Back pain is, sadly, one of humanity’s great shared experiences.
It’s incredibly commonplace and although it may be rather more prevalent in some cultures than others, it’s nevertheless found around the globe.
It’s probably fair to say that medical scientists don’t always fully agree on the percentages of back troubles that are attributable to this category. Even so, it has been said that humanity’s socio-behavioural changes over the relatively recent (in evolutionary terms) past seem to have run a bit faster than true evolutionary biology could keep up!
Many respected experts point out that our spinal column simply isn’t optimally designed for walking and working upright all the time. In fact, many would argue that our spine still shows evidence of the time when we used front limbs to help us when walking and running – the way many apes do today.
While that may all be true, it doesn’t mean we should all start sort of ‘shuffling’ around with a stooped back! What it does indicate though is that our back is rather more susceptible to injury and its associated pain than we’d ideally like.
The clear message is that it’s important to protect and generally ‘take care’ of your back.
Accidents can, of course, inflict injury on our backs.
In the vast majority of cases, such injuries are relatively minor and usually affect elements of our musculature. In everyday language that’s often called “twisting our back” or perhaps “pulling a muscle“.
These injuries can also be very painful and debilitating but with painkillers and anti-inflammatories they can often be managed. Sometimes surgical intervention may be required to assist and as part of the recovery to full mobility and heath, physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment may be required.
At times, an injury may directly affect elements of our spinal column itself. Any such injury is usually regarded as serious or potentially so and surgery combined with drug treatments might be necessary.
A very significant amount of back pain arises from a class of problems generically related to our posture.
This touches on the first point above. Today we live lives that put stresses onto our skeletal structure, notably our back and neck, which they were never designed by evolution to handle.
A good example is the numerous hours many of us spend sitting down hunched over a desk and PC screen. Nature just didn’t see that one coming and as a result, our backs can start to object – painfully so. Our musculature and the underlying spine can start to deform and adopt positions that are unhealthy and likely to generate pain.
Chiropractic treatments can prove very beneficial to many patients here. They may help to relax and re-set tired and misaligned muscles and joints etc.
It’s worth noting that back pain can be exceptionally difficult for doctors to diagnose precisely in causal terms. Many patients are unhappy at taking analgesic drugs ad-infinitum and particularly in the absence of a known cause. Such patients may find the manipulations of chiropractors beneficial in pain relief.
Another major cause of back pain arises from our lifestyle choices.
The nature of our posture while we work might not be something we can easily control, even with ergonomic office design. However, we can control things such as:
- Our lack of exercise / sedentary lifesty
- Over consumption of alcohol and smoking
- Our diet
- Stress (both psychological and physical – for example, putting too much lifting stress on our backs while working).
Chiropractors and general practitioners have known for years that many of these factors can be hugely and negatively influential on the health of our back as well as say our cardio-vascular system. For example, muscles under emotional stress situations can become unhealthily taut and ripe for problems.
That’s why prevention is stressed today. Many chiropractors will offer an initial examination to help you understand the health of your spine and surrounding musculature plus what you can do to improve things.