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What is the cause of pain in the back?
Lower back pain can be a common problem. Back pain is the number one reason people visit a doctor and miss work. Back pain is common in children as young as five years old. It is also a leading cause for disability.
Back pain is more common with age. Most Americans will experience back discomfort at some point in life. A small percentage of back pain can become chronic.
Tacoma chiropractic treatment could be an option for these people.
What should I know regarding back pain?
Back pain can range from a constant, dull ache to a sudden sharp, or shooting sensation. It can happen suddenly from an injury or lifting heavy objects, or it can become more common as we age. Too much exercise, followed by a hard workout can all lead to back pain.
The lower back, where most back pain is felt, includes the five vertebrae (referred as L1-L5) located in the lumbar region. These five vertebrae support a large portion of the body’s weight. Intervertebral disks, which are rubbery, round pads that cushion the spine and act as shock absorbers throughout it, keep the spaces between the vertebrae. Ligaments, which are bands of tissue that hold the vertebrae together, connect the muscles to their spinal column. The spinal cord contains 31 pairs of nerves. They transmit signals from the brain to the body and control body movements.
Most acute low-back pain is of a mechanical nature. This means that there is disruption in the way the back components (the spinal, muscle, intervertebral and nerves) move and fit together. These are just a few examples of mechanical causes for low back pain:
Muscle and ligament strain. Repeated heavy lifting or sudden awkward movements can result in straining the spinal ligaments and muscles. Constant strain on your back may cause muscle spasms if you’re not in good physical condition.
Bulging or rupturing disks. Disks are cushions between the vertebrae in your spine. The soft material in a disk can burst, rupture or press on a nerve. It is possible to have a ruptured or bulging disk without experiencing back pain. The most common way disk disease is discovered is when you get spine X-rays.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that can affect the lower spine. In certain cases, arthritis can cause narrowing in the space around the spinal canal. This is known as spinal stenosis.
If your bones are porous and brittle, pain can result in painful fractures of the vertebrae.
If you have back pain due to strain or misuse it can usually be temporary and last for days if not treated promptly.
If your back pain doesn’t improve in 2 weeks, you should see your doctor. Sometimes back pain could be a sign or symptom of a serious medical condition.
If a serious illness is ruled out, consider Chiropractic treatment.
Back pain: Professional and at-home remedies
Self-care and home treatment can often improve back pain within weeks. Contact your doctor if your back pain:
- Persists beyond a few weeks
- Severe, and does not improve with rest
- Spreads down one or both feet, especially if pain extends below knees
- Causes weakness or numbness in one or both legs.
- Unexplained weight losses are common
In rare cases, severe medical problems can cause back pain. Seek immediate care if your back pain:
- New bowel or bladder problems
- If it is accompanied a fever
- You may sustain a blow to the back or fall.
You can rest after strenuous activity, but movement will help to reduce stiffness and pain, as well as prevent your muscles from weakening.
Many products claim to be able to prevent or alleviate back pain, which is why so many people use them. However, there isn’t any evidence that shoes inserts, back supports or specially designed furniture can provide relief.
Additionally, it doesn’t appear that there is a best mattress for back pain. It will probably come down to which mattress feels the most comfortable.
The majority of nonsteroidal, non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (NSAID), can be taken over-the-counter to relieve your discomfort.
Opioids, which are stronger pain medication that can be prescribed for severe pain, are available. These medications include oxycodone (“OxyContin”) and a combination of hydrocodone (“Vicodin”) that affect the brain cells to reduce pain.
Although antidepressants such as amitriptyline may be prescribed, research continues on their effectiveness and evidence is mixed.
Cortisone injections may be used if other methods fail to work. These can be injected in the epidural space around the spinal cord. Cortisone is an antiinflammatory drug. It reduces inflammation at the nerve root. It may also be possible to inject injections to treat pain.
Botox: Botox (botulismtoxin) is a painkiller that paralyzes sprained muscles. These injections work for 3 to 4 month.
Traction: To stretch the back, weights and pulleys can be used. This could result in the herniated disc moving back into place. However, traction can be used to relieve the pain.
