Health & Fitness

Arthritis In Lower Back

Arthritis in the lower back is quite common. The root cause of arthritis is due to a prolonged lack of blood flow to a particular area.

When an injury occurs to the lower back the musculature around that area will spasm. When that happens the blood vessels that run in between the muscle fibers are constricted which reduces the blood flow.

It is critical that 100% of the required blood flow reaches every area of your body.

Your blood carries oxygen to every cell in your body and those cells begin to die causing arthritis in the lower back when their blood supply diminishes.

Cause of Arthritis in the Lower Back

Blood flow is similar to the water needed to keep a lawn healthy. If your lawn needs 100 gallons of water a day to stay healthy but instead only receives 80 gallons that will have an impact long term. You may periodically give it the 100 gallons of water per day that it needs but the more often it dips down to 80 gallons per day the quicker you will begin to see the lawn deteriorate.

Your body is the same way in that it needs blood flow constantly to not only provide nutrients but to also remove waste. When the blood flow is decreased the wastes pile up in the cells and the needed nutrients are not supplied.

Long term this leads to deterioration of the organs, joints, the spine or whatever part of the body is deprived of blood. This picture shows an x-ray of a spinal disc that has deteriorated significantly compared to the other discs in the patient’s spine. The critical factors are how often does the blood supply dip below the required levels and how much does it dip.

Muscle spasms are not typically in spasm 100% of the time. You may begin to exercise or do more physical labor than you are used to which will move the muscles, reduce the spasms and get the blood pumping. You may decide to get a massage to relax the muscles or you may ice the muscles which will calm the spasms.

There are also degrees of spasm; from mild to severe. Traumas occur on a continuum from something mild such as a trip and fall to a severe car accident. The more severe the injury the more the body will cause the muscles to spasm. When injured the body goes into triage mode choosing the lesser of two evils. The muscle spasms will prevent further injury to the area even though the blood supply is reduced which will eventually lead to arthritis in the lower back, one of the common chronic back pain causes.

Many people don’t think of their spine as a series of joints but that is exactly what it is; no different than a hip, knee or elbow. Joints receive a lot more use than other areas so a reduction in the blood supply will have a more severe impact in those areas. Similar to a hinge that gets a lot of use; if you don’t grease or oil it on a regular schedule it will start to squeak and make it harder to use.

Pain not the First Symptom of Arthritis

This is exactly what happens with our joints including our spine. Arthritis in the lower back is a latter stage symptom that causes pain; this tends to get people’s attention. There will have been other symptoms that our body has given us telling us that there is a problem. Most people either don’t know how to connect the two or only choose to respond to pain. Other symptoms such as numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or a dull ache are your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong.

Pain is not the first symptom the body chooses to use. We will not receive a pain signal until function has been reduced about 35% from normal. It would be like looking out at your yard and seeing that a third of it is brown. Most of us would see a small brown patch and go out and see what may be causing it. A sprinkler head may need to be adjusted or extra sun may be hitting it for whatever reason but we would make adjustments before a full third of our lawn has turned brown.

That is unfortunately what we let happen to our bodies most of the time. We don’t choose to act until we are in pain. To make it worse we many times try to suppress the pain with pain killers; the same as spray painting our lawn with green paint. Who would do that? We do it with our bodies though; all the time.

Arthritis in the Lower Back Treatments

The proper way to address arthritis in the lower back is to address the cause of the problem. Some accident or trauma from the past triggered the decreased blood flow. A common result of traumas is a subluxation; also commonly called a pinched nerve.

A subluxation will put pressure on the nerve root exiting between the vertebrae. Your nerves carry every signal sent from the brain out to the rest of our body.

If that signal is short circuited and cannot reach the intended destination that is when we start to have problems. Since each nerve root contains over 300,000 individual nerve fibers the symptoms will run the gamut and many of these nerves control the blood supply to various areas of your body. They also control our muscles.

A chiropractic back pain specialist is the only doctor trained to treat subluxations. After their exam verifies that there is a subluxation their adjustments will begin to move the vertebra back into alignment and remove the pressure from the nerve root.

This will restore the communication between the brain and the intended source. The correct amount of blood will now be brought to the intended areas which will reduce the arthritic symptoms.

Another treatment for arthritis in the lower back is therapeutic lasers. The newer class IV lasers are stronger and able