Types of Back pain

Posterior_view_of_lumbar_region_for_electrostimulation_electrode_placementAs any good chiropractor would tell you, there is no single cause of back pain. This is because back pain can occur due to various reasons, and affect different areas. It is important that you have an understanding of the nature of your ailment before going to the chiropractor for treatment.

Location Of The Pain

Back pain is classified in two categories, depending on where the pain occurs.

Upper Back Pain

Pain in the upper back, shoulders or neck is termed as upper back pain. There can be certain causes of upper back pain, such as stretched tendons or damaged ligaments due to strenuous physical work. Upper back pains aren’t as common as lower back pains, and can be treated by taking pain relievers such as Paracetamol or by visiting a Chiropractor.

Lower Back Pain

Like the name suggests, lower back pains are directed at the base of the back, and occur due to the overstretching of muscles in the lower back or direct injury to that area. This pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as lifting something heavy or bending in an awkward position. Treatment for lower back pains is the same as for upper back pains.

Duration Of The Pain

Besides location, pain can also be classified according to duration.

Acute Back Pain

A short term pain, lasting from a few days to weeks, is called an acute back pain. There may be numerous causes of this pain, the most common being blunt trauma caused by Ankylosing spondilytis, arthritis or other medical conditions.

The symptoms of this pain can range from muscular aches and incorrect posture to shooting pains in the buttocks and back of the legs. Acute back pain can lead to serious problems, but is generally harmless, and most people tend to let it heal itself.

Chronic Back Pain

If the pain lasts for more than 3 months, it is termed as chronic back pain. The cause of chronic back pain can rarely be determined without the help of a Chiropractor or other medical professional. This long term pain gets progressively worse with time; immediate treatment is necessary to prevent further complications.

Now that you know what type of back pain you suffer from, you can act on them by looking up for home treatments online, or doing exercises which may stimulate the back. It is also recommended that you visit your nearest chiropractor who could suggest you treatment options.

 

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Causes of Back Pain

10418151535_d230e6de16Back pain may occur due to various reasons; be it a sports injury, pulling a heavy object or a fall/ injury to the spine. If you are suffering from back pain, it would be wise to have a look at some of the common risk factors and causes of back pain before going to the chiropractor.

Risk Factors

The risk of back pain varies in different individuals, depending on their lifestyle. People who work in a mentally stressful job, smoke or go through strenuous physical work are more susceptible to back pain than those who don’t. Other factors such as pregnancy, anxiety, depression and obesity can also lead to this condition. Age is also a factor, as older individuals are at a higher risk than younger ones.

Causes Of Back Pain

Strain

The most common cause of back pain is strained muscles and ligaments, which may be a result of lifting something heavy or a sudden awkward movement. It can also be caused by improper posture due to a bad mattress or sitting position.

Structural Problems

The human body is a complex structure composed of bones, muscle, ligaments and joints. A fault in any of these can cause numerous problems, including back pain. Some particular structural problems that may affect the back are as follows:

Arthritis

Arthritis can cause various joint problems in the hips and lower back.

Bulging And Ruptured Disks

The vertebra in our spine is cushioned by a disk, so a ruptured disk would result in more pressure on the nerves, resulting in back aches. A bulging disk would put even more pressure on the nerves.

Sciatica

A bulging disk can also press on a nerve in the spine, causing a shooting pain through the buttocks and down the legs.

Curvature Of The Spine

An unnatural curvature of the spine can cause the space around the spinal cord to narrow, causing back pains.

Osteoporosis

A vertebra fracture can be caused by the bones becoming more brittle.

Spinal Cancer

A growth or tumor on the spine may press against a nerve.

Infections

Infection of the nerves (shingles) and spine may also cause pains.

Cauda Equine Syndrome

The growth of nerve roots at the bottom of the spinal cord can cause a dull pain, as well as lack of feeling in the upper buttocks.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: There’s pain in my head by Stefan Neuweger

 

Spondylolysis and Lower Back Pain

385px-Spinal_column_curvature_2011Spondylolysis is one of many conditions that chiropractic practices have to deal with. The condition occurs due to a weakness in the section of the vertebrae that is known as pas interaticularis. This is a thin piece of bone that is responsible for connecting the lower and upper portion of the facet joints. These join in the vertebrae’s upper and lower section to form a comprehensive network of bone that allows the spine to move.

