Chiropractic Care for Back Pain
Back pain is among the most common health problems we are facing today. Whether the pain is in your lower back or upper back, one thing for sure is that back pain disrupts various aspects of your life such as sitting, performing daily activities, standing and walking. According to research, most people will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime. Physically demanding activities or occupations and normal aging may cause a disc in the spine to wear out and unhealthy movement practices and poor posture can speed up the process. If you’ve been suffering from back pain, you should visit a licensed chiropractor who will not only help alleviate the pain but will also prevent future occurrences.
According to statistics, nearly twenty-two million Americans visit chiropractors every year and 35% (7.7 million) of them usually seek relief from back pain. Other studies show that back pain is the leading cause of disability globally. With this number, you now know that you aren’t alone in this, but you don’t have to miss work or fail to enjoy your life as you can see a chiropractor for back pain and your problem will be solved.
Common Causes of Back Pain:
- Muscle strains
- Sports injuries
- Heavy lifting
- Stress of everyday life
Anatomy of the Back and Back Pain
It is important to understand the anatomy of your back in order to effectively communicate with the chiropractor treating your back pain. First things first, when you mention your back, you’re referring to your spine which runs from the base of the skull to the pelvis. Your vertebral column also known as the backbone protects the spinal cord and supports body weight. Your spine’s anatomy can be divided into four different sections; the neck (cervical spine), upper back (thoracic spine), lower back (lumbar spine) and the sacral region.
An adult has 7 vertebrae in the cervical spine, 12 in the upper back, 5 in the lower back and the sacral region is made up of five vertebrae between the hipbones. The spine also consists of facet joints which facilitate movement and flexibility. In between the vertebrae are the intervertebral discs which act as shock absorbers or pads for the spine as it moves. Every disc is made up of gel-like inner substance and a tire-like outer band known as the nucleus pulposus and annulus fibrosus respectively.
Your back also consists of tendons, ligaments, muscles and blood vessels. The muscles provide power for movement, ligaments connect the bones together, tendons link muscles to the discs and bones, and the blood vessels allow for nourishment. Therefore, the four parts work together to allow movement. Injury to one or more of these body parts leads to back pain. For instance, when ligaments, muscles or tendons are injured, they result in strains or sprains although not considered serious. But, injury to nerves, blood vessels or bones is serious and can cause inflammation and pain. Discs can also bulge out and cause back pain. In simple terms, we can conclude that the reason you experience back pain is due to the straining of muscles.
Symptoms of back pain
- Pain that increases with reclining
- Muscle ache
- Stabbing or shooting pain
- Pain that worsens with lifting, walking, bending or standing
- Pain that normally radiates down the leg
- Swelling or inflammation on the back
What happens during a visit to a chiropractor?
The first visit to a back-pain chiropractor often lasts thirty minutes to one hour and you’ll be asked about your health history as well as your treatment goals. The following are some of the things you’ll be asked about;
- Past illnesses and injuries
- Any medicine you could be taking
- Current health problems
- Sleep habits
- Any mental stress you could have
- Use of tobacco, drugs, or alcohol
It is important to open up to your back-pain chiropractor and tell him or her if there’s any physical challenge that makes it hard for you to move or do certain things. Most importantly, you should say if you have any weakness, tingling, numbness or any nerve problem.
Your chiropractor for back pain will first ask about your health and then do a physical exam to test your spinal mobility. Motion and static palpation may also be used which is usually done by means of touch and movement. Your chiropractor will also examine how you walk and analyze your spinal alignment and posture. Laboratory tests, MRIs and X-rays can also be used to diagnose the cause of back pain and effective treatment will be created depending on the diagnosis.
How back pain chiropractic treatment works
Chiropractic is simply a form of healthcare focusing on the relation between the structures of the body, mainly the spine and the function. Chiropractors use a type of hands-on therapy famously known as adjustment or manipulation as their most essential clinical procedure. They focus on spinal manipulation and other alternative treatments with an objective of aligning the musculoskeletal structure of the body, especially the spine to enable self-healing without medication or surgery. Through manipulation, chiropractors can restore mobility to joints that have been restricted by tissue injury as a result of repetitive stress like improper sitting without proper back support, or traumatic event like falling.
Treatment normally starts at the second visit to a chiropractor and may last for a few weeks. Each visit lasts 10-20 minutes during which, the back-pain chiropractor will use forceful pressure on various parts of your back to realign the spine and reduce pain. The pressure is delivered by specially designed instrument or by hand and may be low in force or abrupt. Your chiropractor may also incorporate massage in your treatment.
How can chiropractors help with back pain?
Whenever you experience back pain that lasts for more than two days, it is recommendable to consult your chiropractor who will use any of the following common treatment techniques to help you become pain-free.
- Soft tissue therapy – This technique does not only treat but also relaxes sore and tight muscles. Your chiropractor can relieve your muscles of any pain by applying gentle pressure using a special tool (instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy), stretching your muscles when applying pressure (manual release therapy), or applying pressure directly to the tensed muscles (trigger point therapy)
- Manual therapy – When your joint is not moving normally, your back-pain chiropractor might use manual therapy to help regain locomotion within a joint which is done through joint mobilization or manipulation
- Exercise therapy/self-management – Depending on the severity of your back pain, the chiropractor can recommend simple exercise to do at home to manage the pain and prevent pain recurrent. Besides, you will be advised on tips for good posture, safe lifting skills and any other strategy you should consider preventing future injuries
Back pain is very common, and its severity increases as you age. There are many options to relieve pain but if you don’t want to stress yourself out with surgery or medication, chiropractic treatment is the best option. A back-pain chiropractor will always deliver a non-addictive, gentle and non-invasive therapy famously known as chiropractic adjustment to reduce spine misalignment or joint restrictions in an effort to reduce pain and improve the function of the joint and nervous system. If the pain on your back is unbearable, look for a chiropractor near you for diagnosis and treatment.
This article was provided by Dr. Francis Raines, a chiropractor in Spring Valley, NV: www.c1chirocare.com