Ten Reasons Why Back Pain Happens and What to Do About It
Back pain is a universal, common condition that will affect nearly every adult at some point in their life. For many people, back pain might come and go in a matter of a couple of days and be just a mild annoyance. For others, back pain can be so severe that it prevents normal day-to-day activities like going to work or even bending down to pull on your socks and shoes.
Back pain can originate from different tissues and structures in the back and can happen for several reasons. To help you better understand back pain, which can also help you to get the proper care, we’ve compiled the following list of ten of the most common sources of back pain:
- Ruptured or herniated discs – Intervertebral discs sit in between each spinal vertebra, giving your spine a degree of “shock absorption”. The discs have a fibrous outer ring and a jelly-like center which allow for proper spinal movement and give your spine height and cushion. Through wear and tear or injury, the inner disc material can push out of the side of the disc and irritate the spinal cord or other surrounding nerves. This bulge or herniation can be extremely painful and cause severe back pain.
- Ligament sprain – Your spine gets a large degree of its support and stability from ligaments that run the entire length of your spinal column. No different than spraining an ankle, the ligaments of your spine can sustain damage and tear from an accident or injury.
- Muscle strain – Similar to ligament sprain, muscle strain can happen with improper twisting, bending or lifting. Muscles can also become strained from overstretching them. Back spasms result when the muscles that support your spine become extremely tight and painful.
- Disc degeneration – Over time, the discs in your spine can wear thin when they don’t get proper movement and nutrition. Discs can dehydrate, making them weak and vulnerable to injury. This also explains why people “shrink” when they age – the discs lose integrity and decrease in height and their ability to cushion which leads to discomfort.
- Traumatic injury – Back pain is a common complaint following a car accident or sports injury. A fall (or other type of injury) can be the cause of muscle or ligament damage, disc rupture, and nerve pressure or compression.
- Sciatica – The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It forms from nerve roots that branch off the spinal cord in the lower back. The sciatic nerve takes a course from your lower back, through the buttock, hip, and down the back of the leg into the calf on both sides of your body. Sciatica usually comes along with some degree of lower back pain and pain that can present anywhere along the course of the nerve, such as in the buttock or back f the calf.
- Spondylolisthesis – Spondylolisthesis describes a condition in which a vertebra slips forward out of place and puts pressure on the nerve roots exiting the spinal column. This can be a congenital condition or can be acquired from injury or spinal degeneration over time.
- Radiculopathy – When a spinal nerve root becomes irritated, inflamed, or compressed it can result in back pain, numbness, and tingling that radiates to other areas of the body. For example, a compressed nerve root in the lower back might result in numbness in the foot and an irritated nerve in the neck can lead to tingling through the shoulder and arm.
- Spinal stenosis – Your spinal cord is protected by the vertebrae of your spine and runs through a canal in the center of your spinal column. That canal can become narrowed which puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This can cause pain that can be severe and can also inhibit a person’s ability to walk, empty their bladder (a medical emergency), and feel sensations on their skin normally.
- Fibromyalgia – Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body. One of the most common musculoskeletal complaints of fibromyalgia sufferers is neck and back pain.
A Natural, Lasting Solution to Back Pain
There are certainly some lifestyle changes you can make in order to care for and prevent back pain. Among the most effective are maintaining a healthy weight and fitness level, staying well hydrated, and quitting smoking if you are a tobacco user. When you are suffering from back pain, it is important to address the cause of the problem if you are to expect any level of relief that is beyond temporary.
Your spine works as a single unit and is connected by a network of muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, and nerves. Each segment doesn’t move in isolation, rather your spine functions, moves, and compensates based on what happens elsewhere along the line. At the very top of your neck sits a vertebra called the atlas. The atlas is shaped very differently from the rest of the bones in the spine because it has a much different job to do – it holds the weight of the head on top of it and provides your head with the freedom of movement it enjoys. When the atlas misaligns, it can mean major problems for the rest of your back. When the weight of the head is not carried properly over the spine, it causes compensations that can lead to muscle spasm, strain, and increased pressure on nerves, discs, and joints.
Upper cervical chiropractic care is a gentle and effective way of addressing the underlying cause of many sources of back problems and pain. We use precise methods to detect and correct upper cervical misalignments that can be leading to dysfunction in the rest of the spine. By doing so, we are creating a solution that is long lasting, rather than masking symptoms only to have them return at a later time.
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if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.