As chiropractors, we see a lot of people in pain. Many times this neck and back pain is the result of a sudden trauma such as a car accident or slip and fall. However, there are also millions of people who suffer from chronic pain which has built up over months or years – typically caused by mundane daily tasks and bad habits.
Neck and back pain can be dull or achy, causing only mild inconvenience. But you may also experience acute, severe pain which restricts mobility and affects your quality of life.
Causes of Neck and Back Pain
Pain which is a result of an accident is easy to diagnose. The exact origin of most back and neck pain can be difficult to pinpoint, however, and may include one of more of the following:
* Overuse or strain, such as heavy lifting or strenuous exercise.
* Repetitive poor posture, such as sitting at a computer every day
* Obesity, as increased weight will put pressure on the spine, discs and vertebrae
* Poor muscle tone, which prevents muscles from holding the spine and vertebrae in
* Muscle tension, spasms, sprains or strains
* Degeneration of vertebrae, often a result of aging
* Infections or abdominal problems
* Tears in the muscles or ligaments
* Arthritis, osteoporosis and other similar conditions
* Protruding or slipped disks, or pinched nerves
What You May Experience
Pain in your back may be localized, or seem to affect a large portion of your body. In addition to this identifiable pain, you may also experience leg numbness or tingling in proximity to the knee; stiffness along your spine; or sharp pain that radiates from your lower back down the back of your leg and into your calf and toes.
Important: If you are suffering from loss of bladder and bowel control, or weakness in both legs simultaneously – please seek help right away. These may indicate a serious medical condition. Sharp pain or dull aches in your neck might be accompanied by arm numbness or tingling, headaches, or shoulder pain
Treating the Pain
Acute back or neck pain may improve with rest and over the counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Individuals should move slowly and carefully while their bodies helm with no rapid or jerking movements which could cause a further loss of mobility. Chronic neck or back pain may be successfully treated with a variety of methods.
A chiropractic regimen is considered to be an effective way to ease many types of neck and back pain, as it addresses the source of the problem – not the symptom. If spinal alignment or slipped disks are causing the issues, adjustments are likely to not only stop your immediate pain, but prevent it from recurring.
It is always recommended that you visit a chiropractor or medical professional before you embark on any treatment plan, as you could do more harm than good if there is a serious problem. In addition to adjustments and alignments, the following may work for your pain:
* Hot or cold packs
* Exercises to strengthen muscles and alleviate pain (ie stretching/ flexing of muscles). * Aerobic exercise to help with overall fitness and strength
* Braces or corsets
Preventing Pain from Everyday Activities
Keeping the pain from occurring at all is the most preferable course of action. To proactively protect your neck and back:
* Learn proper lifting techniques: avoid heavy lifting; bend your legs, maintain a straight back; slowly lift your body and the object.
* Be aware of posture when sitting, standing, or lying down. Consider specialized head or body pillows to help ease pressure on the spine while sleeping.
* Exercise regularly, incorporating strength exercises for your back. Strong back muscles help to support your spine. Exercises which strengthen the core and improve balance are also important.
* Establish ergonomic designs for your computer height, keyboard, chair and phone usage.
* Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Maintain a healthy weight, minimize emotional stress, quit smoking, and incorporate Vitamin D and calcium in particular into your diet.
For more information on how you can relieve neck and back pain – or avoid it entirely – call West Coast Wellness. We are committed to your holistic health and overall wellness, proving natural and safe solutions.