Back Pain: A Common Condition With Many Treatment Options
Back pain is experienced by more than 90 percent of the adult population at some point in their lives. One of the most common reasons for physician visits, it is not simply a personal issue but one that affects the population as a whole.
Usually back pain originates from muscles, nerves, bones, joints, or other parts of the spine and is separated into three categories: neck pain, upper back pain, and lower back pain. Sometimes pain is acute, occurring suddenly, such in the case of an injury.
Chronic back pain is common, particularly in the case of low back pain. Can be felt as sharp, pinching, piercing, or burning sensations or simply as a dull ache. It can also produce other symptoms such as tingling, weakness, or numbness of the limbs.
The causes of back pain vary. Strain or spasm in the skeletal muscle of the back can often cause pain. Disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, infection, fractures, and even cancer can all cause pain.
The most frequent source of back pain, however, is the misalignment of the joints of the spine, particularly for patients with low back pain. Because the spine is a complex system of interconnecting nerves, muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments, a single vertebra out of alignment can cause pain that radiates to other parts of the back as well as to the extremities.
While there are many treatment options for, not all treatments work for all conditions. Multiple treatments may need to be tried to determine which works best. Short term relief for mild to moderate pain is often through hot or cold compression therapy. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can also provide relief.
Severe back pain is usually treated with more extensive drug therapy including opiate drugs and other types of muscle relaxers. Surgery is a treatment option for severe back pain but is usually considered a last resort.
Because spinal misalignment is such a common cause of back pain, chiropractic care is one of the most effective and most sought-after treatments. Not only does chiropractic offer pain relief without the use of drugs or invasive procedures such as surgery, this “whole person” treatment addresses causes of pain beyond the physiological.
Chiropractic care itself involves the manipulation of the spine to restore the strength and integrity of the spinal column. These manipulations reduce pressure on the sensitive neurological tissue that comprise the network of nerves that run through the spine. Treatment plans also incorporate other factors into the treatment of pain such as lifestyle issues like a patient’s footwear, clothing, or stress level.
If it is severe enough that a chiropractor feels chiropractic methods will not bring relief, he or she will refer a patient to another practitioner or specialist for further treatment. Regardless of the type of treatment a patient seeks for relief of his or her pain, effective, long-lasting relief should always be the goal of any treatment plan.