The defect can lead to small fractures in the spine that cause certain vertebrae to slip out of place.

Some chiropractic practices say that Spondylolysis is a hereditary disease especially considering infants who are born with a thin vertebrae, a condition that puts them at a higher risk for fractures.   Repetitive trauma to the lower back may also cause the pars interarticularis to weaken over time.

Symptoms

Those who have spondylolysis do not experience any symptoms and which is exactly why they might not be aware of it once it does occur. Low back pain is the most common symptom once the pain from the condition spreads. It feels like a muscle in the lower back has been sprained and usually gets worse with exercise or activity. It can also occur during a teenager’s growth spurt after puberty which is why the typical age of a person who acquires the condition is usually between 15 to 16 years.

The condition usually occurs in 3 to 4% of the population and is the most common cause of lower back pain in children or people below the age of 26. Spondylolysis is more common in kids or teenagers who take part in vigorous activities that over extend their spines such as weightlifting, gymnastics and football.

Treatment

The condition calls for a more conservative approach. Chiropractic care of Spondylolysis would aim to reduce the pain, let the fracture heal and help return the patient to normal activities. Patients are also advised to refrain from any vigorous physical activities such as exercise or sports to help them heal faster. Treatments for severe cases often involve the use of a back brace or support which helps stabilize the back and prevent lower back pain to aid the healing process.

The condition might not be preventable in some cases however certain steps can be taken to reduce the risk of fractures in the lower back.

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Failed Back Syndrome – The Result of a Failed Spinal Surgery

380px-Spine_of_scapulaFailed back syndrome is a term that is used to define a failed spinal surgery that causes continued pain to the patient. Not much can be done regarding a case of failed back syndrome apart from performing a second surgery. Chiropractic care has, however, introduced means of therapy and adjustment to the spine that can significantly reduce the ill effects of the syndrome with undergoing surgery.

The truth is that outcome of a spinal surgery cannot be predicted precisely.  Sometimes an MRI scan can show an abnormal image which could lead to a wrong diagnosis of the problem.

Causes of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Some possible causes of a failed back surgery syndrome may include:

  • A wrong diagnosis of the patient’s condition
  • Incorrect surgery procedure performed on the patient
  • Surgery performed at an incorrect level of the spinal column
  • A failed spinal fusion surgery that had led to other complications
  • Continued pinching of the nerve despite the surgery
  • Scar tissue formation

Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

The symptoms of a failed back syndrome include:

  • Chronic pain that continues even after the surgical procedure
  • Pain around the treated level of spine
  • Slow or no recovery from the surgery
  • Moving around is difficult and flexibility is compromised
  • Throbbing pain in the back
  • Spasms
  • High levels of anxiety leading to depression

Alternates to Repetitive Surgery 

Before undergoing another surgery, chiropractors recommend trying the following:

  • Undergo physical therapy – Physical therapy has proven to be a great method in relieving back-pains of all kinds
  • Try Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation – This therapy is performed by inducing low voltage to reduce pain
  • Take non steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines – These medicine can help suppress inflammation which is a major factor in causing pain
  • Get injected with Steroids – Epidural Steroid Injections are a common method of treating inflamed spinal nerves
  • Carry out therapeutic exercises – Exercises help greatly in pain management
  • Have hot and cold compresses – Hot and cold compresses applied on the pain-stricken area can greatly reduce the inflammation and pain

Due to the vast nature of spinal surgeries, it is always best to consult with a physician or a chiropractor to find a solution that is suitable for a specific case.  Professional advice is necessary when it comes to severe cases.

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Chiropractors – Helping Alleviate Back Pain, One Treatment at a Time

download (2)Back pain is a problem that affects 15-20% of all Americans every year. From the general rigors of every day work to the excess weight many carry around on their body, back pain gets to us all. However, there is an easy and non-invasive way to that very pain. Chiropractors have worked for over a hundred years, perfecting their art and liberate people from their back pain.

