Too many injuries and conditions these days are treated with drugs or surgery as the first option, and we believe that patients should have access to less invasive treatments that can considerably improve their mobility and quality of life. True health is achieved by giving the body what it needs naturally rather than adding more bandaids and toxins. Your body is the most efficient healing machine imaginable and it just needs to proper direction.”

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Momentum Sports Therapy is a full-service chiropractic clinic specializing in sports training and rehabilitation. Located in Lake Forest, California, the clinic opened in 2011 under the direction of Vince DiSaia, DC. To learn more about Momentum Sports Therapy or Dr. DiSaia, please visit the website: http://www.momentumsportstherapy.com

 

The Real Source of Lower Back Pain

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I frequently see people who are suffering from lower back pain. It’s a common injury that most people suffer from at some point. Sometimes it’s the first time they have had this kind of pain, but often I see people who ‘throw their back out’ several times a year.

source of lower back pain, lower back pain chiropractor orange county, chiropractor lake forestUnfortunately, as a society, pain in the lower back is become more and more common because of the way we live. But what most people don’t understand is that pain in the lower back is not usually attributable to weak back muscles. People will often try to strengthen their muscles to prevent back injury. Although it helps to have strong back muscles, it probably won’t fix your back pain.

In order to understand lower back pain, it’s important to understand how the lower back should function. The lower back is not meant to move a whole lot, but is meant to be stable. It’s supposed to be a primary stabilizer. It’s our hips and mid-back that should be the primary movers in order to function properly. However, because we sit at desks, sit in cars and sit on couches for most of the day, it makes the lower back a primary mover. Those positions force our lower back to move and work a lot more than it’s designed to, fatiguing and straining them.

The real source of lower back pain is weak muscles in the hip, pelvis or hip flexors. Because these muscles are not being used the way they were meant to, they become weak and even damaged. This puts extra stress on the lower back, causing it to be overworked, which is when the back usually becomes injured.

A common example of lower back pain often starts with the glute muscles. They are attached to the hip and pelvis. When they get weak or build up with scar tissue, the range of motion of the hips begins to decrease. Once this happens, the back has to take over, which results in the spine doing more work than it’s supposed to.

This also explains why it’s usually not a significant activity that initiates the back pain. It’s usually caused by something as simple as bending over to pick up an object. It wasn’t that specific motion that caused the pain, it was months or years of your lower back being overworked that caused it.

When I treat patients with lower back pain, the key is getting everything around the lower back strong and healthy. Essentially, this will allow the lower back to take a break. Once it doesn’t have to work so hard, it is able to heal and begin functioning properly again.

When I first see someone with lower back pain, many times I am able to make a significant difference in his or her pain in the first treatment. I take the approach of treating the areas first, then retraining the body to use the hips as the primary movers which reduces stress to the low back. This will prevent it from happening again.

If you have lower back pain and would like a free consultation, please give us a call at 949-916-9742.

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