The Low-down on Lower Back Pain



Michael Horney

LOWER BACK PAIN IS A PERVASIVE PROBLEM, afflicting 80% of adults at some point in their lives.

In the past, most medical experts thought of it as an acute, painful episode that was self-limiting and would get better in time, regardless of the type of treatment—or even without treatment.  Nowadays, anyone treating a lot of people with lower back pain, including me, realizes that such pain can become a chronic, recurrent problem that must be actively managed, similar to heart disease or diabetes.  There is no cure for lower back pain—not chiropractic, not physical therapy, not acupuncture, not epidural steroids, not pain medication, not surgery.

But lower back pain can be successfully managed so that we can continue to perform our usual activities of daily living, including sports and other physical functions with either no pain or minimal pain.

How can that be done?

  • By improving our body mechanics—how we sit, stand, sleep, walk, lift things and so on.
  • By exercising to achieve muscular balance, strengthening and stretching, and doing cardiovascular and core muscle stability exercises.

Chiropractic care involves adjusting the spinal joints to keep them fully mobile and functioning properly.  Along with postural improvement, regular exercise, effective coping strategies to manage stress, chiropractic care can help successfully manage lower back pain.

What else can you do to prevent or manage lower back pain?

  • If you’re still smoking, quit.  Smoking decreases blood supply to spinal discs.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, a BMI (Body Mass Index) of less than 25.
  • Stop sitting so much–move!  Sitting increases spinal disc pressure as well as causing muscle fatigue due to sustained positions.

In future articles I’ll go into specific causes of lower back pain, such as lumbar sprain/strain, sciatica, lumbar disc disease, lumbar stenosis, lumbar facet syndrome, sacroiliac sprain/strain, as well as non-spinal causes, such as disease of the kidneys, prostate and ovaries.

Until then—Stand up Straight!—just like your mom said.

Dr. Michael S. Horney is the head chiropractor at Port Jefferson Chiropractic, on Long Island, New York.  He believes in the natural way to good health for back pain, sports injuries, headaches, neck & arm pain, arthritis, accident recuperation, and much more. For more information visit his website:

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Forty Forward!

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