Causes of Back Pain

For most people, back pain is usually moderate to severe. For most, the cause of pain is simply the rigors of a busy life. For others, it is a consequence of obesity. However, depending on the weight of the person and the extent of their current back pain, the pain can naturally vanish or may become worse.

Techniques

Most chiropractors use a range of techniques such as spinal manipulation and mobilization to help the joints in the spinal column enjoy a greater degree of freedom, alleviating back pain. For example, many spinal manipulation techniques help realign the spinal column and bring it back into its original form. However, this requires multiple treatments. Then again, spinal mobilization is a gentler technique many chiropractors use to treat patients.

Reasons for Preference

Possibly the most important reason why over 40 million Americans prefer their chiropractors to regular physicians is the fact that they use non-invasive techniques to alleviate pain. Without using drugs and surgery, the risk of side effects and infection is virtually zero.

Another reason why most people prefer chiropractors to regular physicians is due to the fear of pain. Regular medication may prove to be discomforting or painful, as in the case of surgery. Fortunately, the alternative is not.

Chiropractors use their hands at certain points to help your body not only relax but adjust itself to a better spinal position. By combining adjunctive therapy with spinal mobilization, not only are they able to ‘work out the kinks’ but ensure that the pain does not happen again, at least for a while. You need to remember that most long-lasting effects are obtained through constant periodic treatment.

Chiropractors have spent over a century trying to perfect their art and help people without ever having to make an incision or provide harmful drugs. Using their hands and the body itself, they are able to not only help alleviate back pain but also prevent it – one treatment at a time.

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Back Pain – Being Prepared for Your First Visit to a Chiropractor

Folks are often faced with this dilemma: I feel discomfort in my back, but it’s probably nothing, right? It’ll just go away in a matter of days or weeks. I probably just need to rest more or eat better.

It’s true that a handful of back pain dilemmas arise from notably bad posture, a poor or inadequate diet, bad sleeping habits or even using bad form while exercising. Unfortunately, the average individual is not qualified to properly diagnose these problems, which can often prove to be fatal down the road.

It may be wise to consult a Chiropractor at this stage; an expert who can provide extensive knowhow and diagnoses into each and every kind of back-related issue. This article aims to prepare you somewhat, so you know some of the things to expect when you visit a Chiropractor for the first time.

In the event that your back pain turns out to be more serious than just symptoms of discomfort or overuse, here’s how a Chiropractor would generally diagnose causes:

Potentially Serious

This can range from conditions like tumors, infections, a local open wound or burn to major neurological problems such as cauda equina – a rare but serious condition nevertheless that’s best described as extreme pressure and swelling of the nerves at the lower tip of the spinal cord. This is considered a serious medical emergency and may need urgent surgical attention.

Other conditions in this category include prolonged internal bleeding and joint infection.

Nerve Problem

In cases where the nerve root in the lower back is compressed or pinched, you experience sciatica. One of the typical causes of this condition is a lumbar herniated disc or spinal stenosis – with age, the general makeup of the spine often changes, leading to degeneration of the bones, muscles, ligaments and discs surrounding the spinal cord. A common symptom of this condition is leg pain. This pain is often accompanied by a tingling sensation in the buttocks and legs.

Non-Specific

This can be categorized as “mechanical back pain” in the lumbar region; also known as axial back pain, this is categorized as either a sharp or dull pain and can be either felt intermittently or constantly. It’s referred to as mechanical since the lower back pain can get worse with certain physical movements such as sports. Or symptoms can worsen as a result of sitting long hours for example. This is also a common type of back pain and is typically non-specific.

Ergonomic Essentials – Tips on Improving and Maintaining Good Posture

images (6)As the years pile on, poor posture can be brought about due to a number of reasons – sitting in office chairs and looking at computer screens, driving, or standing for extended periods at a time. Even sleeping in a mattress that’s too hard, too soft, or uneven can lead to postural problems.

