Chiropractic Care for Back Pain
Every single year, millions of Americans miss work and visit their primary care doctors due to upper, middle, or low back pain. Most of the time, back pain is occasional and not a huge cause of concern. But some people – especially those over the age of 60 – suffer chronic pain in their backs, which can lead to mobility issues and dependence on pain relievers. The good news is that there are other treatment methods – such as chiropractic care, massage therapy, or physical therapy – that can potentially relieve pain in the back.
If you’re suffering from frequent or long-term back pain, Dr. Huebner at the Colorado Muscle & Joint Clinic can provide you with relief. He offers a variety of chiropractic treatments – such as spinal manipulation and myofascial release – that can help you get back on your feet without pain in no time. Call 970-744-6499 to schedule an appointment today.
Back Pain Symptoms
Back pain can originate from the muscles, the spinal canal, the spinal cord, or the spinal nerves. The exact characteristics of the pain – along with other symptoms – can help chiropractors, primary care physicians, spine specialists, and/or massage therapists determine the exact cause of the pain.
The characteristics of back pain can vary significantly from person to person. Most people describe back pain as feeling achy, dull, shooting, stabbing, tingling, or burning.
The location of the back pain also varies from person to person. Usually, most back pain sufferers will point to their pain being in the upper, middle, or lower back. Back pain can also radiate down one or both legs, making even the smallest movements a major challenge.
The duration of the back pain is also important to consider. Acute back pain means that the pain has only existed for a few days – maybe a week. Meanwhile, chronic back pain describes what has existed for a few weeks, months, or even years.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Just like neck pain, a wide variety of factors can lead to back pain, including:
- Muscular Strain: Straining muscles or ligaments in the back through intense physical activity is one of the leading causes of chronic low back pain. Heavy lifting or even repetitive twisting can lead to strained muscles and muscle spasms.
- Herniated Discs: Another leading cause of severe pain in the back is a bulging disc. In many cases, a herniated disc can cause pinched nerves, which can create numbness and tingling in the limbs. Different limbs can be affected depending on the location of the herniated disc and the pinched nerve. For example, a slipped disc in the cervical or thoracic region of the spine could cause numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, and fingers. Meanwhile, a slipped disc in the lumbar spine could cause numbness or tingling in the legs, feet, and toes.
- Accidents and Injuries: A car accident, a slip and fall accident, a sports accident, or even a violent assault could definitely lead to back injuries.
- Spinal Arthritis occurs when the facet joints and sacroiliac joints in the spine become inflamed. Many patients develop spinal arthritis due to gradual wear and tear on the body, autoimmune disorders, or even certain types of infections.
- Spinal Stenosis is characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal which puts pressure on the spinal cord and other nerves. This condition is often a result of general wear and tear as well. Most sufferers develop spinal stenosis in the cervical or lumbar spine.
- Osteoporosis occurs when many bones in the body (including the vertebrae) become weak and brittle. Aging, a vitamin D deficiency, major hormonal changes, and a sedentary lifestyle can be possible causes of this condition.
Risk Factors for Back Pain
Some people have a higher risk of developing severe back pain than others. Risk factors can include:
- Aging unfortunately raises your risk of developing almost any disease or type of pain. Many people over the age of 60 suffer from back pain, neck pain, knee pain, hip pain, etc.
- Being Overweight can raise your risk of back pain and nerve pain. This is often due to excess weight in the abdominal area, which puts strain on the entire back and spine.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: One of the main benefits of daily exercise is having more muscle tone and flexibility, both of which can improve or prevent back pain. The goal is to strengthen your entire body – especially the back and abdomen – so that your back isn’t under more strain than it already is to hold your weight.
- Improper Lifting: Lifting heavy objects with your back instead of your legs can definitely “throw your back out,” as they say.
- Smoking: We all know that smoking can lead to a variety of chronic conditions – such as lung cancer – but did you know that lifelong smoking can also contribute to osteoporosis and back pain? That’s because smoking can damage your arteries and decrease blood flow, which can lead to more pain, injuries, and conditions such as osteoporosis.
