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Back Pain: An Unwelcome Visitor | Lee’s Summit

You go through life relatively unscathed, with an occasional bump here or bruise there and barely a scratch to show for years of continued wear and tear, and then one day it hits you…POW! Your back, which up to this moment had been a lifelong ally, is now pitted against the rest of your body in a “battle royale”. And it all happens so innocently. You picked up a moving box with your knees locked as you bent forward; lifted your toddler off the floor in a distracted moment and then twisted; performed one too many downward facing dogs in yoga class; spent the weekend traveling as a roadie for KISS…the list is endless! And so your back pain is now unrelenting, forcing you to take action, which brings us to chiropractic.

As a chiropractor I’m amazed at how quickly this situation can be remedied—even for cases of chronic back pain that plagued the sufferer for decades. Chiropractic fixes the problem in the majority of cases, but what is the primary cause? If you find yourself with the unenviable condition of back pain, you too will go searching for the cause and (in doing so) present your chiropractor with the following question, “My back is killing me doc…now what can I do to prevent this from ever happening again?!” To which I will reply, “Why not consider the following…”

Getting a move on!

I know this will seem obvious, but moving daily prevents pain—sitting daily or being sedentary creates pain. To clarify, I’m not recommending running a daily marathon, training to become an MMA cage-fighter or joining a local roller derby team. No, what I’m alluding to is moving like a rational person who’s trying to be kind to their body, not an escaped mental patient emulating Johnny Knoxville. So often in our culture we feel the need to hammer our joints to the point where our bones are crushed to a fine powder—when simple walking, swimming, biking, yoga, Pilates, elliptical training, gardening and other modes of low-impact movements fit our needs admirably. Even if you simply walked around the block once a day, this would have an impact on your joints because, as it turns out, the life blood of the joint is movement. And when you visit a chiropractor, all that we provide you with is movement in the spine where the joint has become locked, stuck or fixated. It’s really that simple. We move what wasn’t moving and that movement takes away the pain—but if you continue to embrace daily movement after the treatment, you will find that life (and your back) will become much kinder to you.

Stop trying to build your body out of styrofoam!

Ok, so this obviously requires some explanation. Most Americans, myself included as a teenager, eat the food equivalent of Styrofoam. The food has calories, with a manufactured taste that’s appealing, but it provides nothing to the body of value. In short, the calories are empty. And so eating this way provides little to the body, which is rebuilding itself daily to meet the many demands of life. With these poor resources at hand, it’s like attempting to build a fortress out of confetti! You wouldn’t build your house out of straw (that never worked for the Three Little Pigs), so why build your body out of fast food, candy, soda and other convenience foods. Eating this way leads to illness and destroys the back—I see it all the time. We recommend the Paleo diet to most of our patients, which, at its essence, is nothing more than unprocessed, unadulterated organic food, with vegetables making up 80% of the diet and pastured animal foods making up the rest. Eat this way and your back pain and overall health will improve dramatically over time.

Connect your mind and body!

Most of us are unaware of our bodies. Sure, we’re aware our bodies exist, familiar with its movements and when there’s pain we cannot help but focus our undivided attention to the source within; but otherwise we are shut off to sensations and signals inside the body itself. We view acid reflux as nothing short of a mutiny within the stomach; shoulder tension as high treason conspired by unruly muscles; and gas as an unforgivable transgression of the colon to do its job and save us much public humiliation. But what if we were more connected and understood why this happens to us?

Take stress as an example. For most, stress is unceasing, and it wears upon us like a compression garment, tightly embedding its way into our bodies. You see it in the office worker pushing a 15 hour day trying to meet an impossible deadline; or the mother of 3, lovingly tending to each child while doing her best to keep the house from setting ablaze. I can feel the stress in others; the way it weaves itself into each individual muscle fiber, choking out precious blood supply, while placing a straight jacket of impaired mobility around my patient.

There is a way out, however, and it involves awareness sprinkled in with a few highly commendable mind/body strategies, such as:

  • Practicing mindful awareness
  • Meditating
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Spending time in nature by walking or gardening
  • Listening to binaural audio for relaxation
  • Laughing daily
  • Taking a relaxing Epsom salt bath
  • My patients who adopt these measures find that not only are they pain-free, but in the absence of pain they are able to more completely express themselves in all that they do, fully realizing who they are as people without barriers like pain to hold them back. Can you imagine a world such as this?

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