Atlas Misalignment: A Hidden Cause of Low Back Pain


Low back pain is a common problem that becomes almost a fact of life as you age. Reports show that 50% of adults over the age of 60 experience lower backache. It is one of the leading causes for doctor visits among the age group.

This condition also comes with a hefty price tag, all due to costs for healthcare bills, disability payments, and missed days of work. Fortunately, figures of back pain injuries have been decreasing thanks to the implementation of preventive actions and the availability of better education about proper lifting techniques.

Explaining the Spine Structure

The spinal column consists of vertebrae, which are a series of bones coated with a thin layer of cartilage. Shock-absorbing discs act as a cushion and separate the bones. Ligaments and muscles hold the discs and bones in place, including the following:

  • Two iliopsoas muscles that connect the lower spine to the front of the hips
  • Several small paraspinal muscles in between the vertebrae
  • Two erector spinal muscles in between the vertebrae

Spinal Column, Lumbar Spine, and Other Parts of the Spine

These muscles stabilize the spine with the help of the abdominal muscles. They begin from the far end of the rib cage and the pelvis and protect the abdominal parts of the body. 

Inside the spinal column lies the spinal cord. Within the spinal cord are the spinal nerves that appear inside spaces in the vertebrae. They link up to the rest of the body nerves. 

The spinal nerve root is a section of the spinal nerve nearest to the spinal cord. Due to this fact, spinal nerve roots are prone to compression or squeezing when an injury happens. This can be one cause of lower back pain.

The lower back has the lumbar spine that links to the pelvis, chest, and legs. The lumbar spine allows movements such as turning, twisting, and bending. It gives a strong foundation for walking, lifting, and standing. Certainly, it functions for many activities in our daily lives. When the lumbar spine aches, it results in limited activities which can affect your quality of life.

Types of Pain in the Lower Back

Local pain

This is the most widespread type of back pain. It is a pain you experience in a specific spot in your lower back. Some of its common causes are muscle sprain, strain, or injury. The pain varies from occasional sharp pain to constant, persistent ache. You may feel sudden pain if it is due to an injury. Changing position can either relieve or aggravate the pain. Local pain can make the lower back feel tender to the touch. 

Referred pain

This kind of pain is pain you feel in various locations other than the site of the actual origin of pain. A perfect example is when someone has a pancreas problem, they feel pain in their back. Referred lower back pain is generally deep and aching. The exact location can be challenging to identify. Movements don’t usually worsen it, unlike pain due to muscle soreness. 

Radiating pain

This pain is a dull, aching pain that spreads from the lower back down the leg. It can come with sharp, intense pain. It often affects one side of the back or side of the leg, not the whole leg. The pain may also spread to the foot or the knee. If you experience radiating pain in your lower back, it can be due to spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, or herniated disc. Performing some actions can make it worse like bending over, coughing, sneezing, or straining. Muscle weakness, a pin-and-needles feeling, numbness, and even loss of bowel and bladder control can accompany it. 

Top Causes of Lower Back Pain

Muscle strain or sprains are the most popular reasons for low backache. You can get it from moving unexpectedly or awkwardly, lifting, exercising, or falling after an accident. Athletes and players in various sports often suffer from muscle sprains. 

Other leading causes of low back pain include the following:

  • A ruptured or herniated disk
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Compression fractures
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Sciatica
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis

Rare Causes of Lower Back Pain

  • Shingles
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Spinal infections
  • Spinal tumors
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Aneurysm or bulge in the artery of the abdomen
  • Digestive disorders (ulcers, pancreatitis, perforated peptic ulcers)
  • Urinary tract disorders (kidney stones, kidney infections, and prostate infections)
  • Disorders of the pelvis (pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and cancer of the reproductive organs)

Proper Atlas Alignment Relieves Back Pain

In the upper cervical spine lies the atlas vertebra, the topmost bone. The atlas and the other vertebrae of the spine are sort of like a set of dominoes positioned close to each other. If one misaligns, it will have an impact on the rest of the spine. A problem in one spot can affect the other areas in an instant. For this reason, atlas alignment is very important. 

Upper cervical chiropractic puts its focus on the atlas and axis vertebrae. The rest of the spine turns and shifts once either of these bones is not in proper alignment. This leads to uneven pressure and can cause muscle spasms in the lower back.

To improve the misalignments in the upper cervical spine, upper cervical chiropractors employ a very gentle method to realign the bones naturally. They only use low pressure, so it’s safe for back pain patients. Once these bones return into their proper positions, your body will start to restore its natural healing properties. Over time, the issues causing your lower back pain can disappear. 

Many patients report finding relief after just a few adjustments. Reach out to an upper cervical chiropractor near your area to experience this unique technique and finally find relief for your low back pain.

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The content and materials provided in this web site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to supplement or comprise a medical diagnosis or other professional opinion, or to be used in lieu of a consultation with a physician or competent health care professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment. All content and materials including research papers, case studies and testimonials summarizing patients' responses to care are intended for educational purposes only and do not imply a guarantee of benefit. Individual results may vary, depending upon several factors including age of the patient, severity of the condition, severity of the spinal injury, and duration of time the condition has been present.