- Dr. TJ Graber D.C., D.A.C
Part 2 - A $600 BILLION Low Back Problem
In this article, we will cover Part 2 of the 3 dynamics involved with Low Back Pain:
Inflammation and our Spine
It is not a question of IF you have inflammation, but rather how much inflammation you have and how does your body tolerate it. Inflammation in the spine is seen as degeneration, arthritis, disc disease and other conditions. In our environment today, that information can come from all areas of life. Stress is the #1 cause, followed by diet, exercise, sleep and environment. As a metabolic model, our dietary choices can directly influence our body’s ability to function and heal. This includes blood sugar, food toxicity/ sensitivity/diet, immune imbalances (autoimmunity), thyroid function, prescriptions, infections and dysbiosis (bacteria in our gut). Reducing inflammation and improving cellular function is key to getting our pain under control. A complete blood analysis and assessment with a trained professional will help a person navigate this road and keep people accountable in this recovery.
It is important to get blood analysis done for basic health assessments, but it’s also important to understand that the medical field looks at these numbers on a basis of disease. If your lab numbers are within the “normal guidelines” then the medical professionals do not treat for anything. We look at these numbers on a functional basis, which means your numbers might not be out of lab range, but if they are on the lower or higher end of the normal ranges, why not address them now to fix them before it signifies disease. We also check more inflammatory markers like c-reactive protein, homocysteine, cholesterol changes, vitamin D3, liver panels, iron panels and thyroid panels. All of these can have a dramatic effect on inflammation and pain cycles.
Another useful tool is detailed assessment questions to guide a practitioner in which direction the patient needs the most help. By having a very thorough history and deep understanding of the patient, a trained practitioner should have a very good idea of what tests to run and a treatment plan. The art of getting a patient’s history and performing an examination is being lost to expensive testing, but this is a topic for another time. Most patients have more than one complaint, but by the rules of simplicity, these different complaints are more than likely linked by a common issue.
Genetics play a big role in how your body processes inflammation and with the ability to test your genetic disposition for nutrition and inflammation, it can be a very useful tool. We check genetics for this very reason and find very helpful life-long suggestions to improve people’s lives.
Let’s take diet into consideration. A patient may present with headaches, ringing in the ears, some nausea and low back pain that’s been there off and on for 2 years. What do you treat? Most practitioners would treat these as separate issues giving plans or medications for each. Gluten-induced cerebellar ataxia is a medical condition documented for over 15 years and demonstrates all these symptoms. Simply eliminating gluten from the diet can be the fix for these patients. Insulin resistance/diabetes, artificial sweeteners, dairy and even MSG can cause similar symptoms. Dietary issues are a major factor in our inflammation cycles along with weight and exercise. This is a big ocean to try to sail through, so it is important to find a practitioner you trust when you are ready to find your way home.
Next time, we’ll discuss the Neurological Dynamic in this 3-part series… so keep calm and keep up, we got a lot to cover.