Chronic back pain can be complex. We know that the actual pain can come from the disc, facet joints, muscles, and/or ligaments. The spine needs mobility and movement, but it also needs stability and support. Once pain is present for over 3 months the condition is known as chronic rather than acute and the pain can become centralized. Meaning the injured tissue and nervous system sends pain signals to the brain and in chronic pain the actual tissue injury can be healed, but the pain signals to the brain can remain which leads to chronic pain.
What we know about treating chronic back pain?
Healing injured tissue
We know that certain exercises such as McKenzie exercises and flexion distraction/decompression therapy can help reduce disc herniations. (Many times, a patient has a directional preference. Meaning they tolerate treatment in one direction, but not the other and this can be used during treatment to maximize the benefits of treatment and exercises but decrease the pain and discomfort with treatment.) These exercises and treatment work the disc and spine to help reduce inflammation and increase nutrients and fluid into the disc to improve healing.
We also know chiropractic adjustments help decrease pain, improve range of motion in the spine, reduce the stress to muscles, ligaments and the joints of the spine. The chiropractic adjustment has also been shown to reset the centralized pain pathway to the brain. Meaning one way to get over chronic pain is to use manual therapies such as chiropractic adjustments and exercises to help the body move better. The more and longer we move the more likely the centralized pain is able to reset and we're able to decrease chronic pain.
Stability and Core Strength
We also know that increasing stability and support to the spine is Very Important to help decompress the spine, support, and improve the function of the spine. If we have the correct intra-abdominal pressure and a strong core this helps stabilize the spine and decreases the compression on the spine, disc, joints and stress on the muscles and ligaments. (No increasing core strength does not just mean doing 1,000 sit-ups a day will make our core strong. It is much more complex than that!) When dealing with chronic back pain it is important to have our Intra-abdominal pressure assessed and given the proper plan to improve the stability and strength.
We also know the individual muscles that need to be strengthened to help stabilize the spine. Intra-abdominal pressure exercises along with the bird dog, side bridge, bridge with marching or bridge single leg exercises target key muscles. They also allow the highest muscle activation of important muscles in the spine while decreasing the force or stress on the joints of the spine. This is very important in rehab and recovery to decrease the chance of injury while increasing the chance of recovery.
How do we bring it all together?
Due to the complexity of the spine and chronic back pain it can lead to patient frustration or many failed attempts at treatment. One simple treatment is not always the answer to these issues. Many times, a patient with chronic back pain needs treatment and/or exercises that focus on healing the disc or injured tissue while also improving the stability of their spine with strengthening and stability exercises. They also might need a chiropractic adjustment to help decrease the pain and allow them to complete their exercises in the first place. A different patient might not tolerate a chiropractic adjustment at all but responds well to a very gentle type of treatment such as flexion distraction due to high pain levels. Once the pain is decreased the intensity of treatment can be increased as tolerable. Trackable Goals are also needed so we can track the progress and know if a patient is progressing.
Experience and Results treating chronic back pain
Dr. Jeremy has spent the last 10 plus years learning the most effective treatment for the spine and back pain. There are no 1 size fits all approach for chronic back pain. Each patient is different and therefore no plan is the same. We know the types of treatment that promote healing of the spine. We also know the exercises and treatments needed to stabilize, strengthen, and support the spine. The trick is bringing these treatments together and creating a customized plan for each patient with trackable goals and know a patient is truly better, stronger, and able to function more in 2, 3, 4, 5 weeks than when they walked into our office on day 1.
Call Us and Begin Your Recovery Journey from Back Pain
Chronic Back pain can be a debilitating and frustrating condition, but there are many ways to manage it. Our treatment options at Pinnacle Chiropractic and Rehab in West Fargo, ND, include chiropractic care, rehab and strengthening exercises, and soft tissue therapies. Visit us or call us on (701) 532-1699 to schedule an appointment with our chiropractor.