Low Back Pain – A Deeper Look – Part 2
In Part 1 I talked about what to do if your back doesn’t respond to traditional therapies. I also discussed common root sources of low back pain in men. Now for the women.
Women and Low Back Pain
In women I often find that their initial problem lies in their hips and then moves to their low back. They often suffer from digestive issues first and then the digestive issues lead to other imbalances like inflammation and hormonal imbalances that throw off specific muscles related to the control of the pelvis. This is especially common in pregnant women when they get changes in hormones that cause them low back pain and often times it is simply blamed on the hormone relaxin. Relaxin is a hormone produced by the ovary and the placenta that in preparation for childbirth, it relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis. But from my experience, without changing any relaxin related hormones, pregnancy back pain can often be resolved. Whether pregnant or not, many women can suffer from back pain related to digestion, inflammation and hormonal imbalances.
In the lower body, the muscles related to digestion are the TFL, QL (quadratus lumborum), quadriceps, and abdominals. The TFL is most often referred to as the hip flexor and the QL is the main muscle used if you wanted to lean over to the side and back.
Often times your digestive problems can lead to a concurrent hormonal imbalance and then can affect muscles of the butt. The “butt muscles” more specifically associated with hormonal imbalances include the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and piriformis. In women that have hormonal imbalances, trigger point therapy into the gluteus region is often exquisitely painful.
In the same way the adrenals are critical, a healthy digestive tract and hormonal balance is often required to resolve back pain.
I am not sure I have ever seen a case of low back pain without inflammation. The inflammation can be from allergies, fat imbalances (good vs. bad), excess sugar, neurotransmitter imbalances or an overactive immune system, but it is always there.
One of the main issues in resolving chronic back pain is that many people have fatty acid imbalances. The basic concept is that the good fats, which are anti-inflammatory, are out-powered by bad fats which are pro-inflammatory. In a healthy individual the fats balance out and then when inflammation does occur, the good fats help to keep the inflammation under control
One major reason why this is so common in today’s society is due to the consumption of trans fats. Trans fats can be found in almost anything packaged as well as baked goods, snacks, fried foods, creamer and margarine. Trans fats stop good fats and their healthy effects, dead in their tracks. In addition to trans fats simply being deadly, oils such as corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and peanut oil can be dangerous for those who don’t have a healthy diet also. All of those omega-6 oils can be converted to inflammatory chemicals if there is too much insulin. I have written previously on how insulin spikes can be caused by carbohydrates, sugars, toxins, allergies or any other emotional or physical stress in your life.
Anti-Inflammatory Challenge – This may blow your mind!
The anti-inflammatory (aspirin/acetaminophen/ibuprofen) challenge is a simple way to know if your fat intake is in balance. Here is the part that might blow your mind.
If any NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) pain killer like aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen works for you, then you have a fatty acid imbalance, indicating a need for less bad fats and more good fats.
The reason these drugs work so well for so many people is because most people don’t consume enough good fats. NSAIDs essentially work to temporarily balance out the good fats and the bad fats. I will not go into the dangers of NSAIDs in detail in this article, but besides causing countless deaths, NSAIDs actually impair recovery, slow healing time, promote “leaky gut” syndrome, damage your liver, deplete vitamin C and enhance more potent inflammatory chemicals. Patients should avoid NSAIDs at all costs.
The Complicated Low Back
In patients with complicated low backs it is important to dig a little, actually a lot deeper. We only covered a small percentage of things that may turn your normal low back pain into “complicated low back,” but in general by taking a holistic and total body approach to health, we can often discover many hidden triggers of pain and eliminate them so that inflammation and imbalances can decrease and pain can resolve.