What is Really Causing Your Back Pain?

 Back pain can be a result of height, weight, or posture. Treatments are available for symptoms, but core exercise is the proven method to relieve pain for good.

 

Most people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain can be caused by an acute injury or from long-term wear and tear on the spine and joints of the back. During evaluation by a physiatrist a holistic approach frequently uncovers the root cause of the pain, and the answer is much simpler than many would suspect.

Frequent Causes of Back Pain

  • Height – While it may seem surprising, your height has a lot to do with your lower back pain. The spine is stabilized by your core muscles which sit in your abdomen. For a tall person, or anyone with an especially long torso, these muscles have to work harder to hold up the spine than the core muscles of a shorter person.
  • Weight – People gain weight differently, and much of this is attributed to genetics. While many women gain weight in the lower half of their bodies, creating what is known as the pear shape, more frequently men gain weight in their trunk or abdomen. Protruding abdominal weight can throw off the body’s natural center of gravity and cause it to be more forward and further away from the spinal column. As a result, the back has to work harder to stop from pitching forward. This is also a common source of lower back pain in pregnant women as their muscles work to hold up the spine and support the weight of the growing womb.
  • Posture – Your mother was not kidding when she would tell you to stand up straight. Posture affects the entire body, whether it is good or bad. Good posture helps to reinforce spinal alignment and connective tissue. This is especially important when exercising, as poor posture can cause over- or under- development of a muscle group and uneven muscle tone which can make posture worse and add more stress to the back.

Correcting the Problem

  • Medications – While many people would like to use a medication to fix their pain, the recommendation for medication is minimal. Non-Steroidal Analgesics (NSaids), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, are effective at relieving pain associated with inflammation, but that is the extent of their usefulness. The pain can only be temporarily relieved with medication therapy.
  • Helpful Therapies – Spinal Manipulation Therapy (SMT) has proven to be an effective method of pain relief for many patients suffering from low back pain. SMT is the practice of applying controlled pressure to a joint in the spine and is commonly performed by a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), physical therapist, or chiropractor.
  • Massage can be very effective at relieving back pain associated with stress.  Massage helps to normalize muscle tone and joint alignment, can normalize blood and lymphatic flow to an injured area, and can help release built-up toxins in tense muscles. An added bonus of massage is the overall mental stress relief it can provide which can directly correlate to feeling pain in the body.
  • Acupuncture is the application of pressure to specific points in the body that may relieve pain associated with the nerves. People who use acupuncture regularly find that their pain is greatly reduced over time.

The Cure   

The only proven method of preventing future back pain is with regular exercise and strengthening. It is important to consult your physiatrist before attempting any exercises as certain exercises may be better for you than others.

For more information about back pain, please visit our website at http://valleysportsandspine.com and learn how Valley Sports & Spine Clinic can relieve your pain for good.   

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