Physical therapy: You can relieve pain by using heat, ice or ultrasound.
The chiropractor may recommend flexibility and strength exercises that can be done for the back or abdominal muscles to help ease the pain. You may also find techniques to improve your posture.
To prevent recurrence of back pain, the patient will need to be instructed to practice the techniques daily even after the pain has subsided.
Experts believe that TENS can stimulate the body to make endorphins and block pain signals going back to it. TENS research has produced mixed results. Some showed no benefit, while others indicated it could be helpful.
The possibility of back surgery is rare. The only option for patients suffering from a herniated disc is surgery.
A chiropractor can provide long-term relief.
Back Pain Causes
Although back pain can be caused by many things, your doctor may not be able to identify the cause. An experienced chiropractor is often able to spot it.
These conditions are often associated with back pain:
Strained muscles can often cause back discomfort. Strain is often caused by incorrect lifting heavy objects or sudden awkward movements.
Overactivity can also cause strain. Strain can also be caused by overactivity.
Vertebrae are interlocking, stacked bones that make up the spine. Discs are a type of tissue that cushions the space between vertebrae. Disc injuries are quite common causes of back pain.
Herniated or bulging discs can cause pain. Sciatica (or irritation of the sciatic nervous system) can result from a bulging or pressing disc on your nerve. Sciatica may be felt in your leg:
Spinal osteoarthritis can also cause back pain. It can be caused by damage to or deterioration of the cartilage joints in your lower spine.
The osteoporosis process, which results in a loss of bone density or thinning, can cause small vertebrae fractures. These fractures are also called compression fractures.
While there are many causes of back discomfort, the majority are uncommon. If you have persistent back pain, see your doctor immediately.
Anybody can experience back pain. Even teenagers. These factors could increase your risk of getting back pain.
It can occur from injury, physical activity, and other medical conditions. People of all ages can experience back pain for different reasons. Due to factors like previous occupations and degenerative disc disease, the likelihood of developing lower back problems increases with age.
Lower back pain could be related to the bony and lumbar spines, discs in the vertebrae between the vertebrae. Ligaments around the spine and disks, spinal cord, nerves, spinal cord, lower back muscles, pelvic internal organs, the skin around the lumbar region, and the ligaments around it.
A hunched, upright sitting position while using computers can lead over time to shoulder and back problems.
Back pain symptoms
The most common symptom of back discomfort is a pain or ache in the back. Sometimes, it can even go all the way to the legs and buttocks.
How to prevent back pain
Regular exercise builds strength and controls body weight. Low-impact, guided aerobic exercises can improve heart health without straining the back. Talk to a healthcare professional before starting any exercise program.
The abdominal and back muscles support you and keep you upright while you do your physical activities. They can be strengthened to help reduce strain or pain in your back.
Include core-focused strength training in your workouts a few times per week.
The Food You Eat
Vitamin D and calcium are essential for bone health. A healthy diet can help control your body weight.
Smoking: The incidence of back pain is significantly higher in smokers than non-smokers.
The risk of developing back problems depends on how much weight someone is carrying and where it is. The difference between normal-weight and obese people is substantial. The risk of back pain is higher for those who are heavier in the abdomen than the hips or buttocks.
Poor posture can lead to unnecessary pressure and strain on the spine. This can cause injury and pain.
Standing position: You should have a neutral pelvic alignment. Balance your weight equally on both your feet and stand straight with your head up. Your spine should be in alignment with your head and legs.
When sitting, be sure to maintain a straight spine. A good working seat should offer good back support and armrests. Sitting should be done with your knees and hips straight. You can also keep your feet flat on a hard surface, such as a table or a stool. Sitting upright should allow you to support your small back. You should ensure that your elbows and forearms align with the keyboard.
Take care when lifting
To maintain balance, keep your back straight. Keep your feet as far apart as possible. Do not bend at your knees. Keep the weight close by your body. Straighten your legs and adjust your position as little as you can.
While it is natural to bend your spine at the beginning, this is not an option. It is important to not straighten your legs when lifting. If you do, you will be using your back most of the time.
