For many of us as we age, back pain becomes a regular visitor. Back pain is not only uncomfortable to deal with – it could also be a sign that things are just not right with your body. The back is key to mobility and flexibility as we get older, so looking after it should be a top priority for all of us. Let’s look at reasons why your back might be causing you pain, and some solutions to tackle it!
1. Herniated disc
This is unfortunately a very common cause of sudden and intense back pain. Between the vertebrae of the spine lie discs – flexible, soft matter which acts as shock absorbers to the spine, allowing flexibility and resilience during movement. However, it is possible these may deteriorate, or the inner material becomes displaced, allowing pressure on your spinal nerves. If you have experienced this condition, you will know just how painful and debilitating it can be. You may experience intense pain both at the site of the herniated disc but also referred pain that can travel down your limbs. It can inhibit your ability to move easily or even work. In many cases, the condition resolves itself as the shock absorbing material is drawn back into the disc, but for some it’s an on-going or repeated condition. Strengthening the core by doing Pilates, relieving stress on the spine by swimming and taking down the swelling by using anti-inflammatories on a temporary basis can help, but you may have to consult a professional chiropractor if symptoms do not subside.
It’s obvious, but one reason your back might hurt is because you have sustained some type of injury. It might be that it’s a work-related injury – maybe you have been lifting heavy loads using your back rather than your legs for example, or maybe it’s your posture when working at a desk for hours on end. Maybe you have pulled a muscle while playing sport. The issue with these kinds of injury is that the other muscles must work harder to compensate for the weakened muscle that has been damaged. It’s best to seek treatment earlier rather than later for this type of injury as leaving it to heal itself may result in further complications and take longer to sort out.
This is a condition that can cause symptoms such as chronic muscle and joint pain but can even affect the digestive system and the ability to concentrate. Sufferers, who tend to be female and between the ages of 30-50 most commonly, describe it as “fibro fog”. Conventional medicine has been somewhat lacking in the treatment of this condition, taking the symptoms one by one rather than taking a holistic view of how to rebalance the body and relieve the symptoms of the sufferer. A more contemporary approach might involve using a combination of therapies to promote blood flow, reduce pain and strengthen the body.
Of course, pregnancy will only affect a certain percentage of the population, but this very natural condition can wreak havoc on the body. Good posture is vital for the expectant person not to sustain injuries during pregnancy and childbirth. On average women gain between 10-12kg while pregnant, with the majority being carried at the front of the body, putting huge pressure on the spine. Therefore women who are having a baby should make provision for pre- and post-natal chiropractic therapy in their pregnancy care plan.
In short, back pain is an issue that affects thousands of Americans every year, but you do not have to suffer in silence. Maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your core strong, adopting a good posture, and seeing a back specialist such as a chiropractor can all help to keep your back healthy.