Eighty percent of people suffer from back pain at some
point in their lives. Back pain is the second most
common reason for visits to the doctor's office,
outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Most
cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic, i.e.,
not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory
arthritis, infection, fracture, or cancer.
What Causes Back Pain?
The back is a complicated structure of bones, joints,
ligaments, and muscles. You can sprain ligaments, strain
muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of
which can lead to back pain. While sports injuries or
accidents can cause back pain, sometimes the simplest of
movements-for example, picking up a pencil from the
floor-can have painful results. In addition, arthritis,
poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can
cause or complicate back pain. Back pain can also
directly result from disease of the internal organs,
such as kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots,
or bone loss.
Back injuries are a part of everyday life, and the spine
is quite good at dealing with these often "pulled"
muscles. These very minor injuries usually heal within 1
or 2 days. Some pain, however, continues. What makes
some pain last longer is not entirely understood, but
researchers suspect that the reasons may include stress,
mood changes, and the fear of further injury that may
prevent patients from being active. In addition,
sometimes a painful injury or disease changes the way
the pain signals are sent through the body, and, even
after the problem has gone away or is inactive, the pain
signals still reach the brain. It is as if the pain
develops a memory that keeps being replayed.
Will Back Pain Go Away on Its Own?
Until recently, researchers believed that back pain will
"heal" on its own. We have learned, however, that this
is not true. A recent study showed that when back pain
is not treated, it may go away temporarily but will most
likely return. The study demonstrated that in more than
33% of the people who experience low-back pain, the pain
lasts for more than 30 days. Only 9% of the people who
had low-back pain for more than 30 days were pain free 5
Another study looked at all of the available research on
the natural history of low-back pain. The results showed
that when it is ignored, back pain does not go away on
its own. Those studies demonstrate that low-back pain
continues to affect people for long periods after it
What Can I Do to Prevent Long-Term Back Pain?
If your back pain is not resolving quickly, visit Dr.
Conboy. Your pain will often result from mechanical
problems that Dr. Conboy can address. Many chiropractic
patients with relatively long-lasting or recurring back
pain feel improvement shortly after starting
chiropractic treatment. The relief they feel after a
month of treatment is often greater than after seeing a
Chiropractic spinal manipulation is a safe and effective
spine pain treatment. It reduces pain, decreases
medication, rapidly advances physical therapy, and
requires very few passive forms of treatment, such as
How Can I Prevent Back Pain?
- Don't lift by bending over. Instead, bend your
hips and knees and then squat to pick up the object.
Keep your back straight, and hold the object close
to your body.
- Don't twist your body while lifting.
- Push, rather than pull, when you must move heavy
- If you must sit for long periods, take frequent
breaks and stretch.
- Wear flat shoes or shoes with low heels.
- Exercise regularly. An inactive lifestyle
contributes to lower-back pain.
What Should I Tell Dr. Conboy?
Before any treatment session, tell Dr. Conboy if you
experience any of the following:
- Pain goes down your leg below your knee.
- Your leg, foot, groin, or rectal area feels numb.
- You have fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach ache,
weakness, or sweating.
- You lose bowel control.
- Your pain is caused by an injury.
- Your pain is so intense you can't move around.
- Your pain doesn't seem to be getting better quickly.
Source: The American Chiropractic
 Hestbaek L, Leboeuf-Yde C, Engberg M, Lauritzen T,
Bruun NH, Manniche C. The course of low-back pain in a
general population. Results from a 5-year prospective
study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2003 May;26(4):213-9.
 Hestbaek L, Leboeuf-Yde C, Manniche C. Low-back pain:
what is the long-term course? A review of studies of
general patient populations. Eur Spine J 2003
 Stig LC, Nilsson O, Leboeuf-Yde C. Recovery pattern
of patients treated with chiropractic spinal
manipulative therapy for long-lasting or recurrent low
back pain. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001
 Nyiendo J, Haas M, Goodwin P. Patient
characteristics, practice activities, and one-month
outcomes for chronic, recurrent low-back pain treated by
chiropractors and family medicine physicians: a
practice-based feasibility study. J Manipulative Physiol
Ther 2000 May;23(4):239-45.
 Time to recognize value of chiropractic care? Science
and patient satisfaction surveys cite usefulness of
spinal manipulation. Orthopedics Today February