Get Chronic Back Pain Checked Before Shoveling

By Dr. James R. Fedich, Chiropractor, Village Family Clinic

Winter’s coming and while we’ve gotten off the hook pretty much so far, sooner or later we are going to get a couple of those whopper snowstorms. And that means back problems for a lot of people, if they are not careful.

Back pain is nothing new of course, whether or not you are pushing yourself too hard shoveling snow. 

Research has shown that the pain in your back can also be a pain in your brain.  Research conducted at Northwestern University has discovered that chronic lower back pain can deteriorate brain function.  The study was performed on 42 individuals, half with chronic back pain and half without.  The study found that in patients with six months or longer of low back pain they had lost about 1.3 cubic centimeters of brain matter.  This much loss of brain matter is equal to the amount lost in ten to twenty years of aging. 

The study also found that every year a person has chronic low back pain, they lose the same 1.3 cubic centimeters of brain matter.  This essentially means that for every one year that you have chronic back pain, your brain ages 10 – 20 years.  So, if you have lower back pain for 3 years, which many people have, your brain may have aged 60 years in that time.  This is some very significant research.

Essentially, that achy low back you have been putting off for years has been slowly destroying your brain.  Dr. A. Vania Apkararian who headed that study, states, “Chronic pain is a state of continuous persistent perception with associated negative affect and stress.” 

This research supports what chiropractors have been saying for years.  Your body is a highly tuned machine, and when a part of that machinery is not working properly, it disrupts the rest of your system.  If you have nerve compression in your low back, and the impulses from your brain are not allowed to travel freely down the nerves, then of course this will affect your brain.  Your brain is always monitoring the body, and if it cannot send and receive messages to a part of the body, this interferes with its system.  The nervous system is a highly tuned machine, and just like your car it needs a tune up. 

Now is as good a time as any to get a check up and make sure that everything is working well.  Nobody ever looks back on life and wishes they had taken worse care of their body.  Take care of yourself now before you regret it later! And please don’t overdo it shoveling snow. Remember, bend and lift! Overdoing it is a sure way to have back problems, as well as other health issues.


This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.  This article is not intended to substitute for the advice of a doctor. To contact Dr. Fedich at Village Family Clinic, Route 517, Allamuchy, phone 908-813-8200 or visit

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