Do You Have A Back Problem Or A Health Problem?

“If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won’t have to hear it scream”.

Chiropractors are mostly considered as back doctors!

A recent patient to the clinic has spurred me on to write this article. As his case would be a fine example of Chiropractic as a holistic approach and it exemplifies the quote. “If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won’t have to hear it scream”.


A 48-Year-Old Married Father

‘Bob’ (not his real name), was a 48-year-old married father, who had been suffering with lower back pain for 4 months. His symptoms had been gradually worsening over the previous few weeks to the point he was having to take time off work. The times he was working he was barely able to focus on the task at hand due to his pain. His job which he is extremely passionate about requires him sitting 70 – 80% of the day and unfortunately it was sitting that exacerbated his pain most. Because he is so passionate about his work, he has no issues putting in overtime at weekends or late evenings.

Bob had visited his GP on two occasions prior to starting care at the clinic. Where after a thorough examination he was prescribed the usual painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. These had reduced his pain by about 10-20%.

Pain killers

During consultation with us we learnt a lot more about Bob’s day to day life and how his current low back pain was interfering with it. We also learnt about Bobs overall health condition. On presentation you would consider Bob overweight. Given his work level, it wasn’t surprising to find out he was doing no exercise. His diet was not ideal, and he enjoyed a ‘few’ drinks with friends. Bob was also on a repeat prescription for high blood pressure and high cholesterol (not uncommon for a 48-year-old in today’s society).

Whist a typical medical approach would be to look at Bobs low back symptoms as a mechanical isolated issue. Hence the prescription of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. However, in this case (and many seen at the clinic) we see a bigger problem.


Symptoms Are Your Bodies Way Of Communicating

Symptoms are your bodies way of communicating to you that something is wrong and needs to change. Blanking out these symptoms will lead to a more critical situation in the future. If the oil light comes on in your car and you cover it to hide the signal, eventually the car will break down resulting in a more critical situation.

Bob’s high blood pressure and high cholesterol are signals from his body telling him something is wrong and needs to change. For years he has been covering up these signals with medication rather than dealing with the real problem – ‘His lifestyle’. His body has been whispering to him for a long time. The medication has allowed him to continue the lifestyle that has led to high blood pressure and high cholesterol without the symptoms. By continuing in this lifestyle of poor diet, no exercise and a tremendous amount of sitting, his body is now signalling to him ‘screaming’ with low back pain something must change. Whilst yes, we could approach this case with a mechanical mindset and ‘treat’ his low back. Only for it re-appear in the future. Or we can address the real problem at hand and help Bob see the big picture of where his current approach to health could lead him.

As I said we see many, many cases in the clinic similar to this on a daily basis. This isn’t to say all low back pain problems are related to poor lifestyle choices. Health conscious people can suffer accidents and falls that lead them to us for help. But its important to listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us and address the real cause.

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