Back pain is a very common condition impacting 80% of all United States citizens at one point in their life, according to the Mayo Clinic. The inconveniences of back pain are numerous, including disrupting people’s daily lives and causing them to miss work. It is a common reason that people visit their family doctor. While it is rarely a serious condition, it is extremely uncomfortable and can be severely painful at times. All age groups can be affected but most predominant in the age range of 35 to 55 years. Experts say that back pain is related to the way our bones, ligaments, and muscles connect and work in our backs. Lower back pain may be caused by a problem in the following areas:
- Bony lumbar spine
- Ligaments around the spine and discs
- Spinal cord and nerves
- Discs between the vertebrae
- Abdominal and pelvic internal organs
- Lower back muscles
What Causes Your Back to Hurt?
The back is comprised of a complex structure of tendons, discs, bones, muscles, and ligaments. The various parts of the spine are cushioned by discs, cartilage-like pads. When any of these components malfunction, back pain is sure to happen. Unfortunately, in some cases, the reason for the back pain is never identified. Below is a list of common reasons for back pain:
- Strain: Muscles and ligaments can become strained and muscle spasms may follow. This can be caused by:
- Lifting improperly
- Abrupt and awkward movements
- Trying to lift something heavy
- Structural problems:
- Bulging discs: Each vertebra is cushioned by a disc. Bulges in the disc put pressure on the nerves and leads to back pain.
- Ruptured discs: Similar to a bulging disc, a ruptured disc puts undue pressure on nerves and causes back pain.
- Osteoporosis: Bones, including the vertebrae of the spine, become porous and brittle resulting in compression fractures.
- Arthritis: Those with osteoarthritis often have pain in the joints of the hips, knees, hands, and lower back. Sometimes, stenosis occurs, meaning that the space around the spinal cord narrows.
- Sciatica: This is a sharp, shooting pain that goes from the buttocks down the back of the leg and usually happens because of a bulging or herniated disc pressing on a nerve
- Abnormal curvature of the spine: If the spine is curved in an unnatural way, such as with scoliosis, back pain often comes as a companion.
- Cancer of the spine: A tumor located on the spine may press against a nerve.
- Infection of the spine: A fever accompanied by a tender, warm area on the back can indicate an infection of the spine.
- Cauda equina syndrome: The cauda equina is a bundle of spinal nerve roots that arise from the bottom of the spinal cord. This syndrome is associated with dull pain in the lower back and upper buttocks as well as numbness or no feeling in the buttocks, thighs, and genitalia. Bowel and bladder dysfunction may occur as well.
- Additional infections: Bladder, kidney, or pelvic inflammatory disease can all be what is behind back pain.
- Sleep disorders: People with sleep issues are more likely to experience back pain.
- Bad mattress: A mattress that does not provide enough support for specific parts of the back and spine can cause back pain.
- Shingles: This is an infection that affects the nerves and may cause back pain if the nerves of the back are involved.
- Poor posture or everyday activities:
- Bending down for long periods
- Bending awkwardly
- Carrying something incorrectly
- Standing for long periods
- Pushing or pulling something
- Coughing or sneezing
- Straining the neck forward – like while using a computer or driving
- Muscle tension
- Driving for long periods without a break
Who Is More Likely to Have Back Pain?
- Those with anxiety or depression
- Women who are pregnant
- Older adults
- Those who have a stressful job
- Those who are living a sedentary lifestyle
- Those who smoke
- Women, as they have back pain more than men
- Those doing strenuous physical work or exercise
A Natural Solution for Back Pain
Here at Trillium Spinal Care, in Rochester, Minnesota, we provide relief from back pain for our patients by focusing on the bones of the upper cervical spine, specifically the C1 and C2 vertebrae. These bones have the important role of maintaining proper positioning of the head on the neck. However, these bones can easily become misaligned due to any kind of neck or head trauma. This will cause the head to sit unevenly on the neck, resulting in compensations in the spine that cause it to shift and move. This is called a righting reflex. This is how the body keeps the eyes level with the horizon line and it also helps keep the body from consistently leaning to one side. As the spine moves and shifts the weight of the heavy head (weighing up to 14 pounds), nerves, and muscles become irritated and pinched. This can result in different types of back pain and related disorders.
We thoroughly examine our patients, checking for even the slightest misalignment. It can be as small as ¼ of a millimeter and still create severe problems for the entire body. To adjust these types of misalignments, we administer a gentle method that encourages the neck bones to return into place without popping or cracking the spine. As soon as this is corrected, the body initiates its natural healing ability, restoring any damage that was inflicted from the misalignment. As the body begins to heal and inflammation calms down, many people see an improvement in or even an end to back pain.