Among some of the top complaints patients seek a medical doctor for are coughing, ear aches, stomach aches, double vision and depression. However people also make thousands of appointments for lower back pain, even though most general practitioners have very little training in musculoskeletal problems. A patient of mine, who was a general practitioner, embarrassingly admitted that her schooling was very limited when it came to these types of problems. Medical doctors most commonly treat lower back pain by covering up the pain with medication or referring the patient to a physical therapist who is only trained to treat problems of the muscles. But, they can give the pain a name like lumbago which translates to back pain or sciatica which is defined as pain resulting from irritation of the sciatic nerve, typically felt from the low back to behind the thigh and radiating down below the knee, courtesy of medicinenet.com
Most commonly, lower back pain or sciatica is due to subluxations of the lumbar spine and or pelvis. A subluxation is a misalignment of a vertebrae which impinges upon a spinal nerve either directly or indirectly. The pinched nerve can cause pain, numbness, tingling or all three at the same time. The harder the nerve is pinched the further down the leg the pain will travel. The misaligned vertebrae becomes fixated or stuck in the wrong position which also causes decreased range of motion. Some other causes of back pain are disc herniation, tumors, kidney stones or spasming of the piriformis muscle.
If the back pain is caused by a subluxation or hypertonicity of the piriformis muscle a chiropractor is able to diagnose the problem and correct the cause instead of merely masking the pain with medication. Correcting the alignment removes the pressure from the nerve and allows the body to heal itself. Hypertonicity of the piriformis muscle is known as piriformis syndrome. The muscle gets so tight that it squeezes the sciatic nerve. Specific techniques and stretches performed by the chiropractor will allow the muscle to relax and decrease the pressure on the nerve eliminating the pain.
For additional information or to diagnose your specific problem, please see your local chiropractic expert for an evaluation to see if chiropractic can help you or someone you know.