Struggling with Back Pain?
Are you struggling with back pain? Whether it is your upper, middle, or lower back, it is likely that you will experience some form of back pain in your life. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 32 million Americans are experiencing back pain at this moment, and that approximately 80% of the population will experience some form of back pain in their lifetime. With numbers like this it’s not surprising that back pain has grown to be the #1 cause of disability in the United States. Statistics like this should stimulate concern regarding what causes lower back pain, how to prevent it, and what the best form of treatment is once it has developed. Our Tuscaloosa chiropractor team at University Chiropractic & Wellness aims to use this article to guide you in the right direction to answer those questions and more.
Back Pain in Tuscaloosa
The number of injuries, misalignment, and conditions that cause back pain seems endless. The back is a very complex structure that is required to absorb stress while permitting movement. Many elements of this structure such as tendons, ligaments, discs, muscles, and bones can become irritated or damaged resulting in pain. Sometimes it is severe trauma, such as a car accident, that can result in back pain. Other times it is minor repetitive stress that causes the most damage. Therefore, you may not be able to recall any particular event that caused the onset of your pain.
In addition to all of these possibilities, physical injury is not always the primary cause. Conditions such as obesity, arthritis, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections have been shown to give symptoms of lower back pain. With all of these possibilities, it is important to find a doctor that takes into account all aspects of health to reach an accurate diagnosis. Fortunately, our team at University Chiropractic & Wellness in Tuscaloosa has many years of education and experience to determine the correct diagnosis. Without an accurate diagnosis and treatment, even the most minor conditions can develop into serious lifelong conditions.
Disc Bulges or Herniation
One of the most common and painful causes of back pain is a disc bulge or herniation. However, it is important to recognize that not all disc bulges or herniation result in pain. It has been found through MRI studies that as much as 37% of the American population has a disc bulge or herniation, and the vast majority of them are experiencing no pain or other related symptoms. Unfortunately, the people who are experiencing pain often describe it as severe and intense.
The type of pain that is experienced due to a disc herniation depends on the type and position of the herniation. If the damaged disc is irritating a surrounding nerve, shooting pain and weakness into the legs may develop. The discomfort is often described as stabbing and lightning-like. To understand how a disc herniation develops, it is best to think of the disc as a jelly donuts. If the outer edges of the donuts (disc) are damaged over time, most typically from wear and tear, the jelly in the middle of the disc can escape. This level of severity can be very difficult to reverse. Chiropractic care has been shown to prevent the advancement of the herniation, and provide relief from the associated pain.
Subluxations are one of the most commonly overlooked contributors to back pain. Subluxation is a medical term used to basically describe a vertebrae in our spine that is out of position. When these subluxations occur, normal movement is disrupted, and a cascade of events (including pain) can occur. Subluxations can occur anywhere in the spine and there are almost an unlimited amount of factors that can cause them.
Causes of subluxations range from physical trauma, stress, and toxins. Just as stress can contribute to the formation of an ulcer in the gut, it can also cause physiological changes in the body that result in the vertebrae in our back moving out of position. The time frame to correct subluxations varies by the individual, but our team at University Chiropractic & Wellness is trained to find and correct this issue.
Muscular Sprains and Tendon or Ligament Strains
Strains and sprains can occur in anyone, but they typically occur in people who engage in tasks that their body is not accustom to. For example, a person who attempts to run a marathon during their first outing in the summer is likely to overwork these structures causing damage. Ligament sprains are typically caused by stretching the involved ligament past its limits creating tears. Muscular strains are commonly caused by lifting too heavy of an object, as well as twisting motions. Strains and sprains of the ligaments can be extremely painful, and are often accompanied by swelling and bruising of the surrounding area. Strains and sprains are intimately intertwined with the spine and therefore typically respond well to chiropractic care. Our clinic is fully equipped to provide comprehensive treatment of these injuries.
Stress and Back Pain
People who are chronically under stress have a very different physiological profile then those who are not. When our bodies are under intense stress, they release various stress hormones to adapt to the situation. Some of the adaptive mechanisms include; an elevated heart rate, an increased blood pressure, an altered immune system, decreased bone density, and decreased muscle mass. If this response is prolonged, elevated stress levels have been shown to contribute to the development of heart disease, digestive issues, depression, obesity, and back pain. All of the tension produced by the stress hormones causes a contraction of muscle tissue that produces “trigger points”. These trigger points can be extremely painful, but thankfully they are treated with a high success rate at University Chiropractic & Wellness.
When health care professionals, such as chiropractors, treat the cause of back pain rather than the symptoms, the treatment of back pain becomes less complicated. All of the above stated causes of back pain have one factor in common, misalignments of the vertebrae in the spine. Luckily, our outstanding team is specially trained in their treatment.
As with any condition, it is recommended to take a conservative, effective, and non-invasive approach to the treatment of back pain first. If you are suffering from back pain or have any further questions, please contact our team at University Chiropractic & Wellness in Tuscaloosa today to schedule a consultation.
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