Understanding Back Pain and The Causes

Many people suffer with back pain. 8/10 people in the current population will develop some form of disabling back pain in their lifetime. At any one time 1 in 5 people are experiencing the back pain at any given time.

Each year the NHS spends millions on lower back pain and costs society as a whole millions every year. Guidelines published from the government to GPs recommend early referral for manipulative treatment such as chiropractic to prevent developing a chronic recurring condition. 

Chiropractors are being increasingly used to help manage lower back pain as research puts chiropractic treatment over hospital treatments of the management of lower back pain.  Early management is key for preventing further damage and to stop an acute flare up becoming a recurring chronic lower back pain problem. Analgesics have been shown to be no more effective than placebo for the management of lower back pain in many research studies.

What Causes Back Pain?

 Common causes of back injury are those that build up over time such as poor posture, working in a repetitive or awkward position, prolonged sitting and long periods of time driving.

Sometimes an individual may feel a pain in their back after twisting awkwardly or lifting something heavy; this pain is can be severe or a small, relatively painless twinge. Though it can worsen over time and back pain can begin to become more debilitating. However, there are occasions when a very slight, seemingly risk free, movement can cause back pain such as picking up a letter from the floor. Even those that are relatively active can find themselves bending down slightly and feeling a sudden pain. This is caused by a weakness or dysfunction of a vertebral joint or muscle that controls the spine, which over time has gets to the point of failure - ‘the straw that broke the camels back’. It only takes a minor movement at the wrong time to tip it over the edge and for pain to begin.

Osteo-arthritis if often found on X-Rays and is usually not as bad as it sounds. It is a degenerative process in the joints which occurs in most people as we get older. This wear and tear rarely causes the pain it’s self, rather it is the stiffness and muscle tightness surrounding it that causes the problem and this usually responds very well to chiropractic treatment.

Different Types of Back Pain

There are different types of back pain that a person can suffer with and the symptoms and severity vary from person to person.

Muscular Back Pain - This type of back pain will be felt in the form of a dull ache and usually stiffness and discomfort is present when sitting or standing still for too long. Muscular back pain can cause stiffness in the morning, but overall if a patient keeps mobile and moving they usually feel some relief.

Joint Back Pain - This type of back pain will be felt in the form of a sharp twinge or stabbing pain when moving in certain ways; movements such as twisting or stretching often cause the pain. Patients with joint back pain will often find themselves tilting their spine to relieve discomfort, usually forward or to one side.

Nerve Back Pain - This type of back pain is rarely felt in the back itself. Nerve pain in the lower back will usually be felt in the leg, rather than in the back. This pain is from a nerve being trapped by a bulging disc, a bone or soft tissue. This is often known as ‘sciatica’.

A common myth is that all acute low back pain is caused by a “slipped disc”. Discs DON’T slip – they can bulge out like a car tire (a herniation or a prolapse) and when they do, they usually cause leg pain by compressing a nearby nerve.

Reducing Back Pain at Home

Getting help for lower back pain as early as possible is thoroughly advised to prevent a more simple problems turning into something worse. There are some simple things to try at home that can assist in pain management.

  • Hugging a knee to the opposite shoulder in a stretch can reduce pressure on the lower back.
  • Another remedy is a cat stretch; this involves getting down on all fours and arching the back upwards towards the sky slowly then downwards toward the floor.
  • Many individuals also find that placing an ice pack on the area of back pain reduces inflammation and reduces pain. In some cases it is very important to avoid direct heat such as hot packs and hot baths, which could make things worse.
  • Sitting up straight and standing straight whenever possible can help to combat overloading a sore back.

One of the best ways to reduce back pain is to seek the help of a primary healthcare professional such as a chiropractor. To find out more contact Aceso Family Chiropractic in Buckingham.