• Dr. TJ Graber D.C., D.A.C

A $600 BILLION Low Back Problem

One in four adults with low back pain report limited activity due to the chronic pain– three times more likely than any other condition.

Low back pain is the leading stressor in healthcare, even above heart disease, diabetes and cancer based on The Global Burden of Disease Study. Its economic burden ranges from $84 Billion to $624 Billion annually in the United States ALONE! This range is figured from hospitalizations, therapy, surgery, rehabilitation, medication, disability, secondary complications, missed work, addiction and mental health. It has also been reported as the number 1 reason for ER visits. This condition is truly a ripple in the pond that is creating waves, eroding our shores or quality of life.


IN THIS SERIES, WE WILL COVER THE 3 TOPICS THAT ADDRESS CHRONIC LOW BACK PAIN:

• Structural

• Neurological

• Metabolic

I define a chronic condition that is evident for over 6 months in duration. At this point, the body changes that occur due to the pain are beginning to make long-term reflections in the person’s body and life. Although these changes are considered long-term if left unmanaged, they are not permanent. We are not born with pain; therefore, the processes that occur with pain can be changed.


Most patients and Doctors approach low back pain as a direct structural model of treatment, for example, you have pain in the low back at the left SI joint, so most Doctors will assume you have an issue at that joint. So, we will adjust, massage, therapy, medicate, inject and possibly fuse to stop the pain. Now, let us say that you have an imbalance at the cervical spine from eye and postural changes that result from a concussion 12 years ago. You now have muscle tightness which is causing an extension of that SI joint to keep you balanced. All those previous modalities are no longer effective in treating your issue: the neurological imbalances. If the treating doctors do not assess the primary neurological condition causing this pain, you will not get better; therefore, failed chiropractic, failed physical therapy, failed surgery. Doctors must perform an overall assessment and history with any condition.


Our spines are actually a “Biotensegrity Model” as it relates to the brain as described in medical journals since the 1970’s. Biotensegrity is defined as “Tension and Integrity” and the response a system has to external forces by transmitting the force throughout the entire structure and then how a system returns to its original state. This definition is also the reason for spinal alterations that occur in one area of the spine and cause symptoms elsewhere. Such as an issue in the neck from a car accident and manifests in the low back as pain.


Hafthor, “The Mountain,” Bjornsson set a new world record deadlift at 1,041 pounds. This is biotensegrity at its core. I can guarantee “The Mountain” has low back changes indicative of trauma, but because of his structural biotensigrity and his health, he can achieve something that no one else has in history. Is his structure all that different from ours? No. Can we all train ourselves to lift 1041 pounds? Probably not. We do not have the same genetic makeup, but the integrity is very similar. This is how we can use proper influence on our structure to change the integration of the spine and its balance with the brain.


In a true structural injury, chiropractic, physical therapy, injections and even surgery can be beneficial when deemed appropriate. In CHRONIC cases, the other dynamics: Metabolic and Neurological, are now part of the process. In the next series, we’ll discuss the implications of a person’s Metabolic Dynamics on Chronic Low Back Pain.


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