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Understanding Back Pain

find a DoctorBack pain is experienced by millions of people annually, and it is caused by a wide range of different reasons. Many people think it is simply caused by old age or a weak body, but, in reality, those are only a fraction of the amount of issues that cause back pain. With some, back problem are hereditary or are born with it. With others, these pains come from activities and strenuous actions that a person chooses to make, ultimately risking their body and having to deal with such issues.

What are the Causes of Back Pain?

There are four main factors that cause severe back pain. Aging plays a massive role in back problems due to the body naturally deteriorating after time. This causes problems, such as Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), and breaks down cartilage, potentially causing bulging discs and damaged nerves. Aging is part of life and there is no real cure for back pains caused by aging. However, there are therapeutic and non-invasive ways to relieve that pain and feel more comfortable.

Injuries are another reason for back pain. Many times athletes, manual labor workers, and other people who tend to be overly active injure themselves more easily than those who are less active. Injuries to the spine can cause lingering, chronic back pain, and, often times, surgery might be recommended.

Spinal pain is also caused by hereditary or acquired conditions. Some people are born with diseases such as scoliosis or hereditary arthritis. Conversely, some women endure severe back and neck pain during their 9 month pregnancy. Many of these issues cause fractures and sprains in the spinal column that lead to both acute and chronic back and neck pain.

Finally, one of the least causes for back pains is tumors and infections. While tumors and infections can cause back pain, it is very uncommon, but can still affect a person by causing inflammation by “suffocating” or tightening the disc or vertebra, resulting in a restriction of movement.

How is Back Pain Treated?

Back pain treatments differ depending on the location of the focal point of the pain. Massages, heat pads, and nuerostimulation (stimulating the nerves) can release tension and relax muscles, temporarily easing pain. Other treatments include injections of steroids, muscle relaxers, and light exercise. In any case, consult a physician at the start of back pain, as it’s residual effects can be costly, both physically and financially, if it is not immediately taken care of.

 

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Posture and Neck Pain

Chronic neck pain is a miserable experience. Although some cases of neck pain are caused by an injury, many are simply due to poor posture. Poor posture stresses the muscles of the neck and can cause muscle spasms, stiffness and pain. Over time, the stresses of poor posture on the neck can cause degenerative diseases to develop in the discs and bones of the neck. Forward head A very commonly seen posture that puts a lot of strain on the neck is the forward head. The individual habitually thrusts the head forward, carrying it out in front of the shoulders. In this position, the weight of the head is constantly pulling on the spine and the shoulders. Sitting for hours hunched over a desk or a computer is a common cause of forward head. Many people with this habitual forward head carriage suffer from sore shoulders as well as a sore neck. Over time, the vertebrae at the base of the neck (C5 and C6) can develop painful degenerative conditions due to the constant weight of the head pulling on them in the forward head posture. Correct posture A correct posture is one that keeps the spine in alignment. Some people call it a neutral or balanced posture. One exercise to encourage a neutral posture is to focus on opening the chest wide as you try to squeeze your shoulder blades together. Once your chest is open, bring your head into alignment. Think of a string pulling up the top of your head and lengthening the neck. When you do this, your chin will tuck in and your head will naturally shift into proper alignment with your spine. Do the open chest/ string exercise multiple times a day. Other exercises to build better posture are head nods and chin tucks. To do a head nod, slowly nod your head slightly up and down without moving your neck. To do chin tucks, tip your nose down toward the ground and move the top of your head backwards. Repeat head nods and chin tucks several times a day. These exercises strengthen the muscles on the front of the neck. Individuals with habitual forward head posture usually have very weak muscles in the front of the neck. If you've worked hard at correcting your posture and you are still suffering from neck pain, why not give us a call?


Note: The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither BPF Specialty Hospital, or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.