Back pain can happen suddenly or can occur in people who suffer from chronic pain. No matter the cause, back pain can significantly impact your daily routines and overall quality of life. What started out as a mild discomfort when moving a certain way could end up causing you significant back pain down the line. When left untreated, an old injury can develop into issues like chronic back pain. Whether you are dealing with back pain from a recent car accident injury or trying to manage chronic pain, you are probably looking at all your options for back pain relief.
When pain medications available over the counter don’t do enough to help with your back pain, you might wonder if prescription painkillers are the next step for you. However, there are many other ways of experiencing lasting relief from back pain. Chiropractic care provides a natural alternative to taking prescription opioids. While painkillers may be appropriate in some situations, they typically do very little to address the root cause of your pain and merely mask your symptoms for a brief period of time before the effects start to wear off. It is important to understand what is causing your back pain and address the source so you can experience lasting relief.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor each year. We depend on our backs to help hold our upper body upright, allow us to complete everyday movements, and support our spine. Damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, spine, and other parts that make up your back can all lead to back pain and other symptoms. Here are six common examples of what might cause back pain in your life:
Poor posture is a very common cause of back pain. Perhaps you sit for long hours at a desk hunched over a keyboard and computer screen. Or you spend hours a day lifting and moving heavy objects. Too much pressure on your back in positions of poor posture can really wreak havoc on your body and lead to back pain. A common posture chiropractors see these days is often referred to as “tech neck,” a modern phenomenon attributed to our continued use and dependence on computers, phones, and other technologies that cause us to bend or crane our necks and round our shoulders.
Have you ever heard someone say the phrase, “I pulled my back out”? This is a common phrase in layman’s terms for what’s known as a muscle sprain in the back. There are so many muscles and other soft tissues in the back that support your spine and the various movements of the upper body. Pulling a muscle can result in straining the tissue beyond its limits and even result in torn tissue. Muscle strains can cause back pain that may increase with certain movements or activities.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, often known in laymen’s terms as wear and tear arthritis. As the cartilage that supports joints like the vertebrae in your spine slowly wears down with time, it can lead to pain and inflammation in the area. Arthritis that affects the spine typically develops in the lower back and can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like pain, tingling, and numbness in the lower back, even extending into the lower extremities.
Car Accident Injuries
Back pain is one of the most common complaints of people who have been in a car accident. One of the most common car accident injuries includes whiplash, which causes muscle strain in the neck and can also affect the upper back and shoulders. Other common car accident injuries that can lead to back pain include a torn back muscle, a herniated disc, or another type of spinal injury.
Sports injuries on and off the field can lead to back pain. Athletes of all levels can experience back pain from using improper technique while training to taking a bad hit or fall while playing. Athletes who participate in high-contact sports like football, hockey, and soccer are at greater risk of developing back pain as a symptom of a sports injury. Sports-related back pain can also occur due to a previous injury that may not have healed properly or left you more vulnerable to future injuries in the area.
If you perform repetitive movements at work, this can put a lot of stress on your body, including your back. People who suffer work injuries can experience the gradual development of an injury due to repeated pressure on the spine and back. You can also suffer a sudden injury while on the job that leads to acute back pain, like a slip and fall injury.
When Pain Medication Is Important for Back Pain Relief
There are certain cases where pain medication can be an important part of your treatment plan. However, prescription pain medications like opioids are always prescribed for a very short period of time. These types of pain medications are designed to treat acute pain, which refers to severe pain that you might experience from a sudden injury or after a medical procedure like surgery. Prescription medication should never be used to treat chronic pain, including back pain. The overuse of prescription pain medications for a variety of injuries and conditions has unfortunately contributed to the opioid epidemic in the country. It is important to understand that prescription pain medications like opioids have serious addictive qualities, which is why doctors are much more cautious in recommending them. Additionally, opioids can come with really uncomfortable side effects, and taking too much of the medication at once could be fatal.
How to Relieve Back Pain Naturally with Chiropractic
When you visit a chiropractor for back pain relief, they will do more than treat your surface-level symptoms. Back pain is a signal of something more serious going on, and your chiropractor will get to the bottom of it using an all-natural approach to diagnosis and treatment. Here’s what you can expect when you visit a chiropractor for back pain relief:
Chiropractic care is often associated with “popping” or “cracking” backs. However, this chiropractic treatment approach requires skill and attention to detail, much different than your ability to crack your knuckles on command. Chiropractors use a concentrated force to place joints back into their proper position. Misalignments in the spine can contribute to back pain and even make other symptoms of an injury or condition worse.
Soft Tissue Mobilization
Chiropractors perform manual therapy like soft tissue mobilization to loosen tight, tense muscles, reduce swelling, and improve your range of motion. Soft tissue mobilization is an all-natural treatment technique that can bring about lasting pain relief by lengthening muscles and tendons and activating the body’s natural healing responses. You may notice your back gets stiff and sore in the area where you experience pain. Soft tissue mobilization helps improve circulation in the area, bringing blood rich in oxygen and nutrients to support the healing process.
Your chiropractor will likely also work with you on your posture. Most people carry themselves with a forward posture, meaning the head is slightly extended forward, causing rounded, hunched shoulders. This can put a lot of pressure and strain on the muscles in your neck and upper back. Similarly, another common posture involves tilting the hips forward and creating too much curvature between your lower back and buttocks. This can lead to lower back pain and even impact hips and legs. Chiropractors can help you improve your posture by strengthening the muscles that support your spine so they can hold healthy postures for longer periods of time.
Therapeutic massage may sound similar to soft tissue mobilization, but the underlying goals of this technique are slightly different. While soft tissue mobilization is designed to help restore healthy functioning in the area, therapeutic massage helps work out tension and stress in the body. This can be a great add-on to your treatment for back pain, especially as you work through postures and motions your body is not familiar with. Therapeutic massage offers your body a chance to relax as part of your recovery process.
Stretches & Exercises
Finally, your chiropractor may walk you through stretches and exercises that can help reduce your back pain naturally. Stretching helps elongate muscles and tendons in the body and prepares you for better mobility in your daily routines and favorite activities. Your chiropractor may recommend specific exercises that target your back muscles to improve strength and mobility. Stretching and exercising can play a significant role in healing from injuries and help you rehabilitate and prevent future injuries from occurring.
Visit AICA Orthopedics in Lithia Springs to speak with a chiropractor and learn more about how chiropractic care can provide you with lasting back pain relief. Our team of doctors includes orthopedic doctors, neurologists, chiropractors, and physical therapists who work together to provide you with comprehensive treatment for back pain.