The use of our backs is necessary for nearly everything we do. So, it can be distressing and frustrating dealing with back pain.
Back pain is one of the most common sources of pain reported to doctors. About 65 million Americans have reported back pain throughout their lives. 16 million of those people, about 8% of the American population, suffer from chronic back pain.
The good news is that you don’t have to live in constant pain. Chiropractic care and massage therapy are natural options to soothe your pain.
What Is The Spine?
The spine and back are complex structures, so there are many ways that you can injure them.
The spine is divided into four sections:
- Cervical spine: the upper part of the spine, making up the neck
- Thoracic spine: the middle part of the spine, making up your upper back
- Lumbar spine: the lower part of your spine, making up your lower back
- Sacrum: vertebrae connecting your spine to your pelvis
- Coccyx: the lowest part of your spine, often referred to as the ‘tailbone’
Your back also consists of several structures that help your back function:
- Vertebrae: circular, hollow bones that protect the spinal cord
- Spinal cord: a bundle of nerves that runs through the vertebrae down the length of your back
- Intervertebral discs: pads that sit between the vertebrae to act as a cushion
- Ligaments: tough, but flexible tissue that keeps the vertebrae stable
- Tendons: cords of tissues that connect bone and muscle
- Muscles: bundles of fibers that support your spine and body, allowing you to move
Who Gets Back Pain?
Anyone can experience back pain, but it’s more common among certain populations.
Those who do not exercise experience more back pain. They don’t have the back and abdominal muscles to support the spine. An unhealthy diet and weight gain can contribute to this.
We spend much of our lives at work, so our job can play a role in our back health. Jobs that require heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling can increase the risk of back injury. Those with desk jobs can experience back pain from poor posture.
As we age, the health of our back decreases, especially in those over the age of 45.
Back pain can also be hereditary and is linked to certain disorders and diseases.
What Kind Of Back Pain Do You Have?
There are three main types of back pain: acute, subacute, and chronic.
Acute back pain occurs quickly, often due to an injury. It is not permanent and often goes away after a few days or weeks.
Subacute back pain lasts longer, usually between four to twelve weeks. This type of pain may occur suddenly, or it may emerge over time.
Chronic back pain may also come on suddenly or may emerge over time. But, chronic pain lasts for more than 12 weeks, often affecting a person for the rest of their lifetime.
Common Causes Of Back Pain
In many cases, massage therapy and chiropractic care can help relieve back pain. But, it’s not for everyone. Consult your physician before trying any new therapy. Here are some of the most common causes of back pain:
1. Pulled Muscles Or Tendons
This injury occurs when we move our back in a way we shouldn’t. It can happen by lifting something incorrectly, twisting into an awkward position, or even laying in the wrong position.
Inflammation is swelling caused by injury or disease. It’s a normal response that your body uses to protect itself, but it can cause pain.
Arthritis is chronic inflammation. It occurs in the joints throughout your body, including the back.
Osteoporosis is a disease that leads to weak, brittle bones due to a decrease in bone mass. This most commonly occurs in the wrists and spine. People with this disease are more susceptible to fractures.
5. Herniated Or Ruptured Discs
Intervertebral discs sit between the vertebrae of the spine to act as a cushion. They can become injured and separate from the vertebrate which can be excruciating.
6. Poor Posture & Excess Weight
Your spine has to bear a lot of weight. When you don’t have the correct posture or are overweight, you’re putting a lot of strain and stress on your back. Your muscles have to work harder to keep your back upright which can cause pain.
Doctors don’t understand this condition well. But, they know that it can cause pain throughout the body, including the neck.
Scoliosis refers to an abnormal curvature of the spine. It can cause pain and difficulty with movement. It can lead to under or overdeveloped muscles and pain.
Back pain is very common among pregnant women as the extra weight adds pressure to the back and spine.
What Is Chiropractic Care & Can It Help?
Chiropractic care emphasizes the body’s ability to heal itself. Treatment is performed by a licensed health professional. It consists of manual therapy like spinal manipulation.
Chiropractors use their hands to apply a quick, thrusting pressure to specific joints. These manipulations reduce pain and improve function and mobility.
Chiropractic care is most effective for those with subacute back pain. It can also help with neck pain and flare-ups of chronic pain.
What Is Massage Therapy & Can It Help?
Licensed massage therapists use their hands to manipulate the soft tissues in the body. It can help to manage health conditions by reducing pain and improving mobility.
There are many kinds of massage, ranging from gentle Swedish massage to rougher deep-tissue massage. So, massage therapy can be helpful to nearly anyone with any condition. But, if you have any concerns about your condition, seek advice from your doctor before booking a massage.
Other types of massage include:
- Acupressure (shiatsu)
- Neuromuscular therapy
- Myofascial release
- Sports massage
Back Pain? See Everett Spine & Rehab
Nearly everyone will suffer from back pain at some point in their life. The good news is that you can experience relief. Depending on your condition, chiropractic care or massage therapy may be able to help. Consult with your physician before seeking out any new treatment. See us in our Everett office if you have questions about neck or back pain. We’re located at 927 128th St SW Ste B, Everett, WA 98204.