What causes back pain?
Low back pain is really common. So common that most people will suffer one or more episodes of back pain in their lives. Sometimes it starts suddenly and gets better quickly and there is no need for treatment. Sometimes, however, it can very painful, debilitating and persistent.
Unfortunately, some people suffer more than one episode. Sometimes you’ll know how it started. Sometimes though, it’ll just come on gradually from poor posture or awkward working positions.
Your spine is one of the strongest parts of your body. It is made up of bony vertebrae, connected by discs that act as shock absorbers and allow flexibility. Your back is then reinforced by strong ligaments and surrounded by powerful muscles for support. It’s actually surprisingly difficult to damage your spine!
What types of back pain are there?
There are many different types of back pain. It’s not just one type fits all. The key to getting the right type of treatment is finding out which type you have and seek advice if it isn’t improving.
Most people have what we call “mechanical” back pain. The pain is not caused by any serious underlying condition and there are no trapped nerves. We don’t always know exactly which structure causes the pain because it can be the muscles or joints. This is the type of back pain that’s more likely to be caused by poor posture, prolonged sitting (particularly in an uncomfortable position) or muscular tension due to stress.
I’m not a fan of this term but as we age, we are more prone to wear and tear that may also contribute to back pain.
Although it can be very painful, back pain only very rarely has a serious underlying cause. Seeing a qualified Chiropractor, who is experienced in diagnosing conditions of the back and spine, can help get to the bottom of your back pain and treat it. A Chiropractor can also identify if you need a referral or specialist investigations.
What are the symptoms of back pain?
Low back pain refers to pain anywhere from the shoulder blades, on one or both sides, down through the waist, into the buttocks and down the back and/ or front of both legs. It can sometimes spread as far as the lower legs and feet. It can range from "back spasms" or sharp pain to a dull ache and can be constant or intermittent with certain activities.
What are the treatments for back pain?
Acute and chronic refers to the length of time you've had your back pain.
Acute and chronic low back pain respond well to spinal manipulation or mobilisation.
Massage is an effective treatment choice for chronic low back pain.