Four Causes of Back Pain and How Chiropractic Care Can Help
Back pain is one of the most common ailments affecting Americans today, with an estimated 65 million adults in the US experiencing unrelenting and chronic discomfort in either their upper, lower, or middle back.
Due to the prevalence of this condition, many companies market back-pain reducing items that you may be familiar with—among them are shoe inserts and insoles, specialized mattresses and pillows, expensive footwear and back supports, specifically designed furniture, and an array of stress management programs.
When visiting a traditional medical doctor, many people find that their options for resolving back pain are limited.
Back pain doctors in the medical field are typically general practitioners with expertise limited to severe or operable injuries.
Your medical doctor may refer you to a specialist, but in the absence of a significant injury requiring surgery or other medical intervention might be limited to prescribing or recommending pain medication.
Back pain chiropractors, on the other hand, are experts in resolving the root cause of back pain.
While a traditional medical doctor focuses on treating disease and discomfort with very area-specific interventions, chiropractors take a holistic approach.
Your expert chiropractor will analyze your lifestyle and global physical conditions before prescribing any kind of treatment or solution.
Additionally, chiropractors work primarily with the neuromusculoskeletal system, which is where back pain originates and is most effectively treated.
What is the neuromusculoskeletal system?
The neuromusculoskeletal system is a combination of three interrelated systems in the human body: the nervous system, the muscular system, and the skeletal system.
Chiropractors spend an extensive amount of time studying each of these systems, as well as understanding the interrelated nature of their interactions with each other.
The skeletal system, for example, is primarily responsible for supporting the body, but it is deeply interconnected with the muscular system, which stabilizes, insulates, and works bidirectionally with the skeletal system to combine both support and movement into abilities like mobility, agility, and strength.
Just as the skeletal system and the muscular system work as a unit to allow the body to move, lift, and interact with the world, the nervous system also plays an important role in the function of skeletal and muscular activities.
The nervous system, which comprises the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS), controls impulses and directions to and from the brain and spinal cord.
In addition to processing sensory information and producing motor responses, the nervous system also regulates hormone production and release, cardiovascular function, respiratory efficiency, and even immune function within the body.
Together, the neuromusculoskeletal system plays a crucial role in the function and well-being of the human body, and chiropractic care is one of the primary providers of effective, safe, and transformational neuromusculoskeletal support.
The Neuromusculoskeletal System & Back Pain
When the neuromusculoskeletal system is strained, back pain can be one of the first symptoms to emerge.
Back pain can be caused by a specific injury or accident, or simply arise as the byproduct of repetitive lifestyle factors such as posture, lack of ergonomic support in the workplace, or an activity imbalance skewing toward too many sedentary or highly active pastimes.
When back pain becomes perceptible, it’s usually because the nervous system has been activated by some kind of imbalance.
These imbalances can occur as the result of inflammation from an abnormality in the local area.
Abnormalities that disrupt the natural balance of the area can originate from misalignment, inflammation, constriction or tightness in the surrounding area, or degeneration to bones and joints.
When the natural alignment of bones and joints in the back becomes disrupted, nerves in the surrounding area frequently become bruised, compressed, and in extreme cases, severed.
A bruised, constricted, or otherwise disrupted nerve or bundle of nerves can result in a variety of symptoms, one of which is pain to the local area.
In addition to sharp, shooting, aching, or soreness-like pain, disrupted nerves can also create feelings of numbness, tingling, temperature-like (hot or cold) sensations, and a loss of sensation altogether.
If you’re feeling back pain in your upper, middle, or lower back, here are four potential causes which create neuromusculoskeletal distress.
#1. Slipped or Herniated Disc
A slipped or herniated disc can occur as the result of an injury, sudden movement, or repeated mechanical activity.
When a “disc” slips or is herniated in the spine, this means that the cushioning interior of the spinal column (meant to pad the individual joints) has emerged from the interior of the spinal column and is pushing out through the joints and into the surrounding area.
This phenomenon creates pressure on local nerves and can result in all of the nerve pain described above.
