The sacroiliac joint, or SI joint, is another common culprit of low back pain. In fact, up to 30% of low back pain can be attributed to this joint. It’s formed where the sacrum (tailbone) and ilium (pelvis) come together on either side of the body. It’s an important joint because it transfers weight from the lower body to the upper body and vice versa. Why does this matter? Well, every time you walk or run your SI joints distribute the shock from the ground across the pelvis, which reduces strain on the spine.
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Out of all low back pain cases we see, this one is the most common. Whereas pain due to irritation of the disc is typically caused by repetitive forward flexion, low back pain can also be caused by too much movement in the opposite direction. The facet joints in the low back are motion-restricting joints, they help provide stability and prevent excessive movement in different directions. When there is too much extension backward, these joints become irritated and inflamed and a condition known as facet syndrome develops. It is often seen in individuals with a sway back posture (overarching at the low back) and jobs or sports that require a lot of overhead activity.
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Low back pain can be caused by many different things with the disc being one of them. The inter-vertebral disc is a round, rubbery pad that acts as a shock absorber between each vertebra of the spine to cushion the load placed on the body when it moves and to protect the nerves coming out both sides of the spine. It is made up of a tough, outer portion called the annulus fibrosus with a soft, jelly-like middle called the nucleus pulposus. If the disc becomes irritated or damaged, disc derangements and herniations can happen.
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Low back pain is something almost everyone can relate to on some level. Approximately 80% of adults will experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetime and it is the leading cause of job-related disability and missed workdays. To say it can be a frustrating thing to deal with would be an understatement. However, there is good news! The vast majority of cases involving low back pain will respond favorably to conservative care and very rarely is it a sign of a serious medical condition.
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Almost everyone will deal with a headache at some point, making them a very common health complaint. In fact, almost half of the population is affected by headaches. They can range from a minor nuisance to severe and debilitating that impacts daily life. The 3 most common types of headaches are tension-type, migraines, and cluster headaches. Cervicogenic headaches fall within the tension-type group, which will be the focus of this series.
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When a patient is dealing with low back pain with or without radiating symptoms, it’s important to figure out which movements/activities are aggravating and which ones provide relief. Most commonly, bending forward and sitting tends to make the pain worse and walking or standing will make things better.
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