L.Lower back pain isn’t something to laugh about – in fact, laughing probably only makes it worse. Drs. George and Stefanie Olar of 360 Chiropractic in Lacey know that persistent lower back pain can keep people from working and doing what they love. It is therefore important to them to get them back on their feet quickly. This is where their multifaceted treatment comes into play. The ability to offer multiple treatment options under one roof can help patients relieve back pain faster than treatment alone.
“What people may not realize is that something as small as one leg, 7mm shorter than the other, can adversely affect your entire skeletal structure and biomechanics, starting with your lower back,” explains Dr. George. Photo courtesy of Foot Levelers
Brent, a patient at 360 Chiropractic, first came to Dr. George. He’s got a pretty physical job as a veterinarian and combines that with his own farm work at home which includes chopping wood for the wood-burning stove, and it’s no wonder he has a backache. But instead of just adjusting him and telling him to take some over-the-counter pain relievers, Dr. George performed a full exam, including x-rays and physical fitness tests, to find out what was causing the pain in the first place.
X-rays showed a common problem many people have, one leg shorter than the other, arthritis, an incorrect curvature of the spine, and a compressed disc with a bone spur. It’s something that a lot of people deal with every day. “What people may not realize is that something as small as one leg, 7mm shorter than the other, can adversely affect your entire skeletal structure and biomechanics, starting with your lower back,” explains Dr. George.
At this point, Dr. George and Dr. Stefanie make recommendations for the best treatment method to not only relieve current pain, but also to prevent it from recurring. “Yes, people can still take the anti-pain medication, but long-term use puts a strain on organs, especially the liver and kidneys,” he said. “DR. Stefanie and I like to treat the patient holistically and naturally in order to relieve the pain so that he does not have to take the medication.”
The first step is to reduce current pain, which can be excruciating. Brent even had a hard time getting out of bed. “The pain in my back was so bad that I missed a few work days,” he said. “And I couldn’t chop wood for my wife to heat our house. I knew I needed to get back to my chores quickly, but I also knew that I wanted to avoid surgery if I could. “
Some of the home treatments that Dr. George recommends patients, depending on their individual circumstances, include ice and heat therapy; Activity restrictions; natural supplements to reduce inflammation; Bed rest; Supports for sitting on a chair or bed; and simple, gentle stretching.
Lower back pain is common for many people. Drs. George and Stefanie Olar from 360 Chiropractic in Lacey take a multi-faceted approach to alleviating pain and correcting the cause so it doesn’t recur. Photo courtesy of Foot Levelers
Next, all important functions are to be brought back. At 360 Chiropractic, they help relieve back pain through adjustments, laser therapy, and massage. “It’s important to loosen these bones where they’ll be compressed or pinched,” explains Dr. George. “For example, if one bone gets stuck in the foot, a cascade event occurs where the other 25 bones in the foot have to stabilize and work harder. This transfers the body to the knee, hip, and then lower back. So when we look at lower back pain, we are assessing the patient’s surrounding joints. “
Chiropractic adjustments in connection with a cold laser to heal the joint tissue and for pain relief as well as massage therapy can reduce the pressure on the intervertebral disc and possibly pinched nerves. Once this happens, the body’s ability to heal itself can be freely restored.
The importance of good footwear for patients with back pain
Do you remember Brent having one leg shorter than the other? When he was young, he jumped off a rope swing and broke his growth plate. It’s a common story, says Dr. George who also broke his own growth plate and has a shorter leg. And for those with lower back pain, the feet are often the culprit, which is why Dr. George has a 3D machine that can measure patients’ feet in order to prepare for custom orthotics from Foot Levelers.
In 2017, a study on the effectiveness of foot leveling orthoses was published in the Archives for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “Six weeks with custom orthotics reduced lower back pain by 34.5 percent and improved function by 18.5 percent,” says Dr. Mark Charrette in his article “The Link Between Orthoses and Lower Back Pain”. In connection with chiropractic in addition to the orthosis, there was an improvement in function of 32.3%.
Why custom? Yes, you can buy shoe insoles from department stores and some will work fine, but Foot Levelers will take an up-to-date photo and laser scan of your feet and their unique needs. Sometimes each foot needs a slightly different effort, especially if you have a shorter leg for maximum results. “When there is a difference in leg length (whether anatomical or functional), the pelvis tilts to one side. This asymmetry leads to vertebral rotation and recurrent subluxation and possibly even functional scoliosis, ”writes Charrette. “Correct use of orthotics (sometimes with an additional heel lift) can make a significant correction to structural short legs.”
There are many other foot abnormalities that can cause back pain and sometimes foot pain as well. Plantar fasciitis is one of them. For those with sharp heel pain and possibly associated lower back pain, orthotics can be a game changer. “A flexible orthosis with a heel cutout improves gait and reduces the impact of this condition on the pelvis and spine,” writes Charrette.
At 360 Chiropractic, the multi-faceted approach to lower back pain brings patients back to their daily routine and can even replace surgery, as is the case with Brent. “After just a few weeks of treatment, I’m feeling much better,” he said. “I don’t plan to have an operation anytime soon, and now I can get back to my daily chores at work and at home.”
“We want to make sure that we don’t just focus on one region of the patient because of complaints,” explains Dr. Stefanie. “Otherwise, her pain may come back. When treating a patient with back pain, we need to consider the joints of the lower extremities to rule out their impact on the patient’s structural stability. “
For more information and an appointment, visit the 360 Chiropractic website or call 360.923.0360.