Low back pain is a commonly reported issue that affects people of all age groups. While it is
more prevalent among individuals in their thirties and older, it is not uncommon among
younger individuals due to the sedentary lifestyle associated with office work.
The primary cause of low back pain is typically trauma to a lumbar disc, joint, nerve root
and/or surrounding soft tissues including muscle and tendons. As we age, there is no getting
around our injury history and degenerative changes in the spine gather pace, which can be a
part of a progressive degenerative disease. This means that the underlying problem
responsible for the pain gradually worsens over time.
You might wonder how young people can experience degenerative conditions. The answer
lies in the amount of time after the injury or frequency of the injury in our younger years. So,
what is the best thing to do? Independent of age, we apply an earliest intervention principle
at Waterloo Chiropractic. The earlier we examine and diagnose your case and apply a
structured treatment plan that is simple, logical and attainable, the better. Activity modification
like reducing the time we spend sitting is an important but not an exhaustive step.
When low back structures are subjected to prolonged periods of sitting, their needs for
nutrients and oxygen are not adequately met, leading to degenerative changes. Additionally,
extended sitting weakens the supporting muscles of the spine.
Structures in the spine, such as intervertebral discs (shock absorbers), joints, your posture and
your surrounding muscle are all assessed and considered to overcome your low back pain.
Common Conditions of Back Pain
Mechanical back pain:
This type of back pain occurs during normal activities such as bending, lifting objects, playing
sports, or doing household chores. These are actions that should not cause injury, but they
How? Over time, postural stresses or past injuries can result in the development of
microtrauma to muscles, ligaments, discs and joint capsules. Our bodies are smart and can
adapt to the stresses we place on it, but at some point, the body can no longer compensate
and a simple movement may result in a loss of control at a lumbar segment. All it takes is a
moment and we can sprain a facet joint or tear a lumbar disc. This pain is typically precise
pain with functional limitations, where the pain migrates and new features develop over the
days and weeks ahead. Early intervention by your Waterloo Chiropractor is key.
Lumbar Disc Herniation without radiculopathy:
This type of pain originates from a lumbar disc tear that is large enough to bulge and create a
significant inflammatory event locally in the lumbar spine. With pressure building the body can
suffer from muscle spasm, disc pain and a complex injury is occurring. Spasm or shortened
lower back tissues may not be enough to compress the nerve root. But it is enough to cause a
compensation pattern in the lower extremity, which will flow onto other areas of the body,
such as the hips, thighs, and gluteals. In this case, your pain includes referred back pain
directly associated with mechanical back pain and also pain from your disc injury. While the
patterns of referred pain may overlap with sciatica, they are distinct conditions and as always,
early intervention is key!
Sciatica (Radicular pain):
Sciatica refers to pain caused by a pinched nerve, which typically travels along the nerve and
is most severe at the point where the nerve ends. For example, if the nerve between the
fourth and fifth vertebrae is compressed, the pain will be felt in the ankle and on the top of the
foot. Referred pain to the upper leg is common, but sciatica usually extends beyond the knee.
Compression of the nerve root leads to sharp, shooting pain, numbness, tingling, and/or
weakness in the area supplied by the affected nerve. Both physical compression of the nerve
root and inflammatory changes contribute to the pain.
Lower Crossed Syndrome and Stress:
When stress arises, your body reacts by changing your physiology and physical posture. For
example, an elevated respiratory rate, heart rate, releasing stress hormones, and causing
muscle tension throughout your spine and body. Essentially, your body perceives a threat,
activating the sympathetic nervous system and prompting muscle contractions as a protective
mechanism. Prolonged stress can lead to significant health issues, including muscle fatigue,
shortening, soreness, stress postures and the development of painful trigger points. In fact,
chronic stress can cause muscles to undergo structural changes, becoming less flexible and
weaker, resembling tendons rather than healthy muscles. The most common stress posture
effecting the lower extremity is lower crossed syndrome which can lead to problems with your
joints and discs over time.
How Our Chiropractors Can Treat Your Lower Back Pain
At Waterloo Chiropractic, our aim is to restore normal movement in the back, allowing the soft
tissues and joints to function freely and handle everyday activities without distress, promoting
faster tissue repair. Our experienced staff achieves this through massage and evidence-
based chiropractic treatments.
At Waterloo Chiropractic, our chiropractors prioritise gathering a comprehensive medical
history and conducting a thorough physical examination. If you have any previous imaging,
such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs, it is crucial for us to review them. In some cases, we may
request updated imaging to enhance our assessment, and our head chiropractor, Daniel
Gilmore can assist with arranging that.
We place a strong emphasis on employing manipulation techniques with a gentle force to
ensure patient comfort and safety. Additionally, we provide valuable advice on postural tips
and offer preventative exercises as part of our comprehensive approach.
At Waterloo Chiropractic, you will come across a friendly, down to earth and professional
clinic that prides itself on ensuring you have an excellent clinical experience. Waterloo
Chiropractic is an allied health care clinic with three chiropractors who service the suburbs of
Waterloo, Alexandria, Rosebery, Surry Hills, Zetland, Kensington, Redfern and Moore Park. We
help our patients with low back pain, neck pain,