Back Pain Causes.
What are the Main Category Causes of Your Back Pain?The correct diagnosis of your back pain causes will result in the correct choice of treatment - and often help you to avoid more extreme measures such as spinal surgery.
Also, correctly identifying back pain causes is vital to the long term resolution of the problem, and your doctor or Physiotherapist to help you figure out all of your symptoms and their underlying causes.
This correct diagnosis will result in the proper choice of back pain treatment - and often help you to avoid more extreme measures such as back surgery.
In my experience, I typically come across 5 different causes of back pain - and now we will examine each one carefully to better understand the effect of each cause on your symptoms. As a result, this will determine the correct course of back pain treatment.
The 5 types of back pain causes are: Poor posture; an Injury or accident; Stress (I'm coming across this one more and more); Ageing; an underlying Medical condition.
It is important to remember that pain is the bodys way of telling you that something is wrong. You may not remember injuring your back, but your back ALWAYS remembers being injured.
More often than not, the underlying problem has been present for some time before any pain evolves, or the problem is aggravated by a stressful movement or situation resulting in pain. I like to explain this phenomenon to my clients using the analogy of a pair of tight jeans.
These jeans may have been tight from the day you buy them, or at least for some time, but one day a hole appears in a seam somewhere. The tightness has been there all along but the puncture, or pain, only evolves after some time wearing the jeans.
The body commonly has tightness LONG before the pain (tear) arises.
As I stated at the beginning, in my experience there are five primary causes of mechanical back pain:
Lets examine how each of these five factors causes back pain.
Each part of your body was designed to be in a specific position. However, even if we start off with perfect posture, modern day living and the requirements of our work environments often work against us and bring about a poor posture. Over time this poor posture weakens the mechanical set up of the body which, when put under stress, may breakdown and the result will be pain. The problems I see most are a result of poor sitting posture, standing posture and working postures (especially what I call computer posture). However, a small adjustment in your posture often eliminates associated back and neck pain. It is ALWAYS important to learn and maintain a good posture.
2. Injuries and accidents:
Overuse of muscles and joints in an inefficient movement pattern can cause back and neck pain. This is due to excess strain being placed on one muscle group due to an imbalance in the performance between muscle groups. This eventually leads to muscle and joint damage. I often see this brought abour by poor lifting technique in the workplace, or simply through poor sitting posture while working at a computer. When it comes to accidents - the cause is pretty evident - everything from sports-related injuries to fractures caused by falls and car/bike accidents. Whiplash in the neck and upper spine is one area that can cause quite a lot of pain further down the line if not treated correctly from the outset.
Just as your personality responds to stress in many ways so does your body. The initial reaction of your body to stress is to tighten. When the muscles of your body tighten this has a knockon tightening effect on the nerves, ligaments and the joint to which those muscles attach. This can cause pain and pressure on the organs that the tight muscle surrounds which often results in poor function of the organ. If this continues for any length of time then your bodily health can be compromised in many ways. Despite what we may think, muscles dont forget or let go of stress easily and I often find that a client's injury I am dealing with is the result of very old stress.
The single most common underlying cause of back and neck pain I see is the wear and tear associated with aging. People are often advised that there is no treatment available to deal with aging-associated pain however, this is not true. The pain relief that treatment can bring often leaves patients astonished and wondering why they have put up with their discomfort for so long!
It is certainly true that ligaments get thicker and joints and discs "dry out" with age and this process can result in the nerves and muscles around the spine being affected. This may result in pain, numbness, pins and needles and weakness. The most common age related conditions I treat are trapped nerves or degenerative disc diseases such as spinal stenosis. A trapped nerve can result in pain far away from the spine, often down the hip and legs - commonly referred to as sciatica. This very painful condition responds excellently to appropriate treatment.
5. Medical conditions:
On a daily basis I treat rheumatoid arthritis and Osteo-arthritis, Spondyolisthesis, Scoliosis, and osteoporosis. These physiological conditions can be helped and managed well with physiotherapy treatment.
These represent the majority of back pain causes that I see in my clinic on a daily basis.
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