Studies show that on average 80% of our population will suffer from back pain during their life. And for a lot of these people, it will affect their overall lifestyle over a long period of time, as well as their health.
Back pain is experienced through irritation to your nervous system. Your nervous system is the only system in the body that actually feels pain. So, if you are experiencing back pain, it is because there is something irritating the nervous system.
The nervous system consists of the brain, the spinal cord, and the nerves that exit out in-between the bones. These nerves turn into millions of branches that control and coordinate the function of every cell, every tissue, every muscle, every organ, and every system in your body. Yet, even though your nervous system controls and coordinates the function of everything in the body, only 10% of your nervous system feels pain.
It may surprise you to hear that only 10% of your nervous system feels pain. Although back pain may be felt immediately if caused by an accident or injury, such as whiplash, a fall, sports injury, or even from lifting something incorrectly—back pain can sometimes take years to be felt. We often treat patients who are just now feeling pain from problems that occurred years ago. Just like you can go to the dentist and you find out that you have a cavity—and it’s a big cavity—and yet you don’t feel any pain until it hits that nerve and then you actually experience the pain. Because only 10% of your nervous system feels pain, it is possible for back problems to have been going on for years and yet you don’t feel pain. This is a good reason to have regular checkups. (See our articles on Living the Chiropractic Lifestyle, and 7 Reasons to See a Chiropractor.)
Back pain is your body’s alarm system going off and saying, “Hey there’s an underlying problem going on in here.” And in a way, that is good. It’s good to know something is wrong because now you can take the steps to correct the problem. Most of the time when someone experiences pain it is because there is some type of inflammation going on that irritates the nerves, and a lot of times this irritation is the result of some kind of injury, inflammation, some kind of inflexibility, or sometimes the inflammation is due to degenerative disc disease.
Causes of Back Pain
When we look at back pain, there are several main causes of back pain: subluxations (or misalignments), muscle strains, tendon and ligament sprains, disc degeneration, disc herniation, and osteoarthritis. Often people will have back pain related to specific areas or sections of the back. The three main areas of the spine are the cervical spine (neck area), thoracic spine (mid-upper back), and the lumbar / sacral spine (lower back).
Subluxations (Misalignment): When the joints in the spine are misaligned, or out of alignment, and not moving properly, this is going to affect the nerve system in a negative way. Misalignment will cause irritation to the nerves within the joints of the spine and that will cause pain.
Muscles, Tendons & Ligaments Injuries: Muscle strains, as well as sprains to your tendons and ligaments can cause pain in your back. Often during injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your back, the joints in the spine can also lose their normal alignment. Left untreated, these subluxations (misalignments) can lead to the loss of your normal range of motion, and ultimately osteoarthritis.
Disc Degeneration: When a disc in the spine is degenerating the space between the joints gets smaller, and it starts to irritate the sensitive nerve fibers causing pain. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes inflammation, and as the inflammation affects the nerves, people experience back pain.
Back Pain is a Signal That Something is Wrong
If you are experiencing back pain, it is not something to be ignored. Since the nervous system controls everything in your body, when it is not functioning correctly this can result in a lot of other problems. We have three excellent articles on our website listing the symptoms you may be experiencing if you have subluxations in your cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (mid-upper back), and lumbar / sacral spine (lower back). You should check out these articles if you are experiencing any type of back pain.
Back Pain and Chiropractic Care
Back pain is no respector of age, and can affect anyone. As we mentioned in the article, around 80% of the population will deal with back pain.
Chiropractic care is the best way to deal with back pain, and seeing a chiropractor should be your first move after experiencing back pain. To properly care for your back, you should have regular checkups with your chiropractor just as you would with your dentist and medical doctor.
Seeing a chiropractor on a regular basis is the best way to maintain your back and nervous system, and prevent any back problems from becoming worse. Remember, since only 10% of nervous system feels pain, you might have a problem but not know about it yet.
Dealing With & Correcting Back Pain
When someone has back pain, our goal is to find the true underlying cause of the problem and correct it, because if you don’t correct the cause then the problem is going to get worse. When someone has spinal problems, or spinal pain, over a long period of time because of the dysfunction and misalignment of the joint, they will run into problems with degenerative disc disease and eventually osteoarthritis which creates lots of problems into the future. Back pain is not something to be ignored.
As chiropractors, our number one goal when a person comes in with a back pain problem is to do a full consultation and examination with orthopedic, neurological, physical exam tests, x-rays (if necessary), as well as computerized nerve scans tests, to determine exactly what is the underlying cause of the problem and what is the best way to correct the cause of the problem. This allows us to treat the source of their back pain and restore normal function to the spine and remove the cause of their back pain.
Unfortunately in our society most people are conditioned to look for a medication if they have a pain problem. One thing people have to understand is if you take a medication that hides or masks the underlying cause of the problem, you will not correct the underlying cause of the problem.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Deal With Your Back Pain
What happens when people don’t correct the underlying cause of their pain is their problem will continue to get worse and worse, and then the pain will come and it goes, and then it comes and it goes again. Often when the pain is gone they don’t think they have a problem any more—until the time arrives that the pain comes and it doesn’t go away again. A lot of times when we evaluate individuals who have been having pain that has been coming and going over the last 5, 10, 15 or 20 years, we find that they now have degenerative changes like osteoarthritis (read our article about osteoarthritis and chiropractic care). They may have now reached a point where their degenerative condition cannot be reversed and restored to normal. Chiropractic care will still be very effective at relieving their pain—without drugs and medications—and more importantly, chiropractic can stop the condition of their joints from further degeneration. As you can see, there are unfortunately consequences to allowing back pain to go untreated for long periods of time.
Call Kempsville Chiropractic today at 757.467.5258 to arrange a free consultation with one of our doctors. Back pain is something to be correctly right away to avoid major problems in the future. Please recommend this article to your friends and family members who may be dealing with back pain.
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The contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Lombardozzi. The information on this site is not intended as medical advice. The information contained on this website is a sharing of knowledge based on the experience and research of Dr. Lombardozzi and his staff. Dr. Lombardozzi recommends that patients make their health care decisions after doing their research and consulting with a qualified health care professional.
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