Back pain is practically ubiquitous. You’d be hard-pressed to meet someone who has never had an ache or pain in their back somewhere along the line.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit their family doctor or must miss days at work.
Perhaps one of the reasons why people are so susceptible to developing back pain is because there are many moving parts to the back. Your spinal column is your backbone. It must be both strong and flexible to accommodate our daily activities. To support your spine, your body has many muscles, tendons, and ligaments that attach to your spine to provide both stability and movement. The back can become injured as a result of an accident, or oftentimes due to repetitive motions over time.
What are the Common Back Pain Risk Factors?
There are several known factors that can predispose you to develop back pain. Some, such as age, are beyond our control. However, many back pain risk factors can be mitigated or even eliminated with lifestyle changes and choices.
- Age – most people will begin to experience their first bouts with back pain in their 30s or 40s.
- Excess body weight – being overweight can put additional stress on your spinal joints and discs.
- Improper lifting technique – using your back to lift objects rather than your legs can cause injury to the back.
- Extended periods of sitting – jobs that require long hours of sitting (driving or behind a desk), or leading a sedentary lifestyle will put you at greater risk for developing back pain.
- Not enough exercise – being in poor physical shape causes muscles to weaken and become less capable of supporting your back.
- Smoking – smoking tobacco can prevent the discs that separate each vertebra in your back from getting the proper nutrients they need to remain healthy.
- Pregnancy – weight gain throughout pregnancy can put additional stress on your back and hips.
- Injury – any of the parts of your back have the potential to be injured from either an accident or overuse. Muscles and ligaments can be strained, joints can become inflamed, and discs can wear thin or herniate.
What is Causing My Back Pain?
Back pain can be complex in the sense that there are many possible causes. It could be something as simple as lifting something that was too heavy, or something as mysterious as waking up in the morning in pain without any specific cause. The most common culprits when it comes to back pain are:
- Muscle strain
- Ligament sprain
- Arthritis – there are many types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the “wearing out” of spinal joints that can narrow the spinal canal and put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves, which can be extremely painful.
- Osteoporosis – when your bones lose density they can become brittle, which can lead to compression fractures.
- Muscle spasm
- Disc degeneration
- Underlying medical conditions such as fibromyalgia or ankylosing spondylitis
- Spinal misalignments (also called subluxations)
To learn more about the connection between head and neck injuries and back pain download our complimentary e-book Natural and Drug-Free Ways to End Your Back Pain and Sciatica by clicking the image below.
Odds are, your back pain is nothing dangerous. However, major red flags to see your doctor immediately would be back pain accompanied by:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Difficulty urinating or changes in bowel habits
- A severe enough accident to potentially cause a spinal fracture
Looking for Natural, Drug-Free Back Pain Relief?
The first thing you think of to help bring you relief for your back pain is probably not your neck. In fact, your neck may not even trouble you at all. However, because of how your spine is designed, a small misalignment of the uppermost vertebrae in the neck can actually be the root cause of your condition.
How Does This Happen?
Your atlas vertebra is the topmost one in your neck. It is shaped completely differently from the others in your spine because it has two unique purposes – to bear the weight of your head and to provide our heads with the ability to move in all different directions. The atlas can misalign for many reasons, but most commonly an accident or injury is to blame. Many of our patients report a car (even a minor fender-bender) or sports accident at some point in their past. When this small misalignment occurs, it may not even cause you any pain or discomfort. However, over time, the rest of the spine is forced to compensate for a head that is not able to be carried in a neutral position over the rest of the body. The average adult head weighs 10-12 pounds, and that all sits atop a bone that weighs mere ounces.
To compensate for an atlas misalignment, your shoulders may become uneven from left to right. This will put excess stress and strain on your mid-back. Your hips will also begin to compensate, and you may start to favor one side over the other. This will start to affect your lower back, and can even cause irritation of the sciatic nerve.
Can Upper Cervical Chiropractic Help my Back Pain?
Rather than chasing around symptoms and adjusting only painful areas, our goal is to address the root cause of the problem. In many back pain cases the root cause, as we outlined above, can actually be in the upper neck. At Balanced Living Chiropractic, before we adjust any of our patients, we run through a very detailed process. We take precise measurements of exactly how and where your spine has misaligned so that we know exactly what it will take to restore normal alignment. One of the best parts about upper cervical chiropractic care is that the adjustments are designed to hold in place for as long as possible, which is the key to finding lasting relief. When the body is given the right conditions and time to heal, many of our patients report a reduction or complete resolution of their back pain.
To schedule a complimentary NUCCA consultation, call 248-652-7225 or just click the button below.
If you are outside of the local area, you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com