Lower Back and Pelvic Pain

Symptoms by body part:

Lumbar Spine (Lower-Middle-Back)
Acute/Chronic Pain
Reduction in Range of Motion
Gluteal (Buttocks)
Muscle Tightness
Sacral Spine (Tailbone)
Reduction in Range of Motion

Lower back pain can occur as the result of an injury (lifting, bending, car accident, fall), a disc bulge or herniation, or more commonly, presents without warning.  Often times restrictions in the sacro-iliac joints and/or lumbar spine in addition to the related changes in muscle tone, core strength, gait patterns, cortical hemisphericity and nerve signaling, cause a majority of pain in the lower back.  Some symptoms that often occur in addition to the pain include digestive problems (stomach pains, constipation, changes in frequency of urination), sciatic-type pain down the back of the legs, aching in the feet, knees and hips. 

What causes pain?

Pain in our lower back/spine is experienced when there is a lack of joint motion between the lumbar vertebrae and/or in the sacro-iliac joint (pelvis), combined with changes in muscle tone and nerve and blood vessel supply.  This leads to inflammation in the area, which activates and over-stimulates particular nerve fibers (type-C) and their endings, called nociceptors, whose sole purpose is to detect pain.  The combination of joint restrictions, muscle tone changes, and alterations in nerve and blood vessel signaling cause a reduction in feedback to our brain from the environment and body, which drives the pain pattern.   In addition, these changes in joint motion over time can place inappropriate pressure on certain areas of the lower back, leading to disc bulges, disc herniations, and arthritis.  

What reduces pain?

By improving motion in the joints and muscles, we are able to inhibit the type-C nerve fibers and the over-activation of nociceptors that are sending our brain messages of pain.  This is known as the Pain-Gate Theory, and is widely accepted as the cause of pain.  It simply states that proper motion in joints, ligaments and muscles activate 1A nerve fibers that send our brain messages of motion, and at the same time, they send inhibitory messages to the pain fibers, which reduce their firing and decrease the sensation of pain.  In summary, when your spine moves well, pain is inhibited and you no longer feel it. 

How can we fix it?

Through careful examination by Maine’s only Chiropractic Neurology team, we are able to determine the cause(s) of your presenting symptoms.  We then create a treatment plan to restore normal joint motion, retrain muscles by reducing tension and improving strength and stability, restore posture and reduce inflammation.  This is accomplished through a comprehensive treatment consisting of chiropractic care, physical rehabilitation and neurological retraining.   

Common symptoms:

  • Reduced ROM
  • Pain, numbness or tingling down the front or back of the leg
  • Pain across the lower back in a band-like distribution
  • Pain when standing for long periods, or climbing stairs
  • Pain when seated (in the tailbone region, lower back, buttock), or pain when getting up from a seated position
  • Pain when sneezing or coughing
  • Foot, knee or hip pain