Back pain is a very common condition affecting 80% of all US citizens at least once in their lifetime, according to the Mayo Clinic. Back pain causes people to miss work and is a common reason for visits to the family doctor. While it is uncomfortable and can cause quite a bit of pain, it is rarely a serious condition. It can affect anyone at any age but is mostly seen in the age range of 35 to 55 years. Experts report that back pain has to do with the way our bones, ligaments, and muscles connect and work in our backs. Pain in the lower back may be due to a problem in the:
- Bony lumbar spine
- Ligaments around the spine and discs
- Spinal cord and nerves
- Discs between the vertebrae
- Abdominal and pelvic internal organs
- Lower back muscles
What Makes Your Back Hurt?
The back is made up of a complicated structure of tendons, discs, bones, muscles, and ligaments. The different parts of the spine are cushioned by discs, cartilage-like pads. If any one of these components is not working properly, back pain is the end result. Unfortunately, in some cases, the cause of back pain is never discovered. Here is a list of common reasons for your back to hurt:
- Strain: Muscles and ligaments can become strained and muscle spasms may follow. This can be caused by:
- Lifting improperly
- Abrupt and awkward movements
- Trying to lift something heavy
- Structural problems:
- Bulging discs: Each vertebra is cushioned by a disc. If it bulges, it can put pressure on the nerves and cause back pain.
- Ruptured discs: Similar to a bulging disc, a ruptured disc puts undue pressure on nerves and causes back pain.
- Osteoporosis: Bones, along with the vertebrae of the spine, become porous and brittle leading to compression fractures.
- Arthritis: Those with osteoarthritis often have pain in the joints of the hips, knees, hands, and lower back. Sometimes, stenosis occurs, which means the space surrounding the spinal cord narrows.
- Sciatica: A sharp, shooting pain that goes from the buttocks down the back of the leg and is often due to a bulging or herniated disc pressing on a nerve
- Abnormal curvature of the spine: If the spine is curved in an unnatural way, such as with scoliosis, back pain is likely an end result.
- Cancer of the spine: A tumor located on the spine may press against a nerve.
- Infection of the spine: A fever accompanied by a tender, warm area on the back can indicate an infection of the spine.
- Cauda equina syndrome: The cauda equina is a bundle of spinal nerve roots that arise from the bottom of the spinal cord. This syndrome causes dull pain in the lower back and upper buttocks along with numbness or lack of feeling in the buttocks, thighs, and genitalia. Bowel and bladder dysfunction may occur as well.
- Additional infections: Bladder, kidney, or pelvic inflammatory disease can all cause back pain.
- Sleep disorders: If you have sleep issues, you are more likely to endure back pain.
- Bad mattress: If your mattress is not supporting specific parts of the back and spine, back pain may ensue.
- Shingles: This is an infection that affects the nerves and may cause back pain if the nerves of the back are involved.
- Poor posture or everyday activities:
- Bending down for long periods
- Bending awkwardly
- Carrying something wrong
- Standing for long periods
- Pushing or pulling something
- Coughing or sneezing
- Straining the neck forward – using a computer or driving
- Muscle tension
- Driving for long periods without a break
Who Is At a Greater Risk for Back Pain?
- Those with anxiety or depression
- Being pregnant
- Older adults
- Working a stressful job
- Those who are living a sedentary lifestyle
- Those who smoke
- Females, as they have back pain more than males
- Those doing strenuous physical work or exercise
Where to Find Natural Relief for Back Pain
Here at Gilbert Wellness Center in Urbandale, we are able to help our patients with back pain by focusing on the bones of the upper cervical spine, particularly the C1 and C2 vertebrae. These bones are responsible for keeping the head positioned properly on the neck. However, if any type of trauma has impacted the head or neck, these bones can easily become misaligned. This means that the head is not sitting evenly on the neck, causing the spine to shift and move to compensate for this problem. This is referred to as righting reflex. It is the body’s way of keeping the eyes level with the horizon line and this helps keep the body in proper balance. As the spine moves and shifts the weight of the heavy head (weighing up to 14 pounds), nerves, and muscles become irritated and pinched. This can lead to various kinds of back pain and related disorders.
We examine our patients to see if they have a misalignment. It can be as small as ¼ of a millimeter and still wreak havoc on the entire body. We then use a gentle method that is scientific in origin to help the neck bones move back into place without popping or cracking the spine. Once this is corrected, the body can then begin to heal itself from the damage that was inflicted with the misalignment. As the body begins to heal and inflammation calms down, many people see an improvement in or even an end to back pain.
To schedule a free consultation with Gilbert Wellness Center call 515-278-0456