What’s The Cause Of My Lower Back Pain?

The most common condition that I see at Lowery Chiropractic Clinic is back pain. Most of us have experienced pain in the back after activity or strenuous exercise. However, sometimes this pain can become chronic and last for weeks, months, or years.

Many people begin to accept that low back pain is becoming a problem once it affects their ability to perform daily activities or work duties.

They may not realize their relationships may start to suffer as well. When we are in pain, we could become irritable or distant in our emotional duties to friends and family.

You may feel your lower back pain is under control, but would your loved ones say the same?

The truth is that many times, low back pain is caused by a non-organic, musculoskeletal issue. This means that it is not a cancer, fracture, disease, or other diagnosis.

It may simply be a biomechanical issue where the joints are locked up, inflamed, and irritated.

Chiropractic care stands head and shoulders above other approaches to treat low back pain. One reason that chiropractic is successful is that it attacks the cause and not the symptoms.

When you see improvement, you know that your problem is being fixed not covered up.

At Lowery Chiropractic Clinic, I will ensure that you are given a proper diagnosis and discuss treatment options that are available inside and outside our office.

I maintain relationships with practitioners in the Tallahassee area that are leaders in their fields. If you are ready to take back control of your health and life, contact my office today.

I look forward to getting you on the path to health.

Shoulders Pain

The shoulder is the one structure that relies on all major areas of your spine for proper function — your neck, your upper back and your lower back — so it’s one of the most chiropractic relevant joints too.

Nerve supply to the shoulder and arm originate from the neck. As a result, any conditions that irritate the nerves as they exit the neck can cause symptoms in the shoulder, arm or hand. Disc bulges, joint degeneration and inflammation, as well as vertebral subluxations can all cause nerve irritation in the neck. If any of these conditions are causing shoulder pain, chiropractic can help ease soreness.

A little-known fact is that your shoulder directly connects to your lower back area via a muscle called the latissimus dorsi. This muscle is one of the prime mover muscles of the arm when used in any pulling motion.

If your lower back is painful or-dysfunctional, your latissimus dorsi can become affected, leading to shoulder restriction and pain. Also, shoulder issues can influence the functional balance of your back. Therefore, it’s important to have your entire spine checked by your chiropractor, even when your symptoms are located in a single joint like the shoulder.

The shoulder blade (scapula) is the bone that contains the socket of the shoulder joint — also called the glenoid fossa. Since the shoulder blade rests against the ribcage in the upper back, irritation or improper positioning of this area of the spine can cause dysfunction that directly affects the shoulder. Rib subluxations and vertebral subluxations are very common in this area. Thankfully, both of these conditions are easily correctible with chiropractic adjustments!

Stability vs. Mobility – The Dilemma

The shoulder joint is classified as a ball-and-socket joint, making it one of the most mobile joints in the human body. However, unlike the hip joint, the socket of the shoulder is very shallow, making it structurally more unstable. This instability requires an intricate system of muscles (rotator cuff) to support it. The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles:

Unfortunately, these muscles are called upon to perform two functions: stabilization and movement. This leaves the rotator cuff more prone to stress and strain, especially when the shoulder position is compromised by poor posture or repetitive movements. Rotator cuff problems are typically the cause of numerous shoulder symptoms like bursitis. tendonitis, shoulder impingement or peripheral nerve entrapment. Your chiropractor can test for each of these conditions and, if found, will suggest the best treatment recommendations for you.

Proper Posture Sets the Tone

Statistics show that computer usage is increasing dramatically. Internet use in the household has increased from 18% in 1997 to 62% in 2007. 3 Many of us are guilty of spending hours sitting at the computer in a poor postural position. This can lead to a situation whereby the muscles of the chest and front of the neck are shortened, and the postural muscles of the upper back are lengthened, putting them in position.

Over time, not only does this lead to stress and strain of the postural muscles around the neck and upper back, but it also places the shoulder joint slightly out of position. As a result, every movement the shoulder experiences in this faulty position increases the wear and tear on the joint and makes it vulnerable to arthritic changes. Muscle imbalances often lead to shoulder joint problems. Pay attention to your posture, and sure to exercise and stretch the muscles of the shoulders to maintain proper balance and shoulder position.

Shoulder problems are complex. They can be related to every major area of your spine – lumbar, thoracic and cervical. Be sure to have your spine adjusted regularly to maintain proper spinal hygiene.

Good alignment is the starting point for proper function of any joint. The shoulder is no exception. With the susceptibility for the shoulder to dislocate, this makes proper alignment of the shoulder even more important. The length and strength of muscles – around the shoulder joint determine the shoulder’s structural integrity.



young black woman having headache isolated on whiteMost of us experience the occasional headache. Whether it’s throbbing, aching, pounding or stabbing, a headache can make our lives miserable. It also affects our ability to focus and may increase our sensitivity to external stimuli.

There are several types of headaches, and each one has a different cause. The most common headaches are tension, migraine, cervicogenic and cluster. Migraines are often considered to exist in a category of their own. (We’ll discuss migraines in the next issue of Topic of the Week.)

