Did you know that, worldwide, back pain is the single leading cause of disability? When it’s severe, it can prevent people from engaging in work and leisure activities, creating a pronounced negative impact on quality of life, and making it hard to enjoy the things you used to love. Back pain is also one of the most common reasons people miss work, and accounts for more than 264 million missed work days annually!
As if this weren’t enough, about 80% of all Americans will experience back pain in their lives, and most of these cases will not be caused by a serious condition like a fracture. This means that millions of people each year suffer preventable chiropractic pain that can have a major impact on their quality of life and happiness. Are you one of them?
If so, there’s good news on the horizon: you don’t have to live this way. We’re here to tell you that, this year, you can hit your goals – whatever they may be – without struggling with chiropractic pain and discomfort. Here’s what you need to know.
The Origins of Chiropractic Pain
Back pain is one of the most common things that sends people to the chiropractor, but how does it happen?
Here’s what the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has to say about the origins of back pain:
“The vast majority of low back pain is mechanical in nature. In many cases, low back pain is associated with spondylosis, a term that refers to the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older.
Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:
- Sprains and strains account for most acute back pain. Sprains are caused by overstretching or tearing ligaments, and strains are tears in tendon or muscle. Both can occur from twisting or lifting something improperly, lifting something too heavy, or overstretching. Such movements may also trigger spasms in back muscles, which can also be painful.
- Intervertebral disc degeneration is one of the most common mechanical causes of low back pain, and it occurs when the usually rubbery discs lose integrity as a normal process of aging. In a healthy back, intervertebral discs provide height and allow bending, flexion, and torsion of the lower back. As the discs deteriorate, they lose their cushioning ability.
- Herniated or ruptured discs can occur when the intervertebral discs become compressed and bulge outward (herniation) or rupture, causing low back pain.
- Radiculopathy is a condition caused by compression, inflammation and/or injury to a spinal nerve root. Pressure on the nerve root results in pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation that travels or radiates to other areas of the body that are served by that nerve. Radiculopathy may occur when spinal stenosis or a herniated or ruptured disc compresses the nerve root.
- Sciatica is a form of radiculopathy caused by compression of the sciatic nerve, the large nerve that travels through the buttocks and extends down the back of the leg. This compression causes shock-like or burning low back pain combined with pain through the buttocks and down one leg, occasionally reaching the foot. In the most extreme cases, when the nerve is pinched between the disc and the adjacent bone, the symptoms may involve not only pain, but numbness and muscle weakness in the leg because of interrupted nerve signaling. The condition may also be caused by a tumor or cyst that presses on the sciatic nerve or its roots.
- Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a vertebra of the lower spine slips out of place, pinching the nerves exiting the spinal column.
- A traumatic injury, such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall can injure tendons, ligaments or muscle resulting in low back pain. Traumatic injury may also cause the spine to become overly compressed, which in turn can cause an intervertebral disc to rupture or herniate, exerting pressure on any of the nerves rooted to the spinal cord. When spinal nerves become compressed and irritated, back pain and sciatica may result.
- Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that can cause pain or numbness with walking and over time leads to leg weakness and sensory loss.
- Skeletal irregularities include scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that does not usually cause pain until middle age; lordosis, an abnormally accentuated arch in the lower back; and other congenital anomalies of the spine.
Low back pain is rarely related to serious underlying conditions, but when these conditions do occur, they require immediate medical attention.”
3 Ways a Chiropractor can Help you Resolve Back Pain
If you’ve never been to a chiropractor before, you likely have some questions about how the process will work to provide pain relief for your muscles and joints. Here are the top three ways chiropractors work with your body to provide a pain-free experience, both now and in the future:
1. Soft Tissue Therapy
Some chiropractic work focuses expressly on the soft tissues of your body. In this kind of treatment, the chiropractor will work to help you relax, and to treat tight and sore muscles that are holding your misalignments in place. Soft tissue therapy may include tactics like manual release therapy, which involves stretching the muscle while also applying pressure, instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy, which uses a tool to apply pressure and sweep over the affected area, and trigger point therapy, which applies direct pressure to tense areas of a muscle. This is a helpful therapy for anyone interested in living a pain-free life this upcoming year.
2. Manual Therapy
Manual therapy focuses on restoring movement to parts of the body that are locked up or present immobilized. Chiropractors utilize these treatment techniques when a joint needs to regain mobility. Most chiropractors will either use joint mobilization tactics (which include slow, gentle stretches of the affected joint), or manipulation techniques (which are likely what you think of when you think of traditional chiropractic care), which involves quick but gentle movements designed to restore mobility and flexibility.
3. Exercise Therapy
Chiropractors want to teach you the skills you need to go out into the world and care for yourself. With this in mind, your chiropractor will help provide exercises that you can do at home, which are designed to help you cope with pain and keep it from coming back. You’ll learn things like safe lifting techniques, strengthening exercises, and tips for great posture, as well as a whole host of other tactics you can use to prevent injury and keep pain at bay.
What to Expect From Your First Chiropractic Visit
During your first trip to a chiropractic office, you’ll have an experience much like you would at any other doctor’s office. Your chiropractor will take your medical history, proforma physical examination, use some lab tests or other diagnostic imaging to determine a course of treatment, and take some time to answer any questions you might have.
As a general rule, courses of chiropractic treatment will involve a single or series of manual adjustments, within which your chiropractor will manipulate your body’s joints. Chiropractors use a series of controlled yet sudden movements to restore range and quality of movement, and will work with you on additional considerations, such as exercise and rehabilitation to create a comprehensive treatment plan.
While every treatment plan varies, the overall goals of chiropractic care include restoring the function of the body, and preventing injury during the activities of daily living or during sports and exercise a client may undertake. Chiropractic care offers both a quick-fix, and a long-term course of action for people suffering from chiropractic pain.
Book Your Appointment Now
Back pain happens. Whether yours comes from sitting at a desk for hours, lifting heavy weight in the gym, or carrying kids around on your back during a long day out, most Americans will experience back pain at some point or another. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with it forever. By making chiropractic care a part of your routine, you can create a dynamic in which back pain isn’t a daily consideration, and won’t be an ongoing detriment to your life or wellbeing.
If you’re ready to step into a new, pain-free you, contact our team to book your first chiropractic appointment today. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and put you in touch with the doctor who can help guide you along your path to wellness. Contact us today to learn more!