Lower back pain accompanied by clicking of vertebrae

by k.C
(Hamilton, Ontario, Canada )

This is what is happening to the hyaline cartilage in your back and knees.

This is what is happening to the hyaline cartilage in your back and knees.

Hello there,

I am currently having issues with lower back pain and would greatly appreciate any guidance you may have to offer.

Physical traits
-30 years old
-6'4" tall
-275 lbs
-on my feet for much of my day
-physically active but weak core

Affliction description
-Lower few vertebrae
-No pain in legs
-Constant ache, no sharp pains
-Alleviated temporarily by cracking lower back
-Lower back joints crack and click repeatedly after long periods of rest. I.e. Sleep.
-Pain increases after long periods of vertically
-Tylenol helps, Aleve does not

Now I understand that pain in certain areas in normal as one gets older. However, at this point I cannot think that this level of pain and the consistency at which it is felt is due to a certain ailment for which there may be a remedy.

Could you please let me know what you think could be causing this pain, and if there is anything I should be doing to alleviate. Also, perhaps seeing a professional in person would be an idea, but in which profession should I seek my answers and is there a common affliction that causes such symtoms that I could be better informed upon my visit.

Many thanks in advance, I look forward to hearing back from you.


Hello KC,
What really disturbs me is that "getting older".
If you're getting older at 30, then what am I at 68? A fossil?!

Cracking your own spine is a pernicious habit; it will utterly ruin the cartilage lining the joints in your back.

Firstly, when a chiropractor adjusts your back, he applies distraction to that the manipulation doesn't grind the cartilage of one facet onto that of the other; you can't do that.

And secondly, whilst there are varying opinions, mine is that a particular joint should not be manipulated more than about 25 times in a year, and that may be too much. You are probably doing that many in a week.

Yes, your back is getting older, and will be fossilized in arthritis before long if you don't stop. I'm being serious.

I don't need to tell you that you are overweight. I've just calculated your BMI and at 33.5 you are dangerously obese. Strokes, heart attack, arthritis in the knees and a host of other afflictions await. The extra weight pressing down from one facet on that below is contributing to your pain.

By now you are probably thoroughly irritated with me; sorry, can't be helped.

I have two strong recommendations. Neither are particularly onerous and will change your life.

1. Start doing the simple lower back exercises you'll find at Chiropractic help every single morning, without fail, before getting out of bed. They take less than two minutes. I too have had serious lower back injuries, but if I do my own exercises every morning I have little or no pain. You can expect the same.

2. Forget dieting. Instead learn about the meaning of glycemic index. Those foods with a high GI give a rapid surge in blood sugar, spike in insulin which then stores that glucose as fat. An internet search will tell you all you need to know; it's not rocket science.

In short, could you live with absolutely no white rice, potatoes, refined bread and sugary colas? You urgently need to get your weight below 250 to get out of the danger zone.

And lastly start hunting for a local chiropractor who is thorough, big and strong. It's going to take a strong man to adjust your spine.

Good luck; do it as the alternative is too ghastly to contemplate.

Dr B

» Lower back pain accompanied by clicking of vertebrae

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti-inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He is doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost pain-free. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily stroll has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift; he has a short leg.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. X-rays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65-year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88-year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done. 

10. Mr X is a 71-year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a few months ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he could not sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71-year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

Do you have a problem that is not getting better?

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CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.

You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

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