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Sayer Clinics > News

Cumulative trauma to spinal verterbrae is a leading cause of back pain and sciatica

The spine is a beautiful piece of biological engineering. The human spine is so complex that we're only now beginning to understand the true nature of it's functional capabilities. As a result, we are steadily getting a better insight into the development of low back pain and sciatica. Expert opinion has changed over the past 30 years on how to manage back pain; doctors used to tell their patients to take two weeks bed rest to cure backpain. We now know that just isn't effective -it's counterproductive! Recurrence of low back pain amongst those prescribed bed-rest was staggeringly high. Terms like 'non-specific low back pain,' still widely used even today are currently seen in academic arenas as inaccurate and unspecific. A lot of research into management of low back pain is not well done, because the study of 'non-specific low back pain' could refer to a hundred different causes or types of lumbago.

Discs are the spongy wedges of cartilage which line the undersides of each vertebrae. They give shock absorption and permit mobility and are continually nourished with oxygen and nutrients through a pumping mechanism that requires vertebral movement for it to work. Lack of mobility at certain joints, or "calcific rust" that builds up over many years will affect this pumping mechanism leading the disc to dehydrate and degenerate. The cumulative effects of poor posture, poor sport biomechanics, poor sleeping habits, poor bending habits, being overweight, smoking, stress and poor diet all add to this. Terms like "slipped disc," represent yet another inaccurate description of what really happens - how can a disc slip? We now use disc bulge or disc herniation as this is much more specific. Once a disc bulges it can compress a spinal nerve, often at L5/S1 or L4/5 discs, causing pain or neuralgia which can radiate into the leg - this is what we term sciatica. Sciatica can be life changing for the sufferer and can last from 6 weeks to many years.

It is worth noting that spinal surgery has yet to prove totally revolutionary in the management of low back pain - any reputable spinal surgeon will tell you the same. It should be used as the very last resort due to the risks involved and the fact that is isn't always as effective as some would believe - I repeat: Spinal columns are ultra-complex. Luckily, surgical procedures for back pain are improving and becoming more effective, but still carry risk.

Chiropractic treatment is a safe and non-invasive treatment to effectively alleviate or cure most types of back pain, facet joint pain and sciatica.

Chiropractors have the unique ability to very skillfully and accurately diagnose and restore joint mobility where it is lost, thus stopping this cumulative trauma in it's tracks and restoring the pumping mechanism which the disc needs to thrive. Spinal x-rays often prove crucial in assessing the extent of trauma which spinal vertebrae have sustained over the years.

Having our own low-dose digital computed x-ray facility at Kensington W8 allows us to do this with ease and efficiency.

Philip J Hehir is Chiropractic backpain and neck pain consultant for the insurance provider, AXA-PPP, practicing at Sayer Clinics' City EC2 Practice, near to London Wall in the heart of the city of London, 2 minutes walk from Moorgate tube,  3 minutes from Broadgate and Liverpool Street Tube station and 5 minutes walk from Bank. He consults on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons and evenings and you can book to see him for an initial consultation by booking online 24/7.

Philip J Hehir DC MSc MRCC MBSHC

Philip also practises at Guildford Chiropractic Centre, 200 London Road,Guildford, GU4 7JS
Tel: 01483 562830