Lower back pain seems inevitalbe for most of us. Several studies and our personal experience seem to support this: Back pain was listed as the single leading cause of disability worldwide by The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study. What’s more, Americans are estimated to spend more than $50 billion each year on back pain with as many as 80% of us experiencing a back problem at some time during our lives.*

We treat people with lower back pain all the time here at my Chiro Care & Wellness home office in Westchester County, NY, and I’ve learned that what we do before as well as after experiencing back pain can make all the difference.

Here are three suggestions for eliminating lower back pain.

1/ Alter Your Usual Routine

Most of us will set up a visit with our primary care physician if we’ve been feeling significant back pain for more than a few days. Generally, your physician will recommend an MRI of your lumbar spine so she can figure out what’s going on. The MRI may indicate a herniated disc condition, at which time the doctor often writes a prescription and recommends a regimen of physical therapy. Exploring the possibility of back surgery with an orthopedic surgeon may also be an option.

But not all herniated disc conditions are abnormal: Up to 30 percent or more represent a natural process, especially when there’s no evidence of accompanying leg pain that radiates below the knee. Chiropractic physicians are well trained to differentiate among the many possibilities associated with lower back pain and herniated discs—the same cannot be said of every family doctor, and even specialists. So, in the end, the diagnosis and treatment of a herniated disc condition based on the MRI results may or may not be correct. But we can all agree that the condition may indeed be painful, and that the treatment regimen will be long and, in most cases, financially challenging.

This brings us to our second point, which I believe describes a better course of action for the treatment and diagnosis of our lower back pain.

2/ Check Your Alignment and Stay Healthy with Chiro Care

Regular chiropractic care enables our body to function at peak capacity, and should be initiated before the onset of pain. Here’s why: Regular chiropractic adjustments allow our body to stay aligned, rather than moving into a shifted position where it must compensate on one side or the other. {Susan: Anything to add here?} This shifted condition leads to lower back pain or something worse.

Please understand: Subtle changes in our alignment are almost imperceptible. Initially, we’re not aware of our body’s alignment problem; that is, until we’re far enough along into a shifted condition to where we feel lower back stiffness, or the pain of herniated discs or other mechanical problems. But by then it’s too late! Conversely, regular, preventive chiropractic visits are a way to ensure that our backs maintain healthy alignment.

3/ Check Your Body’s PH Balance

While it shouldn’t be viewed as a panacea for all health problems, our pH balance plays a vital role in the health of bodies and our lower backs in particular. In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline. Pure water has a pH very close to 7, which is considered neutral.

So, what does this have to do with the health of our bodies and with lower back pain? Our bodies are wonderfully and intricately designed with a built-in ability to counterbalance a certain amount of acidity. But the high levels of acidity in our Northern American diets simply overwhelms our bodies, impinging on its ability to buffer the acids in our diet. What’s more, the daily stress levels most of us experience only exacerbate this acidic condition, moving our pH levels even further in the wrong direction.

When our bodies are out of balance our skin feels overly sensitive, even painful to the touch, and this overly acidic condition can lead to acute pain in our bodies, especially in our lower back region. Most of us learn to live with the pain, but its not healthy to do so. We can help restore our body’s acid-alkaline balance through the consumption of foods like leafy green vegetables and dried fruits, but restoring your pH levels requires more than a simple, one-dimensional approach. I recommend consulting with a qualified chiropractic physician so she can test your PH levels and recommend holistic and healthy lifestyle changes, including a diet rich in alkanazing plants, daily exercise and detoxification at regular intervals.

If you have any questions or would like to set up an appointment to discuss your lower back pain, click here to email me at Dr. Susan Seven-Sky.

* Vallfors B. Acute, Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain: Clinical Symptoms, Absenteeism and Working Environment. Scan J Rehab Med Suppl 1985; 11: 1-98.