Lower back pain
Over half of all consultations with a chiropractor are due to lower back pain. Low back pain (lumbago) means pain in the lower part of the back. The pain typically extends in a band across the lower back and is often provoked by movement into extreme positions. There may also be a sensation of radiation to one or both legs. One then speaks of lumbago-sciatica.
Low back pain is very common and during a lifetime two-thirds will have had lower back pain for shorter or longer periods. In three-quarters of cases, no precise diagnosis can be made, and the pain is called non-specific or function-related low back pain, which simply means that the back is not working as it should. The chiropractor here uses the diagnosis "biomechanical dysfunction" when he has ruled out that there is a serious disorder behind the symptoms. In the remaining one-fourth, the cause of the lower back pain can be identified as disc herniation, osteoporosis, possibly with a fracture in the back, or various rheumatic diseases.
As with neck pain, a distinction is made between acute low back pain, which has lasted for less than six weeks, and chronic low back pain, which has lasted for at least three months.
Acutely occurring low back pain (stab in the back, witches' shot, facet syndrome) typically comes after a sudden overload, such as a lifting of a heavy object or an inappropriate "bend forward with a twisted upper body". Such lower back pain can often be severe, and the patient can be severely restricted in movement. The sitting position typically worsens the pain, while it can be experienced as a relief to move or to lie on the back with a bend. Chiropractic treatment typically shortens an episode of acute low back pain.
The causes of chronic lower back pain are usually very complex, and unfortunately our nervous system is set up in such a way that pain can be stored in the nerves, so that the pain is present long after the original cause of the pain is gone. There is scientific evidence behind the fact that chiropractic treatment is effective against chronic lower back pain - when it is combined with training of the lower back.