Chronic Low Back Pain
Can a pair of orthotics help a person with chronic low back pain? In many cases, yes they can. Patients need to comprehend a concept that is relatively easy to understand. The lower extremity is a closed kinetic chain with earth on one end, and gravity on the other. Therefore, all of the joints of the lower extremity have to function to allow a natural gait. It’s like that old song, the hip bone is connected to the leg bone. Yes, an oversimplification to be sure, but a somewhat accurate one. Suffice it to say if you understand the workings of the kinetic chain, you will see it relates to chronic low back pain. We can’t promise a pair of orthotics will help every back pain sufferer. However, many will find their pain reduced or eliminated by a pair of custom orthotics.
How can orthotics help chronic low back pain?
If we think about the lower kinetic chain from the ground up, I think it will make more sense to you. Part of the normal gait cycle is pronation and supination of the forefoot. The primary shock absorption in the body is pronation. Because this takes place at heel strike and is integral to our absorption of the shock created by our foot striking the ground, we need to be aware of how it works. The secondary shock absorption is knee flexion. At heel strike, the knee is in extension, but must flex rapidly to absorb shock. Therefore, it is also important to have proper mechanics in the knee. The knee needs to internally and externally rotate as part of the shock absorption process, thereby allowing the low back to function at its best.
The orthotic solution to chronic low back pain.
By applying a custom orthotic, we can control pronation and supination. This will then correct aberrant motion in the knee allowing for proper knee flexion. Can you see how this could relieve chronic low back pain?
If there is improper shock absorption in the leg, the low back is going to suffer from the shock, due to the improper mechanics.