Are you experiencing back pain?
You are not the only one who has experienced back pain. According to estimates, around 80% of people have experienced back pain at some point in their lives. This is the second most common reason that people avoid work after colds. It is also a top reason to visit the doctor, the clinic or emergency room. The annual cost of back pain relief is estimated at 50 billion dollars.
These are five facts that provide some insight into low back pain.
Pain is not always caused by a herniated disc. It may surprise you to learn that many people who have herniated discs never experience pain. Random studies of healthy people who had an MRI showed that about 30% of those with herniated discs could have no symptoms. Because the herniation often isn’t enough to cause pain in the spine, many times it is not. A low back strain will almost always result in some type of pain. This can range from mild to severe. A sprain can be very painful, but it is possible to treat it with conservative and non-invasive care.
- Common movements are the best way to injure your back. People are more likely to complain of pain when they “just bent forward and tried to get up”, rather than from an accident or hard fall on their back. Because the low back structures of the spine are not being “loaded”, the body isn’t caught off guard by quick movements and injury results. A herniated disc is most commonly caused by bending forward to pick up something from the ground, or loading the spine. However, this time, the load was too heavy for the spine’s structures.
- Pain in other areas can be caused by herniated discs that are symptomatic. The herniated disc can cause pain in other areas, such as the hip or one or more legs. Radiation of the pain may not be constant and feel sharp at times. Referred pain can be caused by a low back strain, but it is not likely to affect the legs.
- Low back sprains are more responsive to anti-inflammatory medication, ice, but it doesn’t address the root cause of the pain. Sprain pain is caused by inflammation in the area that leads to spasms. People visit the emergency room most often for low back pain. This pain can sometimes be a sign that something is wrong and needs further attention. If the pain does not improve or disappear with movement, it could indicate a more serious condition than a sprain.
- Age and weight. Patients in their 40s are most likely to sustain a sprain, although it can happen at any age. Patients with herniated discs increase in age with the largest group being those 60 years old and older. Chronic low back pain is less common in active people than it is in overweight or non-active people. People with a higher body weight are more likely to have herniated discs because of the extra load placed on the spine.
- We want to get the best treatment and diagnosis for pain as soon as it occurs. Sometimes we just want to be sure that the pain isn’t severe or life-threatening. This is a common fear in the medical world. Most cases are not “textbooks” or “research subjects” in reality. Many factors play a role in determining the duration of pain. For example, the patient’s history, activity level, and lifestyle choices can all impact how long it lasts. Conservative chiropractic care is cost-effective and successful in the vast majority of cases.
Muscle strains and muscle sprains
Muscle Strain – A muscle strain is an injury to muscle tissue or the tendon that connects muscle to bone. Overexertion, twisting, or torn can cause injury to the muscle or its connective tissue. Overexertion can cause this type of injury. Overexertion can sometimes lead to strains in people who aren’t in top physical condition.
Sprain – A strain affects the ligaments. These are the fibrous tissue bands that connect and cushion the areas where two bones meet. Sprain injuries may occur from sudden impacts such as a fall, tackle, or impact with another player in sport or an accident.
Herniated Disc – Also called a slipped or ruptured disc, this refers to a displacement of or bulge in one or more meniscus discs. This shock-absorbing cartilage tissue separates the vertebrae from the bones of the back. A herniated disc is more common in the lower back and lumbar region. The meniscus’ tough outer layer protects the nucleus pulposus, which is a gel-like inner portion.
A tear in the outer layer can cause rupture or herniation. This allows some nucleus pulposus material to push out from the disc. On a misshapen disc, the vertebral bones may shift. Sciatica can occur when the bones press against the sciatic cord, which runs down the leg. This can cause tingling, numbness and weak muscle control. A cough or sneeze can cause pain spasms by jolting the area affected by the back.
The best treatment for herniated discs is rest, anti-inflammatory medicine and elevated legs. You can also use cold or warm compresses. The condition could worsen if it continues. Your doctor may recommend that you have an epidural injection with cortisone to reduce swelling and inflammation in the area affected by the back. Surgery may be an option for persistent, chronic cases or progressive neurological deterioration.
Tips for a Healthy Back
These are the best ways for avoiding lower back injury. But we hear them so often that it almost seems like mom is telling us what to do.
- Lift with care – This is a common saying: “lift with your legs.” Avoid bending over while lifting heavy objects. This will help you avoid injury to your back. To spread the load, flex your knees and squat.
- Standing straight is the best way to sleep.
- Pay attention to what shoes you choose – Flip-flops, cowboy boots, high heels and cowboy boots can cause a kinetic chain stress reaction that can lead to a painful and damaging effect on the lower back. Spend the time to find and purchase the right footwear if you are just starting out with running, jogging or walking for exercise.
- Stretch before and after exercise – It is essential to prevent injury as you age from childhood through adulthood and into old age.