Back and Neck Pain Relief
Chiropractic, where the alignment of your body’s structure is manually corrected, can relieve a lot of the pain associated with your back or neck. It is a natural, healthy way to relieve pain, rather than using drugs or surgeries.
By focusing on the problem that is causing the discomfort, rather than symptoms, chiropractic can help get to the root of the of your back or neck pain. It will improve joint mobility/flexibility, and also helps with the body’s ability to heal and repair. Chiropractic promotes blood flow to injured areas, and also releases endorphins and enkephalins, which are the body’s natural pain inhibitors.
Chiropractic focuses on posture, helping stabilize your body for better ergonomic balance—such as forward head posture and scoliosis.
Back Pain Relief
Why Does My Back Hurt?
Why do I have pain radiating from my back causing it to ache? The pain you are feeling is triggered in the nervous system. It can be dull, sharp and come and go. Your pain is an indicator that something is wrong or going wrong with your body.
Types of Back Pain
Back pain can be considered Acute (short term) lasting only from a few days to several weeks, or Chronic (long term) lasting more than three months. A person may experience back pain in any part of his or her back, but the lower back or lumbar spine is the most common location.
Some Causes of Back Pain
There are many reasons why you could be experiencing back pain. Some of those are:
Muscle imbalances throughout the body
Traumatic injuries (auto accidents, incorrect bending and lifting)
Working at a desk for long periods
Degenerative disk disease
Getting a Diagnosis for Back Pain
According to the American Chiropractic Association, an estimated 31 million adults in America experience back pain at any given moment, and as many as 80% of adults will have a back pain issue at some point in their lives. Lower back pain is often the most common complaint, but there are countless variations of discomfort in the back that require an accurate and timely diagnosis.
The reality is that the underlying reason for back pain is not always identified correctly the first time around, and this causes more stress and frustration which can exacerbate the issue.
Here are a few strategies to help get your back pain diagnosed so you can plan for treatment and recovery.
The Diagnostic Process
Although the causes for back pain are far and wide, the diagnostic process is similar for many adults who want and need answers. Most believe that a myriad of tests is necessary to get to the underlying issue quickly, but the diagnostic process begins with an open and honest discussion with your healthcare provider. This involves a review of your medical history, with a close focus on the severity, frequency, and location of your back pain.
Your doctor may ask:
How long has your back pain been noticeable?
Is the pain in your back only, or does it radiate to the legs or arms?
Does anything make your back pain subside?
What makes your back pain worse?
Have you received treatment for back pain in the past?
In addition to these pointed questions, a diagnostic exam may also involve questions about other seemingly unrelated issues. You may be asked about tingling or numbness, urinary incontinence, or weakness and fatigue. Be prepared to answer these questions along with the specifics of your back pain during your initial visit.
Once a thorough medical history is gathered, a physical examination is completed. Your doctor may test nerve function and muscle strength in the arms, legs, and back, or ask about pain when putting pressure on certain areas of the body. These brief physical tests can provide insight into medical history and symptom run-downs cannot. In some cases, however, further testing is necessary in order to get a proper diagnosis.
Tests You May Receive
When a physical examination and medical history combined are not enough to find a diagnosis, your doctor may suggest more in-depth diagnostic tests. These may include an X-ray, which provides a detailed view of the bone structure in the spine, or a CT (computerized tomography) scan, which offers a closer look than an X-ray.
In some cases, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is recommended which can help with identifying specific conditions that impact the back, such as degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis.
Your doctor may also request other imaging or electrical studies to get a better idea of the cause of the back pain, depending on its location and severity.
Receiving a Diagnosis
Even with extensive testing and symptom history, there may not be an immediate clear reason for back pain. Typically, a combination of these approaches works best to determine the underlying cause, but some medical professionals may conduct a trial and error approach to treating discomfort over time. When treatments aren’t working or tests are inconclusive, chiropractic care may be a viable solution.
The best thing you can do to ensure you get the right diagnosis and, ultimately, the right treatment, is to follow up with your doctor or chiropractor when back pain persists.
The Problem with Pain Relievers for Back Pain
Some people mask their symptoms with pain relievers and do not take care of the root of the problem. Others find that ignoring the warning signals of their back pain only causes their spinal problems to worsen. When they rest all the time – because their back is in pain – they are just prolonging the problem.