Luckily, these prime suspects that affect posture as a result of poor ergonomics are indeed within your control and you can turn things around. It’s never too late. Let’s take a brief look at how we can accomplish this. You might even come across some of these tips at chiropractic clinics.

Poor Ergonomics and Back Discomfort

In most cases, poor ergonomics and posture can be the cause of chronic back pain. Over the course of the day, your muscles tend to tire as you slouch and slump over your desk, pushing the limits to keep up with your respective deadlines. If this goes on for too long, you’re most likely going to experience undue stress in your neck and back. Change positions from time to time to maintain a relaxed but proper posture. Take a break from your desk every hour or so. Stretch a little, stand up and walk around. 2 to 3 minutes is all you need.

Make Use of Posture-friendly Props and Ergonomic Chairs   

Ergonomic-friendly “props” can really help take the load off your spine. In case ergonomic office chairs are in short supply, use footrests, portable lumbar back rests, or even a small pillow that supports the natural lumbar curve of your spine a bit better. Wearing the right spectacles that support your vision and keeping them clean in addition to positioning your computer screen properly, will prevent you from leaning or straining the neck just to view the contents properly. Avoid tilting your head forward.

Be Aware of Ergonomics in Every Setting Not Just Work 

One ought to be aware of ergonomics in every environmental setting, not just work. Instilling good posture in everyday activities is paramount. Try to establish a connection between episodes of pain and fatigue and certain situations where bad posture or ergonomics have been largely to blame. Make changes accordingly.

Exercising Promotes Good Posture 

Regular strength or cardio training really strengthens the core muscles – the abdominal and lower back region. Keep these running like a well-oiled machine, and you’re quite likely to never experience postural problems. A lot of therapeutic and chiropractic methods revolve around strengthening the core, while improving flexibility. This protects your entire spine, as that’s your “postural hub”.

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Back Pain – Understanding Spinal Manipulation Techniques

images (21)The time comes when every home remedy you’ve experimented with simply doesn’t get rid of that nagging back pain, and you’re left with no choice but to get a professional opinion.

Lucky for you, chiropractors are well-versed experts who have been trained in the art of remedying back problems and it certainly pays to get to know some of the spinal manipulation techniques that are employed.

Spinal Manipulation Vs Spinal Mobilization 

Remedial techniques essentially zero in on a common objective – restoring or improving joint function by significantly reducing joint inflammation as well as general discomfort due to back pain. Certain approaches make use of more force, such as spinal manipulation, while others are comparatively more gentle – spinal mobilization.

What originally came to be known as spinal manipulation is referred to by many chiropractors as “high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust (HVLA). Newer spinal adjustment approaches entail a variation of existing techniques and often borrow their names from the chiropractor responsible for developing them.

Specific treatment plans are adapted to meet individual needs of every patient. In order to curb back pain, forceful and less forceful spinal adjustment techniques are administered either in a single visit or multiple ones.

Let’s take a closer look at spinal manipulation and mobilization techniques commonly practiced today.

 Spinal Manipulation – HVLA

The HVLA thrust is the most frequently used technique in spinal manipulation today. Your practitioner uses his/her hands to apply a controlled force that is quick and focused, resulting in an audible “pop”. You will be asked to position your body a certain way so as to target a specific joint.

Spinal Mobilization – Low-force / Gentle Chiropractic Techniques

Certain pre-existing conditions like osteoporosis and patient-specific factors – comfort level, size, pathology, preference – warrant a gentler approach. Also, some patients and even clinics simply prefer going with mild spinal mobilization techniques that leave twisting the body or a forceful thrust, out of the equation.

Apart from manipulation, a lot of chiropractors make use of adjunctive therapy like ice or heat. Other physical modalities include electric stimulation and ultrasound that form part of the overall program. As a patient, you need to discuss your symptoms and preferences beforehand, so that a thorough examination can be conducted to determine an ideal course of action.

Chiropractors are among the most well-trained, learned and experienced health care practitioners who serve as a homing beacon for those suffering from continuous back pain and other more serious conditions.