Do not lift and turn at the same moment. When lifting, keep your eyes focused straight ahead and not upwards or downwards. This will ensure that your back is straight from your spine.
Moving things: It is easier for your back and legs to push things on the ground using your leg strength rather than pulling them.
It is crucial to have adequate support for your back. The wing mirrors should be properly placed so you don’t have the need to twist. The pedals should be directly in front your feet. Make sure you take plenty of breaks, especially if you are going on a long journey. Move around in the car.
Your mattress should keep your spine straight while supporting the weight of the shoulders and buttocks. Make sure your pillow does not tilt your neck.
Carrying Bags An Purses
You should avoid carrying heavy purses, laptop bags, luggage, or briefcases that place unnecessary strain on your neck and spine.
Use bags that have a more even weight distribution, such a backpack, to reduce the amount of things you need to transport. Use a bag with wheels if you are able to reduce the weight.
Back Pain Risk Factors
Sometimes back pain is caused by a problem in how your spine, muscles, discs and nerves move.
Although age is a factor, there are other factors that can cause low back pain, such as injuries, poor posture and illnesses.
Age: Low back pain usually starts between 30 and 50 years old. As you get older, the likelihood of experiencing back pain increases. Osteoporosis can cause fractures and decrease muscle tone and elasticity. The fluid and flexibility of the intervertebral spines begins to decrease with age. This affects their ability, in turn, to cushion the vertebrae. The risk of developing spinal stenosis with age also increases.
As we age the bones, discs, ligaments and muscles in our spines naturally begin to weaken. All people experience some form of this, but it doesn’t mean that it has to be a problem. Not everyone will feel pain.
As we age, the discs in our spines become smaller and the space between the vertebrae becomes narrower. Osteophytes are small pieces of bone that may develop at the edges and facet joints of the vertebrae.
This condition is known medically as spondylosis. It’s very similar in appearance to osteoarthritis.
Maintaining a healthy spine and strong muscles around the spine, pelvis, and surrounding areas will help reduce the effects of spondylosis.
Physical fitness: Back pain is more common in those who aren’t physically fit. The spine may be not supported by weak abdominal and back muscles. Weekend warriors, who are people who exercise often after being inactive for the week, are more likely than those who do moderate activity to their back. Research has shown that aerobic exercise, which is low-impact, can help to maintain intervertebral health.
Weight gain: Obesity, rapid weight gain, and being overweight can cause stress to the back, which can lead to back pain.
Genetics: Some back pain causes, such as ankylosing-spondylitis (a type of arthritis that involves fusion and immobilization of spinal joints), may have a genetic component.
Factors associated with your job: Any job that requires heavy lifting or pushing or pulling, or involves twisting or vibrating your spine, can lead injury or back pain. Poor posture and sitting in a poor back support chair can all contribute to pain.
Overloaded backpacks can lead to muscular fatigue in children.
Mental health: How your mental health affects your risk of developing back pain. Your risk of experiencing back pain is higher if you work in stressful conditions or are suffering from anxiety and depression.
Back Pain In Pregnancy
Back pain can occur in any trimester during pregnancy. There may be several reasons. Talking to your doctor about the pain you are experiencing is a good idea.
As your baby gets bigger, the center of your “gravity”, or your body’s gravity, moves outward. The change in balance will affect your spine and back arch. This added stress put on the lower part of your lumbar spinal column.
Weight gain can be an important part of pregnancy. However, even the slightest bit you do gain in those nine months can place more stress on your back.
When your body prepares for giving birth, hormones are released that cause the ligaments that support your pelvis (lumbar spine) to be loosen. The same hormones that cause pain and discomfort can also cause bones to shift in your spine.
The spine, also known as the backbone, or spinal column, gives us great flexibility and strength.
It is made up 24 bones (vertebrae), each one on top of another. These bones are supported with strong ligaments and muscles and have discs between. There are also bones in the tailbone that run down the back. They are fused together without any discs.
There are many small joints on each side of your spine that run from top-to-bottom. These are called the facet joint.
The spinal cord connects directly to the brain at the base of your skull. It also connects to other parts of your body via nerves that run between the bones of your spine. These nerves are also called nerve roots.