Common Causes of Spinal Issues
Back pain is the most common reason for physician visits and for employee absence. The low back is most often affected, followed by neck and mid-back pain. Due to the upright anatomy of humans, the low back at the two lowest levels in the spine is most easily injured and prone to degeneration.
In some cases, people can identify the exact moment that caused the pain to start such as moving heavy furniture or slipping on a wet floor. Other times back pain builds up over time without a clear cause.
Some of the most common causes of back pain include:
- Muscle strains & sprains
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated disc
- Slipped disc
- Bulging disc
- Ruptured disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Cervical radiculopathy or a pinched nerve
- Sport injuries
- Fractured or cracked vertebra
- Torn muscle or tendon
- Scoliosis or kyphosis
- Motor vehicle accident injury
- Overuse or repetitive motion
- Lifting improperly
- Placing unusual rotation on the back
Back pain can also be caused or exacerbated by lifestyle factors such as:
- Poor posture, slouching, muscle imbalances
- Prolonged sitting or standing
- Lack of exercise
- Being overweight
- Poor diet
- Lifting heavy objects
- Carrying a heavy bag or backpack
- Wearing high heels
When back pain starts without a clear cause, it does not necessarily mean that there is no reason for the pain and it certainly doesn’t mean that you have to suffer through it in hopes of a more comfortable tomorrow.
Our experienced doctors at IPM in Evansville, IN can offer immediate improvement in some cases as well as provide medical advice, prevention techniques, and treatment for more long-term care.
Back Problems Caused by Injury
In many cases, back pain is due to microscopic injury to the ligaments or muscles or low-grade misalignment of the spine from injury or degeneration. An injury to the back may cause mild to severe or even disabling transient pain lasting from 3-7 days. Pain longer than this duration is usually associated with some other injury to bone, disc, or nerves.
If you are experiencing any back pain after a car accident or injury, an evaluation by an experienced healthcare professional is highly advised.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is most commonly experienced just lateral to the spine at the top of the bony pelvis. You may feel a dull ache or a sharp or shooting intermittent pain. Lower back pain can vary greatly in duration and severity. Pain may start suddenly, or show up gradually. Determining the cause of lower back pain helps direct an integrated treatment plan.
Middle & Upper Back Pain
Middle and upper back pain can be found anywhere from the bottom of the rib cage to the base of the neck. You may experience this as stiffness, a sharp or radiating pain, or aching or throbbing pain. You may also experience weakness, tingling, or numbness throughout the body as a result. Pain in the middle or upper back can be brought on suddenly by an injury or strain, or gradually. Sometimes the onset of pain is delayed and becomes worse over time.
Back pain treatment may include rest, heat or cold therapy, massage therapy, spinal adjustment, rehabilitation exercises, and acupuncture or dry needling. In some cases pain medication or a muscle relaxant to help resolve the pain, however, we believe that pain management is most effective and sustainable using an integrated and natural approach. At Integrated Physical Medicine we assess each patient to create an individualized treatment plan to alleviate back pain by resolving the underlying cause.
What is a Disc Herniation?
A disc is a cushion pad between the vertebral bodies. It acts as a shock reducing structure to prevent injury to bone, nerves, and muscles. This disc has a very strong outer ring called the annulus fibrosis and a central bubble-gum-like material called the annulus pulposus. A disc can be deformed by an injury, by recurrent injury or infection, or by degeneration. The disc can broadly bulge, focally protrude or extrude with injury or degeneration.
An acute disc herniation is due to a short complete tear or focal thinning of the strong outer part of the disc (annulus fibrosis) with the inner bubble gum like material protruding through this area. Pain is produced by the disc compressing adjacent nerve roots and injury to the disc. Material from the protruded disc released into adjacent spaces around the nerves produces an inflammatory reaction. A tear of the disc is like a tear or laceration anywhere in the body. Pain is produced by a tear of the outer disc ring.
Treatment for a Herniated Disc or Vertebra
Herniated discs are predominantly treated by bed rest, pain relief, medications, and time. Disc degeneration or disc disease is very common and the pain can be very severe and debilitating.
A well-trained chiropractor can usually determine the underlying cause and prescribe appropriate and effective treatment.
Back Pain Relief
IPM focuses on treating the whole patient, not just a specific injury. The goal is for patients to experience overall recovery as well as prevention and recurrence of back pain. A variety of treatment options is offered to help find back pain relief, including chiropractic care, massage, and acupuncture. Each and every one of the back pain treatments focus on removing the pain without pharmaceuticals or surgery.