Tension Headache

The tension headache is the most frequent type of headache in the general population) It usually occurs most frequently in people susceptible to the effects of stress. This headache usually starts with tightness in the neck and shoulders, then progresses to pain at the base of the skull. The forehead and temples may also ache.

Cervicogenic Headache

A cervicogenic headache originates from disorders of the neck. This type of headache is often preceded by awkward neck movement or positioning (such as painting a ceiling, or washing a floor). It’s usually accompanied by restricted range of motion in the neck and pain in the shoulder, neck or arm.

Treatment for Tension and Cervicogenic Headaches

A frequent cause of both tension and cervicogenic headaches is irritation of the nerves leading to the scalp. These nerves exit the spine close to the base of the skull and pass around or directly through several layers of muscle tissue. If this area of the spine is restricted or the muscles in this location are extra tight, the nerves in the scalp can get irritated. When related with neck pain and stiffness, these headaches can generally be effectively treated with chiropractic. 2-5 Sometimes the relief from chronic headaches can be immediate and dramatic. Massage and trigger point therapy applied to the tight muscles may also reduce the symptoms associated with this type of headache.

Cluster Headache

Cluster headaches are relatively rare – affecting only 0.1% of the population. About 85% of cluster headache sufferers are male.’ This headache is distinct from migraine and tension headaches. It typically features intense bouts of stabbing pain felt in very specific focal areas of the skull. The pain usually occurs in clusters, and it can last from minutes to hours. The discomfort typically centers around one eye, and this eye may be inflamed and watery. Nasal congestion sometimes occurs on the affected side of the face. It’s suspected that cluster headaches are related to the sinuses.

This type of headache is not usually as responsive to chiropractic treatments as other headaches. But it’s a good idea to have your chiropractor check your neck to rule out any involvement of this area.

What Can I Do to Prevent Headaches?

Follow these simple tips:

Carpal Tunnel

Chiropractic Can Lend a Hand for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Your chiropractor is skilled at treating carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) – a painful condition involving the hand and wrist. Symptoms often include numbness, tingling, weakness, or muscle-wasting in the thumb and index finger. The fingers may also have a tendency to feel swollen, although no swelling is present. All of these symptoms are attributed to an irritation of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel.

Female with pain in her forearm. Black and White with a red spot around the painful area. Isolated.Since the carpal tunnel is a physically limited space, any swelling or inflammation within this space will also cause compression of the median nerve. One of the most common causes of this compression is the inflammation of the tendons passing through the carpal tunnel. This irritation is usually associated with repetitive activities involving the small muscles of the hand, such as typing, knitting or sewing.

Although a person working at a computer station is thought to be the most prone to CTS, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) estimates that assembly-line workers are three times more likely to suffer from CTS than data-entry personnel. Women are also more likely to be treated for CTS, and NINDS suggests that this may be due to the fact they have smaller carpal tunnels than men.

Although a true case of CTS is attributed to the compression of the median nerve at the writ, irritation anywhere along the length of this nerve can lead to symptoms that mimic this syndrome.

The median nerve leaves the spinal cord at the lower part of the neck, where it starts out as a series of nerve roots. These roots then unite to form part of the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus then divides into several more specific nerves, at which point the median nerve becomes distinct.

Vertebral subluxations can cause irritation and/or inflammation of the nerve roots, as they pass very close to the joints and discs of the neck.

The median nerve must also travel through or around several muscles on its way to the arm and hand. Specific muscles that can be involved include the scalene muscles of the neck, the pectoral muscles of the chest, and the flexor muscles of the forearm. Tightness or inflammation of any of these muscles may serve as a source of irritation to the nerve. If positions that stretch or tighten these muscles reproduce symptoms, it’s likely that this could be contributing to CTS.

Chiropractors are specifically trained in the art of locating and correcting sources of nerve interference caused by irritation and joint restriction. Orthopedic and neurological tests are used to determine the source of irritation.

And chiropractic adjustments are used to restore proper mechanical function of the involved joints – including the wrist, elbow or cervical spine. When it comes to carpal tunnel syndrome, prevention of the problem is always recommended. You should…

Other factors shown to contribute to CTS include tobacco, caffeine and alcohol consumption.’ Diabetics may also be more susceptible to experiencing CTS.

If you start to feel the symptoms of CTS, ice the wrist several times a day to decrease inflammation in the area. Consult with your chiropractor to ensure that you have proper positioning and movements of the joints and to test whether there are other contributing factors besides the carpal tunnel. To stop the problem worsening, you may require splints or braces. Studies have shown chiropractic care to be an effective tool to reduce the symptoms of CTS.


The Deceiving Nature of Whiplash

The traffic light ahead turns red. You bring your vehicle to a stop. Then BANG! Your head snaps forward then backward. Your car is hurtled a foot into the intersection. You realize almost immediately what just happened. Your vehicle was rear ended. Other than being startled by the event, you’re okay… or are you?Despite feeling fine, you may have just received a common and sometimes serious injury: whiplash. Your chiropractor can tell you that it’s often a deceiving injury.

