By: Dr. Carlos Viana, CCN, OMD
As strong as your house might be, if the foundation of the structure is collapsing the dwelling will not last long. A strong foundation supports a strong building. The lower back is truly the foundation of our body’s structure and an agonizing lower back means your body cannot stand upright.
In our clinic we have seen patients with excruciating lower back transported to us in the back of station wagons, SUVs, and hatchbacks. The parts of the lower back include the bony structure of your spine and pelvis; areas of motion which are the joints of soft pads-discs, the supportive structures that initiate motion are the muscles, ligaments which are the straps that hold bone to bone and the electrical system supplied by the nerves. As the center of the body, dancers and other athletes realize that all sustainable movement in your body originates in your body’s core or center, which includes the lower back.
Lower back pain can be a combination of the parts of the back. Injuries are caused either by one major trauma or by many minor traumas that occur over time. If there is an energy imbalance, such as a rotated pelvis, a short leg or an increased or decreased curve in the low back, there will be areas of heightened tension that will be more vulnerable to irritation and injury. When an injury takes place, there will usually be a muscle spasm and swelling indicating inflammation of the discs or nerves. This is why it is common to feel multiple types of pain when injured. Muscles cause dull aches while nerves cause sharp pains.
Low back pain is the most prevalent cause of disability in people under age forty five. If you have any of the following symptoms, you need medical attention. Pain is worse when you cough or sneeze; pain or numbness travels down one or both legs; pain awakens you from sleep; you are finding it difficult to or loose control of urine or bowel movement.
There are several symptoms of lower back problems. Nearly all lower back problems present with numbness, weakness, sciatica pain, stiffness, or tightness. When nerve impulses aren’t traveling properly from the skin to the brain you will feel numbness. Weakness happens when signals don’t travel properly from the brain to the muscles or from problems in the muscles themselves. I see many patients suffering from Type II diabetes with these leg problems.
Patients who awaken early in the morning with stiffness are likely to be suffering from an inflammatory condition. Since there could be a more serious problem, and a physician should rule out infection and severe psychological problems. Tightness in the back, neck, arms and legs is most often due to changes in the muscles. Most neck and back problems are a result of tight, achy muscles brought on by years of bad posture. Additionally, joint stiffness and pain, could mean you are at risk for degenerative osteoarthritis. Poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle have shown to increase the risk of the condition in later years.
Sciatica refers to pain that begins in the hip and buttocks and continues all the way down the leg. This pain is also in the lower back. The term “sciatica” indicates that the sciatic nerve, which travels from the lower back into the leg, is where this pain is moving. While we treat this condition successfully with acupuncture I check the health of the prostate in male patients and screen women in child bearing ages for urinary tract or vaginal infections.
In the postmenopausal female low back pain, difficulty initiating stool or urination, urinary incontinence, and pelvic pain or pressure is usually from a weakening of the supporting structures of the vagina and uterus. During the childbearing years the female hormones have continuously stimulated the sexual organs. Without a replacement physical stimulation, the muscles and ligaments weaken and are no longer able to hold the organs in place. Many times I get a complaint from a menopausal woman that “something” from the vagina is protruding rather than any pain or pressure feelings. A series of ten to fifteen acupuncture treatment are usually all that is needed for these women to walk normally again.
In the many years that we have provided primary care to our community, every new case of lower back pain has come to us with a diagnosis from an allopathic doctor that there is a “disk problem”. Either the disk is herniated, which would mean that a rupture in the wall of a disk, between two vertebras or because nerves are being “pinched”. Of course, pain medication is provided along with trite advice to “take some time off to relax”.
It is important to tract down the source of your lower back problems if your pain is spontaneous or regularly recurring. My mother, Nora, suffered for years from low back problems; directly related to a somewhat serious automobile accident in the years before belt restraints and airbags. At her eightieth birthday she walked effortlessly and confidently to her birthday celebration and honored me with her first of many dances. A living testament that lower back pain needs not be a life sentence.
Get The Point! Anne Frank, the seventeen-year-old Dutch girl caught hiding from the Nazis said “I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery
and death… I think… peace and tranquility will return again”. She was not writing about the same foundation, but her words ring true for what you are going through suffering from back pain. The negative effects of back pain on family relationships, your job, loss of self esteem, guilt, fear, and anger are very real. Accepting the sentencing that the structure of your back has crumbled and your choices are to “live with it, or get an operation” is ridiculous. There are more options. Call to make an appointment if you are ready to rebuild your foundation for some peace and tranquility.
CARLOS VIANA, Ph. D. is an Oriental Medical Doctor (O.M.D.) having studied in Shanghai, China; a Board Cert. Clinical Nutritionist (C.C.N.), a fellow member of the Board Certified Association of Addiction Professionals (C.Ad.), the Chairperson of the Latin American Committee of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), a Rejuvenating Cell Therapist and specializes in Anti-Aging Medicine, has a weekly radio program, writes and lectures extensively. For information: VIANA NATURAL HEALING CENTER NV, Kibaima 7, Aruba, TEL: 585-1270, Web Site: www.vianaheal.com. Q