Pain of any kind, at any age, is a sign that something isn’t right. Pain is the way your body signals that a limit has been reached or a problem has developed. Since we can adapt, minor aches and pains are often shrugged off. While they may go away, if the underlying problem remains unattended, the problem can slowly worsen until it becomes more difficult and expensive to resolve.
What Causes Back Pain?
The joints on the back side of each spinal bone are a common cause of back pain. The pain can be a sign that these joints aren’t moving properly.
The discs between spinal bones can be involved, too. Trauma can cause the soft, pulpy material in the middle to bulge, putting pressure on nearby nerves.
The back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of which can lead to back pain. While sports injuries or accidents can cause back pain, sometimes the simplest of movements—for example, picking up a pencil from the floor— can have painful results. In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain.
Specific chiropractic adjustments can help the spine right itself. By restoring the way your spine works, nerve involvement is reduced, pain eases and the body can heal.
Facts & Statistics
Many patients visit chiropractors looking for relief from this condition. In fact, 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time.1
One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.2
Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.3
Experts estimate that as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in our lives.4
Manipulation as a Treatment for Back Problems
Used primarily by Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) for the last century, manipulation has been largely ignored by most others in the health care community until recently. Now, with today’s growing emphasis on treatment and cost effectiveness, manipulation is receiving more widespread attention.
Chiropractic spinal manipulation is a safe and effective spine pain treatment. It reduces pain, decreases medication, rapidly advances physical therapy, and requires very few passive forms of treatment, such as bed rest.5
In fact, after an extensive study of all currently available care for low back problems, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research—a federal government research organization—recommended that low back pain sufferers choose the most conservative care first. And it recommended spinal manipulation as the only safe and effective, drugless form of initial professional treatment for acute low back problems in adults.6
Tips to Prevent Back Pain:
- Maintain a healthy diet and weight. Remain active—under the supervision of your doctor of chiropractic.
- Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
- Warm up or stretch before exercising or other physical activities, such as gardening.
- Maintain proper posture.
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
- Sleep on a mattress of medium firmness to minimize any curve in your spine.
- Lift with your knees, keep the object close to your body, and do not twist when lifting.
- Quit smoking. Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen and nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues
- Work with your doctor of chiropractic to ensure that your computer workstation is ergonomically correct.
1. Jensen M, Brant-Zawadzki M, Obuchowski N, et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 69-116.
2. Vallfors B. Acute, Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain: Clinical Symptoms, Absenteeism and Working Environment. Scan J Rehab Med Suppl 1985; 11: 1-98.
3. This total represents only the more readily identifiable costs for medical care, workers compensation payments and time lost from work. It does not include costs associated with lost personal income due to acquired physical limitation resulting from a back problem and lost employer productivity due to employee medical absence. In Project Briefs: Back Pain Patient Outcomes Assessment Team (BOAT). In MEDTEP Update, Vol. 1 Issue 1, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville, MD, Summer 1994.
4. In Vallfors B, previously cited.
5. Time to recognize value of chiropractic care? Science and patient satisfaction surveys cite usefulness of spinal manipulation. Orthopedics Today 2003 Feb; 23(2):14-15.
6. Bigos S, Bowyer O, Braen G, et al. Acute Low Back Problems in Adults. Clinical Practice Guideline No.14. AHCPR Publication No. 95-0642. Rockville, MD: Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, December, 1994.
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