Chiropractors/low back pain

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Question
I am a 43 year old male weighing 160 pounds and six foot tall. I have no history of lower back injuries. I wondering what happens in the back that would cause pain when I lean forward at a 45 degree angle. This occurs if I would be in front of my bathroom sink which is a few inches below my waist line. I can't really bend my knees without them hitting the front of the sink. If I lean directly forward it doesn't cause much problems (I notice, though, that my hips go into external rotation as I lean forward). Is this pain just a result of muscle weakness/imbalance and if so is there a exercise i can perform to strengthen the area. Feel free to use medical jargon (I have taken anatomy classes).

Answer
Rick,

This is a textbook demonstration of lumbar intervertebral disc irritation.   When the trunk is partially bent forward, e.g. in a forward slump, the lumbar vertebrae compress the cartilage discs that sit in between them.   This forces the discs to pressurize.  If they are in tact - think of bubble wrap with chambers filled with firm jello instead of air - the hydrostatic pressure will keep the disc's shape and the keep the vertebrae aligned and in tact.   If the disc is degenerated, torn, internally beat up, etc, the fibrous chambers fissure.  This impairs the integrity of the disc, and when loaded up during trunk flexion, it causes the disc to bulge or "slip" in some way.  Thus the pain.  Find someone to instruct you on proper body mechanics, test you with the "Prone Instability Test or PIT" (google this), and try some basic back exercises (see my web site, www.drgillman.com).   Do not let anyone x-ray you!!!  

'Hope this was helpful.  

Dr. G'

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Scott F. Gillman, DC, DACBSP

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21 Years in practice: I can answer any question regarding chiropractic and sports medicine treatment. Mostly, I can help the unknowing public understand what is safe, valid, reasonable and evidence-based, and what kinds of unscrupulous chiropractors and fraudulent methods to stay away from. I have an advanced specialty degree in Chiropractic Sports Medicine. I have experience treating elite and Olympic athletes.

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