A slipped or herniated disc can be treated by an expert chiropractor, who will employ a variety of treatments and techniques to encourage the disc and spine to return to a state of normalcy.
Your chiropractor for slipped or herniated discs may use spinal traction, adjustments, at-home exercises, postures, and positions as well as a variety of in-office treatments to reduce or eliminate your back pain.
#2. Muscle or Ligament Strain
Muscle and ligament strain are very common in the neuromusculoskeletal system, and frequently occur from too much of one posture or repeated activity.
Muscle and ligament strain can also be caused by postural misalignment, which forces the musculature of the body to attempt to compensate for misalignment and bring the body back into homeostasis.
When the muscles and ligaments are strained, this can actually cause bones and joints to be pulled out of alignment: tendons, ligaments, and muscles have a direct influence on spinal structure.
Your chiropractor for muscle and ligament strain will likely employ a variety of manual manipulations to your musculature to help decrease the tightness and strain occurring in the area.
Manual manipulations may be complemented with athletic tape, a brace, or another tool used to isolate the area from further strain.
Your chiropractor will help determine the origin of the position, activity, or injury that originated the strain, and help you to develop a plan for adjusting your lifestyle to prevent further similar injury in the future.
Inflammation may be caused by any number of lifestyle factors, including exercise routines, diet, sleep, posture, workplace ergonomics, genetic factors, and more. Inflammation is also commonly the result of an injury, accident, or disease.
When inflammation occurs in the body, it is usually the immune system’s attempt to mitigate an imbalance, infection, or some kind of abnormal occurrence within the body.
While inflammation can initially help to defeat invaders and heal injuries, once inflammation becomes chronic, the helpful effects are mitigated.
Instead of aiding in the restoration of homeostasis, chronic inflammation forces the body further away from homeostasis.
Chronic inflammation can manifest as chronic pain, soreness and weakness in a specific area of the body, inflamed lymph nodes, poor immune response, and chronic fatigue.
By attending to the neuromusculoskeletal system, your expert chiropractor can treat and help to relieve inflammation.
Chiropractic interventions facilitate an increase of circulation, the detoxification of stagnant and “stuck” areas of the body, and improved nerve function.
When a chiropractic adjustment is performed, for example, the area of the body being addressed is able to purge cells and toxins, receive an influx of nutrients, oxygen, and fresh blood and lymph cells, and better facilitate the transmission of nerve communication.
This rejuvenating effect helps the body to reduce inflammation on its own,
Spasms occur in the back when the tissues and muscles suddenly contract or loosen—often both, in different areas simultaneously.
This is the body’s attempt to protect itself from overuse, which is the most common precipitator of back spasms.
You may experience spasms in your back the day of a move, for example, in which bending, lifting, and pushing are occurring at a rate more aggressive than usual.
Additionally, avid weight-lifters and athletes are commonly subjected to back spasms, which may manifest as the sudden inability to lift the usual amount of weight, inexplicable “weakness” or loss of form, or limited range of motion due to hyper-contraction of surrounding muscles in the back.
Chiropractors for back spasms recognize that one of the fundamental causes of sudden muscle weakness, tightness, or strain is often due to a sudden lifestyle change or the introduction of a new activity.
Expert chiropractors can also discern when a regular lifestyle activity has simply taken a toll, and can typically distinguish what area of the body has been under stress due to those specific activities.
In addition to providing treatment, your expert chiropractor for back spasms and back weakness will help you to develop a new lifestyle plan in which you can still pursue your goals, but without the unnecessary strain on your body.
Book Your Appointment Today
If you’re tired of suffering with chronic back pain and are ready to begin your body’s journey to healing and recovery, make your appointment today!
If you or a loved one live near Virginia Beach, CA, expert chiropractor Dr. Samantha Coleman is standing by to help determine and alleviate the source of your back pain.
You will find Dr. Coleman’s Virginia Beach chiropractic office fully equipped to provide customized, individualized treatment best suited for your body and your symptoms. Ready to get started? Call now.