- Vitamin D Deficiency: We were all raised to believe that bone health hinges on only one micronutrient – calcium. While calcium is definitely important for bone health, it is nothing without adequate vitamin D. That’s because our bodies can’t fully absorb calcium without vitamin D. A long-term vitamin D deficiency can lead to all sorts of problems, such as osteoporosis and upper, middle, or low back pain.
- Psychological Stress: Lastly, if you live a stressful life or suffer from mental illness, your risk of all sorts of bodily aches and ailments goes up. When you’re incredibly stressed all the time, your body is basically in “fight or flight” all the time. This means that many muscle groups – such as your neck, shoulder, and back muscles – are constantly tense. Constant tension can lead to constant soreness, even in the back.
When to Be Concerned About Back Pain
In most cases, an occasional achy back is nothing to worry about. You should only be really concerned about back pain if it:
- Is severe and prevents you from doing normal activities.
- Lasts for longer than a few weeks.
- Spreads down your buttocks or one or both legs.
- Causes tingling, numbness, or weakness in the legs.
- Accompanies unexplained weight loss, a fever, bladder problems, or bowel problems.
- Doesn’t improve with self-care and pain medication.
Some of these additional symptoms could indicate a herniated disc, a pinched nerve, an infection, or even a spinal cord injury. Be sure to seek medical treatment from a primary care physician before seeking alternative care from a chiropractor, physical therapist, or a massage therapist.
Should I See a Chiropractor for Back Pain?
Yes, you should see a chiropractor for upper, middle, or low back pain, especially if other treatments have not provided you with any relief.
Chiropractic care is a form of holistic, alternative medicine that emphasizes the body’s ability to heal itself. Most chiropractors offer a variety of treatment options that can accelerate the healing of back injuries, reduce inflammation, release tension, and align spinal joints that may be causing pain. After only a few sessions of chiropractic treatment, many patients find that their pain resolves and that they no longer have to rely on pain medication to function.
Chiropractic Treatments That Can Improve Back Pain
Before Dr. Huebner implements any sort of treatment plan, he will ask you about your symptoms and perform a brief physical exam. Then, he may recommend the following treatment options:
- Myofascial Release, or trigger point therapy, is a common type of physical therapy that involves massaging tense or sore muscles. More specifically, this treatment focuses on the fascia throughout the body, which is the connective tissue that covers and supports all muscles in the body. Myofascial release can be incredibly effective for those who suffer from muscle spasms and strained back muscles.
- Spinal Manipulation: When most people think of chiropractic treatment, they most likely think of spinal manipulation. In simple terms, this treatment is all about cracking your back, but in the right way in order to relieve upper, middle, and lower back pain. The goal is to realign spinal joints which can relieve pressure, reduce inflammation, and even improve nerve pain. During spinal manipulation, Dr. Huebner will ask you to twist, sit, or lay a certain way. Then, he will gently crack your back or neck into alignment.
Is Chiropractic Care Safe for Back Pain?
Yes, chiropractic care is safe for back pain as long as you see an experienced and properly licensed chiropractor. Professional chiropractors have a D.C., or a doctorate of chiropractic medicine. Dr. Huebner at the Colorado Muscle and Joint Clinic is both experienced and properly licensed, so you can trust him with relieving your back pain.
Home Treatment for Back Pain
Chiropractic treatment often continues even after your session. In other words, many chiropractors recommend certain exercises, stretches, and other home treatment methods to relieve pain in your back.
Dr. Huebner may encourage you to lead an active lifestyle to not only maintain a healthy weight but to strengthen your back and core muscles. Remember – a weak back or abdomen can put more strain on the back, leading to more pain. Exercise doesn’t have to be intense or miserable. It can be as little as 30 minutes a day of walking, yoga, or gentle stretching.
Other forms of self-care that can potentially relieve back pain include maintaining good posture (keep your back straight, shoulders back, and knees and hips level) and taking vitamins that support bone and joint health. If your back pain really interferes with your day, you can also try alternating between hot and cold therapy.
Call the Colorado Muscle & Joint Clinic Today
If you’re suffering from back pain, neck pain, and headaches, you may benefit from chiropractic manipulation and other treatment options at the Colorado Muscle & Joint Clinic. The goal of chiropractic care is to relieve your pain naturally so that you can enjoy your life and not rely on pain relievers. Call 970-744-6499 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Huebner today.