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Importance of Blending Chiropractic Care with Back-Strengthening Exercise

Side_PlankBack problems often are a result of a bad posture that could cause severe pains.  Restoring the back to its original and natural condition takes time, and a combination of chiropractic care with the recommended exercise can dramatically enhance recovery.

A combination of the two provides numerous benefits.  Exercise keeps muscles in their proper tone, increases blood circulation around the body, improves digestion and develops a better lifestyle all together.

The following back-strengthening exercises complement the healing process greatly:

Hip Bridge

The Hip Bridge exercise strengthens those muscles near the lower back that play an important role in stabilizing the spine.

It can be carried out by lying on the back with the feet flat and about hip width apart; the knees should be bent.   The arms should be relaxed.  The person then squeezes their buttocks as they lift their hips in a straight line towards the shoulders.  After around 3 seconds, return to the starting position, slowly.

Around 12 repetitions are recommended.

Bird Dog

The bird dog exercise aims at strengthening the lower back, hip, butt and thigh muscles.

The person kneels on the floor with both hands spaced out about a shoulder-width apart.  Tuck in the belly towards the spine and raise one leg straight backwards while raising the other hand in opposite direction.

Hold in this position for 15 seconds and then return to starting point, carrying out the same procedure on the opposite side hand and leg.

Side Plank

The side plank exercise strengthens the lower back.  It is done by the following method:

The person is to lie on their right side, straight from head to the feet while resting on their forearms.  The elbow should be directly under their shoulder.  The abdominals are to be gently contracted and the hips slowly lifted off the floor – in the same straight position.

This position should be held for at least about 30 seconds before lowering the hip.

Lunge

Lunge exercises enhance a person’s overall control of their body.  This tends to protect the spine in daily activities, such as walking and running or even stair-climbing.

Starting off with the abs gently contracted.  The hands are placed on the hips; the person then takes a big step-forward using the right foot while sinking the right knee at a right-angle.

The person should then slowly return to the starting position, switch the legs and repeat – 10 repetitions are recommended.

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Chiropractic Care to Relieve Symptoms of Pregnancy

Pregnant_woman2A woman has to get used to the uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy for 38 to 42 weeks. There are ways to relieve such pain through medication, but they can pose potential side effects on the mother and the child. Chiropractic care, on the other hand, has shown to have remarkably alleviated the symptoms of back problems associated with pregnancy. Therapy, nutrition and exercise are the basics of the treatment that makes chiropractic and pregnancy go hand in hand.

Chiropractic Care for Pregnancy

Chiropractic treatments are non-invasive and address the misalignment in the spine to alleviate pain. Studies have also shown chiropractic care to have no known side effects on pregnant woman and the innate child. It promotes development in the mother and the baby. The Webster Technique is commonly employed to treat pregnant women, as it tends to apply as less pressure on the abdomen as possible.

Common Symptoms of Pregnancy

Back pains are very common during pregnancy. Women put on extra weight during the period, thus increasing the pressure on the spine. This leads to nerve stress, which can halt the development of a child. Other common symptoms during pregnancy include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Morning sickness
  • Heartburn
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure
  • Swollen ankles
  • Hormonal changes

Complications That Can Arise

Dislocation of the vertebra, or better known as vertebral subluxation, can interrupt the nervous system and affect the ability of communication within a body. Subluxation can result in:

Nerve Tension – Muscles around the spine become tight and experience inflammation on areas with misalignment in the spine. This adds stress on the nerves, and these nerves lead to various parts and organs in the body, like muscles, glands and blood vessels. Neglecting nerve tension can cause degeneration in various body systems.

Body Imbalance – Subluxation in the neck can lead to head tilting on one side. The righting reflex in the brain causes lower cervical spine to bend on the opposite direction of the head tilt. This can cause one side of the pelvis to draw up, making one leg appear shorter than the other. The uneven distribution of weight puts more stress on the joints. Extremely painful for the mother, it may even cause problems for the baby to get into the right birthing position.

A visit to the chiropractor throughout pregnancy can help you get started with the treatment, and can make the pregnancy and delivery comfortable and faster.

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