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 provide lower back, upper back, and neck relief, without using drugs or surgeries.
By focusing on the problem that is causing the discomfort, rather than the symptoms, chiropractic can help get to the root 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.
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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 of 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 and 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 body areas. 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. Chiropractic care may be a viable solution when treatments aren’t working or tests are inconclusive.
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. Often, 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 joints 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 (Cervicalgia) 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. Cervical 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 chronic 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 moves 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, and can increase back-of-neck pain, neck strain, and neck soreness. 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.
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.
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. Assisted stretching can also help to relieve neck pain.
How to Sleep For Neck Pain Relief
When neck muscle pain is a persistent issue, think about what you can do to remedy the discomfort. Try a new pillow or attempt to sleep on your back. Both of these changes can help you have a relaxed neck throughout the day and help to relieve ongoing pain symptoms.
These small shifts can have a significant impact on your neck, along with the right diagnosis and treatment when necessary. Call our office to learn more about neck and upper back pain relief today.
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Diet & Nutrition Tips for a Healthy Back
Each year, millions of people suffer from back pain in some form or another. It can be debilitating to go through a daily routine with constant or sporadic discomfort, leading some to miss work, skip out on activities with friends and family, or accomplish other tasks. Back pain may even lead to disability claims if it isn’t addressed. While causes of back pain vary from one person to the next, there are steps you can take from a diet and nutrition perspective to improve the health of the spine over time. Here are some things to consider.
Foods for Spinal Health
Nearly everyone recognizes the importance of eating a balanced diet to maintain overall health. It keeps weight in check first and foremost, but it can also lead to improvements in your spinal health if you focus on the right food choices. These often include the following:
Plant-based protein – foods such as beans, lentils, nuts, and chia seeds offer up nutrients you may not know you are missing. These foods help keep inflammation at bay, unlike some of the animal-based proteins including red meat. Plant-based proteins also provide antioxidants, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals that help support spinal health.
Omega-3 fatty acids – salmon, seaweed, and flaxseeds may also be great choices for boosting the health of your back. These choices are sources of omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation while improving tissue and bone health throughout the body. You can also take an omega-3 supplement like fish oil to increase your intake.
Omega-9 fatty acids – although omega-9 fatty acids are produced in the body naturally and may not be an essential addition to your diet, they can provide health benefits when it comes to your back. Foods including avocado and avocado oils, pecans, olives and olive oil, and cashews offering omega-9 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation in the body while increasing energy and improving mood.
Deep green vegetables – foods such as spinach, kale, and broccoli provide nutrients that help reduce back pain by decreasing inflammation in the spine. Similarly, carrots and peppers can bring down substances in the blood that are related to inflammation, ultimately helping with back pain.
Other vitamins and minerals – ensuring you’re getting enough calcium in your diet is also beneficial to spinal health. Calcium is known for keeping bone mass at a healthy level, and foods like milk, yogurt, and leafy green vegetables are great sources. However, calcium may not be enough to help your bones remain strong. Adding in magnesium is also key, as it also aids in maintaining bone density. You can get magnesium from fish, beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
Foods to Avoid
While it’s helpful to know what foods to include in your diet for a healthy back, it’s just as beneficial to know what you might want to steer clear of when possible. Foods high in saturated fats, such as fast food or highly processed snacks, can cause inflammation. The same is true for foods or beverages high in sugar.