Back pain can be severe. Back pain can be debilitating. Back pain can stop you in your tracks. Back pain can be confusing. Back pain can come out of nowhere to strike you down.
Back pain can last from days to weeks to months to years. Back pain will affect 80% of all people. Once you have back pain, it can be very hard to treat.
Since back pain is so pervasive, there are many myths out there surrounding back pain. From how back pain comes on to how to treat it. There are as many answers as there questions when it comes to back pain.
The causes of back pain are usually multi-factorial. This means that there are usually a few different causes of someone’s back pain. Someone who sits at a desk all day for work, then runs or plays basketball on the weekends, and has a history of high impact sports from high school, will have a few significant causes of back pain.
Sitting for long periods is a major cause of low back pain. Keeping the muscles in the same position for long periods is a sure way to cause them to tighten up and slowly become torn, spasmed and sprained over the years. If you sit for long periods and have a history of low back pain, or a history of arthritis, high school football, gymnastics, cheerleading, hockey, wrestling, or any other high impact sports, you get a great recipe for low back, hip, and knee pain.
It is impossible to sit with good posture all day long. What works for most people is to get up every 30 minutes. This will prevent your muscles from tightening up and becoming irritated. Go to the bathroom, get a drink of water. Anything to get you out of your chair for just a few minutes.
Sit on one of those big gym- or physio- balls every 10 minutes out of the hour. I can’t imagine sitting on one of those all day long. Just sitting on the gym ball for 10 minutes out of every hour will allow you to activate the muscles. This will prevent the muscles from stiffening up and becoming sore.
Many doctors who are trained in the health care field, and many others who are not, will recommend bed rest for back pain. This can be one of the worst things to do for back pain. Every day that you spend in bed takes 1 year off of your lifespan. It is necessary to rest an injured back. It is necessary to back off from activity when your back is injured. But stay away from bed rest. When you are in bed, blood is not flowing as well. None of your muscles are moving through their full ranges of motion. The muscles are becoming stiffer and tighter. Chances are the back pain that put you in bed in the first place was caused by muscles getting so tight that they tore on a microscopic level and became sprained. So the muscles tightening up from bed rest, will actually make the problem worse.
Back pain does not have to originate from an injury. Most of the time it does not come on from an injury. Usually it is from wear and tear. Usually it is from repetitive injuries that are sustained all day, every day. It is these minor irritations and injuries that build up to become a large injury over time. Everyone has repetitive motions in their life. Working in front of a computer, vacuuming, cleaning, reading, doing research at a lab bench, working on an assembly line, any of those jobs and all other jobs, have repetitive motions. Doing those repetitive motions day in and day out, over weeks to months to years, causes the muscles to slowly tighten up over time until they become torn and sprained. This is the mechanism that is usually behind any type of back pain.
If you have arthritis or any other pre-existing condition in your back, then your back will tighten up more easily then it would otherwise, from the repetitive activities of daily life. It will cause your back to be structurally unstable. This instability will make little irritations become big irritations very easily.
Something else that will make your back structurally unstable is weight. Being overweight or obese will put excess stress on your back. It will throw off how your back moves and make it more susceptible to the daily irritations that we all endure.
Just because someone is overweight doesn’t mean that they’ll have back pain. If an overweight person exercises and is in good shape, then their muscles will be strong enough to support and stabilize their back. And just because someone is thin doesn’t mean that they have no back pain. Anyone can get back pain. I feel it is more due to overall conditioning and whether the person exercises or not. Rather than pain being due to being over or under weight. If someone who is skinny does not exercise, then their muscles will be weak. These weak muscles will not be able to support the joints they attach to. These weak muscles will get more easily irritated from the stresses of daily life.
Exercise is one of the best ways to treat, and prevent, back pain. Most back pain is muscular in nature. A blown out disc, arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, or any other issue causing back pain will have a muscular component to the pain. Any of these issues will irritate the surrounding muscles and cause them to become part of the issue. Strengthening up the surrounding muscles will allow them to support and stabilize the injured and irritated areas. Thus reducing the pain and irritation from the injury.
Exercise will prevent back pain by keeping the muscles strong and stable. The stronger and looser a muscle is, the less likely it will be to become injured in the future. The better shape the muscles are in, the better able they will be to deal with daily irritations and injuries.
Spinal manipulation can also prevent, and treat, back pain. The American College of Physicians and American Pain Society recommend that patients and doctors consider options for treatment with proven benefits like spinal manipulation. Spinal adjusting by a trained chiropractor can help alleviate back pain, and can prevent back pain. If you can catch a muscle while it is tightening up, you can prevent it from getting to the point of becoming so tight that it tears and becomes injured. I practice a specific form of chiropractic trigger point therapy called “Nimmo”. It loosens up and balances out the muscles that attach to joints and pull on them and cause joint pain and irritation.
Prevent back pain through exercise, stretching and spinal manipulation. It is easier to prevent back pain, than it is to get rid of it before it flairs up. Get rid of back pain before it has a chance to strike. It is less painful, less time intensive and less expensive. And it just makes sense. It is, the Pain Free Way.