Then there are those who have tried a variety of different forms of therapy which only caused stress to the malfunctioning joints. Oftentimes, as a last resort to solve their back pain, surgery may be suggested. But it can be invasive and is usually only considered as a last option.
Chiropractic Treatment for Back Pain
If you are part of the 8 out of 10 Americans who suffer from back pain, there is good news: Chiropractic treatment has helped millions of people just like you to become pain free and restore their bodies to optimal health.
Chiropractors are spinal health experts. They use their hands to manipulate the spine and joint to correct structural alignment and improve your body’s physical function.
Massage for Back Relief
Although massage therapy is well-known for relaxation (such as that offered in spas), it is also extremely beneficial for the body’s health.
By increasing the blood flow and circulation to an injury or injured area, massage will help promote healing and rebuilding. It will also release toxins to the lymphatic system (the body’s natural filter), which are then expelled from the body.
Have you experienced muscle twitches? Also called “muscle fasciculation,” these can be downright annoying. Massage can help solve these problems, along with releasing trigger points.
Massage is also beneficial to those with stress and anxiety; it can also improve joint mobility, and is an excellent non-invasive way of dealing with general discomfort.
Neck Pain Relief
Nearly 45% of today’s workers have some degree of neck pain, with 12% of women and 9% of men experiencing it consistently each day. Neck pain can range from mild to severe, and while some can ignore the discomfort, others are unable to perform regular daily functions pain free.
Why Does My Neck Hurt?
It can be difficult to pinpoint what causes neck pain when it starts, especially when it goes away in a matter of days or weeks. But if it returns with persistence or is more debilitating, it’s necessary to get the right diagnosis and treatment quickly.
Common reasons for neck pain include:
An old injury
Sleeping in the wrong position
Poor body posture
An Old Injury
Because neck pain is fickle, it isn’t surprising that it comes and goes over time. An old injury from a fall, improper exercise, a car accident, or a sports injury, could be the culprit of current neck pain, even if the initial issue took place months or years ago. For some, nerves in the neck and shoulder are impacted by an injury, causing pain and stiffness that comes back over time.
Sleeping in the Wrong Position
Many people wake up with a stiff neck each morning but shrug it off as the day move forward. But that stiffness can be an indicator of an underlying issue taking place throughout the night. It is common to sleep in an awkward or atypical position that ultimately overextends the neck, leading to pain that doesn’t go away.
Poor Body Posture
Neck pain is also caused by poor posture. When your head is continually tilted down or your shoulders and back rounded while standing or sitting, pressure is put on the neck muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Poor posture has become a more widely discussed topic with the entrance of “text neck” – when significant time is spent looking down at the phone or computer. However, lousy posture also happens on the commute, at work, or at home. When the neck must work harder to support your head in any circumstance, you’ll probably experience pain in some form down the road.
This one may seem out of place, but neck and back strength comes from the discs between the bones in your spine. When these are not adequately hydrated, they can’t perform efficiently. This could lead to neck pain in a hurry. However, because most people don’t connect hydration with a healthy spine, this issue could go unattended for quite some time.
How to Relieve Neck Pain
The best step you can take in reducing neck pain, no matter how mild it may seem, is getting to the root of the problem. While the common causes of neck pain seem apparent, you may also have a more severe nerve or muscle issue that is compounding the problem. If your neck pain persists for more than a few weeks, it is worth getting it checked out.
Chiropractic care can be beneficial in treating neck pain, as the hands-on approach takes into consideration the work you’ve already done, if any, to correct your neck pain. A course of treatment, which may include a neck adjustment, mobilization exercises, or massage, can be tailored to the cause of your neck pain, and over time, you may experience a reduction in soreness and stiffness along with an improved range of motion.
When neck pain is a persistent issue, think about what you can do to remedy the discomfort. Maybe it is trying a new pillow or attempting to sleep on your back. Try bringing your computer screen up to eye level, or use a headset if you’re on the phone frequently. Make an effort to increase your water intake throughout the day, and do simple exercises to stretch out the neck muscles during breaks. These small shifts can have a significant impact on your neck, along with the right diagnosis and treatment when necessary.