Chronic back pain doesn’t just affect your back. It touches the quality of every area of your life from your professional performance to times of enjoyment and recreation. Anyone who has had back pain for a length of time and has looked at some of the causes and solutions will probably have found that it is not a straightforward search. The more research that is put out there, the more that we are learning that medications and surgeries don’t provide the long-term successes that they boast of. Here are a number of facts about back pain that may surprise you:
- Upwards of 8 out of 10 people will suffer from back pain at some time in their life
- In the United States, $50 billion a year or more is spent on back pain care
- The most common cause of disability worldwide is low back pain
- Women more commonly suffer from back pain and problems, with nearly a third of adult females having this issue compared to 25% of men
- The majority (54%) of back pain sufferers work most of their day seated
- Half of women will have a serious bout of back pain during pregnancy
After reading these facts, it seems obvious that finding a back pain solution that is affordable and works for the long-term is highly necessary.
Simple Ways to Ease Back Pain
- Maintain a healthy weight with a balanced diet
- Stay active and avoid prolonged sitting
- Choose comfortable, well-fitting footwear without too tall of a heel
- Sleep on a mattress of medium firmness to give proper support to your spine
- Use good lifting technique by lifting with your knees (not your back) and avoid twisting while holding heavy objects
- Set up your workplace desk ergonomically to avoid poor posture
- Quit smoking to improve nutrient delivery to the discs and other important tissues of your spine
Just adjusting one or two of these in your daily life could get you some relief. Changing little by little (for example eating a healthy meal or taking a short walk) can lead to a substantial difference in the way your back feels.
More About What Is Behind Back Pain
Back pain is experienced differently by each person. It can vary in the following factors:
- Location – Is your pain central or off to the left or right side? Is it your low or mid-back?
- Intensity – The severity of discomfort could be a slight ache or a debilitating pain
- Frequency – Sometimes the pain comes and goes while for others it may be constant
- Quality – Back pain feels a number of different ways such as dull, throbbing, sharp, or achy
- Timing – In some cases, the person may struggle the most in the morning when they first wake up. Other people may start the day pain free and the pain develops throughout the day.
Chiropractors are well known for the work that they do in helping patients with back pain. Not so well known is the branch of chiropractic care called upper cervical chiropractic that specializes in one area of the spine. This may not seem like a reasonable approach, going to a chiropractor that focuses on correcting misalignments at the uppermost part of the neck when it’s your lower back that is hurting. However, as you learn more about the way that the spine functions as a whole and how each part impacts the other, you may find that this where lasting relief will begin for you.
How Is My Neck Related to the Rest of My Back?
The spine is composed of bones, muscles, and ligaments that all work together as a complex network. At the very top of your spine, there are two vertebrae whose role is to protect the brainstem and spinal cord. The nerves that branch off of the spinal cord are the means by which the body is able to move, feel, and function. The uppermost bone of the spine is called the atlas, and it is designed to sustain the entire weight of your head. This vertebra is also unique because of its wide range of movement that allows us to rotate our heads left and right, tilt from side to side, and look up and down. This extra mobility also makes the atlas susceptible to misaligning because its joints and discs do not interlock.
A misalignment in the atlas has an effect all the way down the spine as the bones attempt to compensate for the incorrect positioning. When the placement of the head’s weight isn’t correctly lined up on top of the atlas, the shoulders and hips move out of place to adapt to the tilt of the head. This causes abnormal muscle tension from one side to the other, and as time progresses, can lead to other spinal issues and disc degeneration. This is why pain located in one part of your back can be caused from another part, since the entire spine gets involved to help.
When you come to Providence Chiropractic, we work with you to find what’s behind your condition. We don’t just adjust where the pain is, but instead we search for the underlying cause of the problem with the goal of correcting it and providing a long-term solution. If the reason you are having pain in your mid- or low back is from an atlas misalignment, then upper cervical chiropractic care could be the end of your nagging back pain. Upper cervical adjustments are uniquely designed for each patient’s needs, which means that they are extremely precise, very gentle, and hold in place for as long as possible. This is how the results are so impressive and our patients are also able to save money by avoiding costly invasive procedures.