When pain strikes the lower back, we usually think it’s a new problem or injury. But why was coughing, shaving, doing the laundry, or whatever activity you were engaged in so different this time? These are things you probably do every day.
So, what is the problem?
The problem is a joint dysfunction or subluxation (different doctors may use different terms). This is a ligament problem that occurs by way of small micro traumas over many years, or sometimes with acute events such as car accidents or falls. Over time, the ligaments stretch, causing the joints and vertebrae to displace, irritating the delicate nerve fibers. But over a few days or weeks, the pain that accompanies this injury gradually lessens, and in many cases goes away all on its own.
But has the problem also gone away?
Likely not, because when ligaments are traumatized, the repair mechanism involves the creation of scar tissue, which is less elastic than the original tissue, and makes the joint vulnerable to re-injury and sometimes impairs the free and symmetrical motion of the spine. The doctor of chiropractic examines for this type of joint sprain using palpation for tenderness and edema, and possibly x-rays to see the directions the vertebrae have moved towards. These specific analyses can tell him or her the vulnerable directions and how the vertebrae need to be repositioned to promote good alignment and good posture.
The adjustment is designed to reduce this misalignment and induce more symmetric motion. When movements are asymmetrical in the spine, they can lead to premature degeneration of the spine and arthritis. This may be why a simple task such as lifting a laundry basket can flare up the back so easily. You may be lifting with good form and posture but with an asymmetrical spine, the loading is very off balance. Sometimes, the disks are so damaged that a simple sneeze is enough to cause excruciating pain. So, when these trivial events seem to trip you up, it means there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed and treated.