Low back pain is by far the most common reason to see a chiropractor. 30% of the UK is suffering with it at any one point, and to put it simply, fixing it is our bread and butter.
The low back, (lumbar spine), consists of 5 vertebral bones separated by discs. At the bottom is the Sacrum, a triangular bone which is joined to the pelvis by the 2 large 'sacro-iliac' joints.
Passing between each vertebra are bundles of nerves from the spinal cord supplying the low back, legs and feet. Often therefore, low back issues will effect these nerves, producing a wide variety of symptoms in the many areas they supply.
Sciatica - Irritation of the sciatic nerve which affects the deep tissue in the buttocks, down the inside of the thigh to the back of the calf. Often associated with low back pain, It can produce pain, numbness and tingling and in some cases, weakness within the areas it supplies.
Disc Herniation or "slipped disc" - Much less common than many people think. If the disc bulges (herniates) and irritates the nearby nerves, it can cause leg and/or buttock pain. It often results in reflex loss, and a variety of nerve symptoms including leg pain, numbness and tingling and even weakness in the muscles of the leg and foot.
Facet dysfunction - The joints of the spine are called facet joints. Where the tissue around them becomes inflamed or irritated, it can cause pain and restriction of the low back area, sometimes into the buttocks and tops of the legs.
Sacro-iliac joint dysfunction - The tissues surrounding the joints between the sacrum and pelvis can become irritated and inflamed leading to pain over the base of the spine and buttock and even into the leg.
Piriformis syndrome - the sciatic nerve passes through the piriformis muscle (in the buttocks), and can be compressed as it does so. This is one of the causes of sciatica and so causes sciatic symptoms.
Sprain / strain - the most common low back injury. If you over stress your back in some way, you can damage the muscles or ligaments that control it. Although typically the back will go into spasm during ordinary activities such as picking up the paper or putting on your socks, generally the back will have previously been undergoing small, accumulative injuries over a period of time, finally going into spasm as the problems exceed the body's ability to cope,.....often as you do something simple that normally requires no preparation.
Lumbar disc strain - injury to the disc may not be sufficient to cause herniation, but can be just as bad in terms of pain, though it does not go down the leg. Disc pain is felt as severe, localised pain, aggravated by bending forwards.
Scoliosis - Again, not a common problem, as it involves the spine twisting in reaction to some of the vertebrae being angled or misshapen. This can exist from birth if genetic or secondary to trauma if a fracture results in the irregular healing of vertabrae. Although this is a structural problem, there are many benefits to receiving chiropractic treatment for pain relief and improving joint, muscle and nerve function.