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.
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.
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. They recommended chiropractic adjustments as the only safe and effective, drug-free form of initial professional treatment for acute low back problems in adults.
Possible causes of back pain include:
Low back problems should always be assessed by a chiropractor.
Low back pain is the most common reason for work absences and costs $50 billions annually. Back pain can significantly affect your quality of life and your ability to perform your usual activities of daily living. You may experience back pain in any part of your back, although your lumbar spine, or low back, is one of the most common locations for back-related problems. Back pain may be caused by traumatic injuries, overuse injuries, poor posture, physical deconditioning or muscle imbalances throughout your body. Back pain may also be caused by certain organ problems.
Possible causes of back pain include:
Car accident back pain is one of the worst and most prevalent types of chronic pain. The tremendous forces created during a car accident are enough to tear apart soft tissue. Life altering spinal injuries are often the result of motor vehicle accidents.
The spine is the most important part of our skeleton. Because it houses the spinal cord and central nervous system injuries to this structure can have far reaching whole body implication. These can include organ dysfunction and your overall ability to perform activities of daily living. Spinal injuries are common in serious and even not so serious automobile accidents. Minor fender benders can create significant back ache complaints.
Symptoms related to these injuries are often delayed in presenting themselves for many weeks following an accident. This is often due to increased stress, loss of blood flow and nerve dysfunction which causes the slow degeneration of the affected structures.
Improper lifting technique and repetitive strain injuries are among the most common causes of workplace injuries, particularly in those individuals who work in industrial environments and offices, respectively. Back injuries such as sprains, strains, disc problems and facet syndrome can all occur. These workplace injuries usually involve some degree of joint and soft tissue damage, and they usually respond well to chiropractic care.
Acute low back pain is a result of recent injury to affected area and can lead to a variety of symptoms. Even minor injuries must be taken seriously as it can be the cause of long term degeneration and lead to more serious chronic issues. Acute injuries in this region have difficulty healing do to the low back bearing the stress of the body’s weight.
Improving your diet by eliminating alcohol, dairy, caffeine, sugar and high-fat foods as well as eating whole foods, fruits and veggies, and omega-3s can help your body regenerate and repair itself.
Fielder says drinking enough water may help reduce the shrinkage that happens in the spongy disks of the back (shrinkage occurs naturally with age and can lead to pain). Caffeine, as in coffee and soda, may cause dehydration and should be replaced with water. She also suggests drinking more than the minimum eight (8-ounce) glasses a day if you exercise.
TAKE GLUCOSOMINE, CHONDROITIN AND MSM
These three supplements are associated with connective tissue repair and are often recommended by naturopathic experts to treat back pain. Talk to your healthcare provider about the proper dosage.
TRY NATURAL PAINKILLERS
Unlike medications, natural painkillers won’t upset the stomach. Fielder recommends devil’s claw, which research shows is comparable to Vioxx for pain relief, and turmeric, known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Willow bark — the active ingredient of which is similar to that in aspirin — is more gentle on the stomach and is just as effective in pain management as NSAID rofecoxib.
Bromelain (derived from pineapples) and the ayurvedic herb boswellia provide anti-inflammatory benefits and pain relief.
SIP GINGER TEA
Another natural remedy for back pain, as suggested by Dr Jacob Teitelbaum, author of Pain 1-2-3: A Proven Program for Eliminating Chronic Pain Now, is fresh ginger: Dice a slice into a cup of hot water and enjoy.
RELAX WITH B VITAMINS
Most doctors also recommend vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12. These help muscles relax and can decrease neuropathic pain.
EAT UP OMEGA-3S
Many doctors say the back loves omega-3s because the fatty acids help reduce inflammation and, as a result, back pain. Research recommends eating cold water fish or taking fish or flaxseed oil supplements.
Find a chiropractor who not only does manual realignment of the spine but also incorporates exercise, strength training, stress management, and stretching into treatment programs for back pain. Getting the back in alignment is only one part of the process to treat back pain; strengthening and balancing your muscles and nourishing your body and mind are essential, too.