Here's What Your Low Back Pain is Trying to Tell You and How to Get Rid of It for Good!

Published March 28th, 2019 by Shofmann

84% of Americans suffer from lower back pain. Its an epidemic that has been widely misunderstood.

Atherosclerosis is the build up of plaques in the walls of our arteries. Atherosclerosis is more commonly understood to be the leading cause of heart disease and heart attacks, but it is also the cause of many other diseases in our body, including lower back pain and sciatica. To paint a bigger picture, imagine all of the arteries in your body that supply blood to all of your organs, muscles and tissues. Atherosclerosis causes heart disease and heart attacks because fat clogged arteries that flow to the heart result in diminished blood flow to the heart muscle, causing muscle tissue death, and eventually leads to a weak pumping heart muscle and a poor functioning heart. All arteries in our body are treated equally, which effectively means that if the arteries to your heart can become clogged from saturated fat and cholesterol, then arteries that supply blood flow to the intervertebral disc can also become clogged from saturated fat and cholesterol. When limited blood flow is going to any major tissue or organ in your body, tissue disease and death is the result. In a research study that measured the association between serum cholesterol levels and chronic low back pain, researchers concluded that "patients with long term lower back pain often have occluded lumbar/middle sacral arteries and that occlusion of these arteries is associated with disc degeneration. Furthermore, patients with high LDL cholesterol reported more severe symptoms." 

My favorite MD, Dr. Michael Greger details several research studies that support the association between atheroscleoris and lower back pain. He specifically mentions a study that touches on sciatica syndrome. Sciatica is characterized by low back pain with radiation to the lower limb along the distribution of a spinal nerve root. He mentions that the lower lumbar nerve roots are the ones most commonly associated with sciatic pain, and they are supplied with all of their necessary blood flow by the lumbar and spinal cord arteries. When fat clogs these arteries, not only does the intervetrabral disc suffer diminished blood flow and tissue disease, but so do the associated nerve roots. The researchers state, " As nerve ischemia (decreased blood flow to nerve tissue) is known to evoke intensive pain, lumbar nerve root ischemia could also be considered as a possible cause of sciatica." Dr. Greger also mentions that low back pain is a predictor of heart disease and heart attacks, much like erectile disfunction is. The reason low back pain and erectile dysfunction can predetermine your risk for heart disease is because the arteries and blood vessels that flow to these areas of the body are much smaller than the ones that flow to the heart, making them the first arteries in the body to become filled with plaque. It takes a few years for the larger arteries to the heart to become filled with plaque leading to heart disease or some kind of cardiac event. Dr. Greger mentions a research study that found this exact correlation in patients with low back pain, stating that men 39-40 years old reporting low back pain, had a significantly increased risk of dying of ischemic heart disease during the 13 years of follow up. 

If you have high cholesterol and you're worried the damage has been done, worry no more! The body has an amazing ability to heal itself when you provide it with the right conditions. Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Essylstyn performed one of the largest, most comprehensive research studies on advanced heart disease and high cholesterol and the effects of a plant-based diet. They found that not only did it stop the disease from progressing, it actually reversed the disease. As soon as patients fed their body plants, the plaques began dissolving away. So there you have it. Its's never too late to start doing whats right for your body! If you're looking for an easy place to start, check out some of our delicious recipes, if you don't know where to start or have no time to cook, check out our variety of fresh, delicious plant-based meals

Happy healing!

Sources cited: 

P Leino-Arjas, L Kauppila, L Kaila-Kangas, R Shiri, S Heistaro, M Heliovaara. Serum lipids in relation to sciatica among Finns. Atherosclerosis. 2008 Mar;197(1):43-9. Epub 2007 Sep 7.

L I Kauppila. Atherosclerosis and disc degeneration/low-back pain--a systematic review. Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2009 Jun;37(6):661-70.

J Penttinen. Back pain and risk of fatal ischaemic heart disease: 13 year follow up of Finnish farmers. BMJ. Nov 12, 1994; 309(6964): 1267–1268.

J P G Urban, S Roberts. Degeneration of the intervertebral disc. Arthritis Res Ther. 2003; 5(3): 120–130.

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