Low Back Pain:
Is low back pain affecting your life?
If, like many people, you work at a computer or are sitting for long periods of your work day, you may be concerned about the possibility of developing back pain.
A recent review of studies linking long periods of sitting to lower back pain sheds some light on how concerned you should be. The review looked at workers who were sitting for more than half their working time, and were also exposed to whole body vibration (such as that experienced by truck and bus drivers) and/or awkward postures.
The findings suggest that 'sitting alone was not associated with the risk of developing lower back pain.' However, the combination of sitting for long periods, whole body vibration and awkward postures increased the risk of lower back pain occurring fourfold.
While this may seem like reason to sit back and relax, this study highlights the dangers of a poorly set up work station that encourages awkward posture. It is a good idea to check that your work space allows you to sit comfortably. Taking frequent breaks to walk around, move and stretch are also good for keeping your spine healthy, and if you do sit for long periods of time in an awkward position, it could be worth visiting your chiropractor to check the condition of your spine before it starts causing you pain. (European Spine Journal August 2006; 15)
Lower back pain in the elderly:
A recent study has shown that chronic back pain is a wide spread problem for people over the age of 70. Almost half of the 277 individuals involved in the study experienced chronic back pain at the age of 70. By the age of 77 the frequency and severity of pain decreased, but more people in the group were experiencing chronic back pain, with the prevalence increasing to 58%. This is a large number of elderly parents and grandparents who are experiencing pain due to back problems.
The study also found that chronic back pain is associated with other factors such as fatigue, joint pain and dependence in activities of daily living. This study suggests that chronic back pain may be disrupting the daily lives of many elderly parents and grandparents. Chiropractic care may relieve some of the symptoms of chronic back pain, and improve the overall function of the spine. (Spine April 1, 2006; 31: E203-7)
Chiropractic care for children with low back pain:
Studies estimate that 50% of children will experience low-back pain at some point in time, and for 15% the pain will be frequent or continual. When a child experiences low back pain it definitely should not be ignored or viewed as 'growing pains' that will simply go away.
A study of 10,000 Danish twins over 8 years has shown a correlation between low-back pain experienced during childhood or adolescence, and that same individual experiencing low-back pain in adulthood. The scientists determined that 'low-back pain in adolescence was found to be a significant risk factor for low-back pain in adulthood with odds rations as high as four.' Furthermore, it was found that the more days an individual had low-back pain as a child or adolescent, the higher the risk that they would have low-back pain in the future.
A child who has had low back pain in the past may have sustained some damage to the spine and though they no longer have the symptoms their spine may not have recovered fully. In these instances, chiropractic care can help prevent a child from experiencing a recurring low back pain in the future. (Spine, February 15, 2006; 31:488-72, Meade et al 1995)