Whiplash Damage

When your vehicle is rear ended, your neck can get stretched beyond its natural range of motion. Whiplash can occur at speeds as low as 5 mph. You may feel pain quickly or you may not develop symptoms for several hours, weeks, or months. Your neck (cervical spine) contains muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, joints and nerves confined to a relatively small area. And whiplash can injure all these body components.

Although it happens most frequently in rear-end vehicle collisions, whiplash can occur in other situations – especially in the sports of football, gymnastics, boxing and contact martial arts.

Besides the neck and upper back, pain from a whiplash may extend into other areas of the body, such as the arms and shoulders. You may also suffer muscle stiffness, burning or tingling sensations as well as headaches and numbness. Even if you don’t have any immediate whiplash symptoms, you should visit your chiropractor as soon as possible.


Shooting Back Pains?

Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction is typically a very painful condition involving the joints that connect your spine to your pelvis. The sacroiliac joints are formed by the sacrum, a bone at the bottom of the spine, and the large iliac bones, located on the left and right of the pelvis. Because of their anatomical position, SI joints can sometimes be considered part of your lower back or your pelvis. These joints support the upper body when sitting or standing.

If you have SI joint dysfunction, you may feel pain in various parts of your lower body, including the spine, buttocks, hips, groin and legs.

Many patients presenting with SI joint pain tend to think they either have sciatica or “tail-bone” pain. Although it can resemble other conditions, SI joint dysfunction is a distinct condition of its own. Your chiropractor needs to use keen diagnostic skills to diagnose the SI joints as the source of your pain.

Why suffer with back pain?

What Causes SI Joint Dysfunction?
SI joint dysfunction is often caused by a fall or injury, but it can also appear without a clear cause. Postural changes due to increased abdominal size can irritate these joints, as can muscle imbalances in the legs, lower back or hips. Sporting activities that require frequent use of these joints, such as golfing and cycling, may result in SI joint dysfunction.’

This joint problem often affects pregnant women. Hormonal changes occurring during pregnancy can cause ligaments to relax. When this happens, the SI joints have a more extended range of motion.  This broader flexibility can lead to abnormal wear and stress on these joints.

Fortunately, chiropractic can help in this situation. A study revealed “91% of women with sacroiliac/pelvic subluxations and lower back pain reported relief of pain with chiropractic adjustments.”

The Chiropractic Approach to a Baffling Condition

How does your chiropractor determine if you suffer from sacroiliac joint dysfunction?

Providing a detailed health history is helpful. Many times, a correct diagnosis can be drawn from the history alone. A physical examination will often be conducted to thoroughly exhaust all the various causes of the pain. Your chiropractor may ask detailed questions about the pain and direct you to point to the painful areas.

If your pain can be reproduced by special tests that challenge the integrity of the SI joints, you’ll find that this increases your odds of having a dysfunction of these joints. Applying direct pressure to the SI joints is one of the techniques used by chiropractors to resolve the problem.

The goal is to normalize both the movement and position of this area. You may be required to complete stretching and strengthening exercises for your lower back and pelvic areas to correct posture problems and gait patterns that may contribute to the inflammation of these joints. If instability of the SI joints is thought to be the cause of the pain, your chiropractor may recommend that you wear a special belt around your waist to stabilize the joints.

Can You Stop SI Problems Before They Happen?
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said the wise Ben Franklin. Your chiropractor suggests a couple of simple ways to minimize your chances of developing this painful problem.

Keep your body in good physical condition. This helps prevent many problems related to joints, muscles and bones. The second piece of advice is to shed excess pounds. Too much body weight places pressure on the joints and increases the possibility of damage.

By getting chiropractic adjustments and following your chiropractor’s advice, you boost your chances of living a life virtually free of muscle and joint pain.

Pregnancy Pain Getting Too Much?

Many times, expectant mothers feel like pain and pregnancy go hand-in-hand. Lowery Chiropractic is here to give you an option for a pain free pregnancy.

During this very special time, we encourage you to let us take care of the discomfort that comes along with the rapid changes that are occurring to your body.

We’ve successfully helped many Tallahassee mothers enjoy their pregnancy more when the pain is not a major focus.

We achieve this naturally, without medication or surgery. As the baby (and mom) grow, the weight will transfer to the pelvis, low back, and hips of the mother.

These changes occur so rapidly that the body has difficulty “keeping up” and adapting. Many times these joints will lock up under the new stresses.

Gentle chiropractic adjustments can unlock the joints and reintroduce normal movement and function.

This means less irritation, less inflammation, and less pain! The imbalance of muscles, tendons, and ligaments are another cause of pain.

Chiropractic can ease the tension on the soft tissues as well.

If you have been diagnosed with sciatica, round ligament pain, back pain, or other pregnancy related issues, call our chiropractic office and see if he can help.

Keep in mind that chiropractors are not only trained in the health and treatment of the spine. At Lowery Chiropractic, we treat the whole body including the ankles, knees, and wrists.

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