Back pain is a common problem that affects nearly 65 million Americans each year. It can result from a medical condition—like bony overgrowths in the lumbar spine—serious car accident injuries, or repetitive activity associated with one’s occupation. Luckily, there are several pain management measures you can use to help alleviate most back pain episodes, and with most of these remedies, your pain symptoms should be gone within a couple of weeks.
If your back pain isn’t responding to any pain control measures, visit your doctor to rule out any one of these three common causes of back pain.
1. Car Accident Injury
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is responsible for nearly one-third of auto accident fatalities. When combined with lane splitting, distracted driving, and drug-impaired driving, speeding is also responsible for back and neck auto collision injuries. Some potential complications that may arise from car accident injuries include whiplash, traumatic brain injury, sciatica, concussions, headaches, back injuries—vertebrae fractures, herniated disc, back strains, and sprains—and serious leg injuries.
If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, car crash recovery can leave you in severe pain. To help manage this pain, talk to your health care provider about exploring alternative pain management options such as chiropractic help. When used together with traditional medical treatment, these alternative therapies are referred to as complementary medicine.
Chiropractic care is a non-invasive procedure that helps to relieve the inflammation and swelling that comes after a traumatic injury. Through a procedure called spinal cord manipulation, the chiropractor will perform a series of realignment procedures on your back joints to help you regain your range of motion. With chiropractic care, you’ll only need a few sessions, and the best thing about this treatment plan is that there’s no prodding or poking of needles, and you don’t really need to worry about recovery time.
2. Structural Issues
Vertebrae are the bones that make up the spine. Disks are areas of tissue that cushion the space between each vertebra. Disk injuries are a fairly common cause of back pain, and when these disks swell, they can result in excruciating nerve pain. Sciatica is an example of back pain that results from a swollen or ruptured sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve travels from your back and down your leg and can cause sciatica, the sensitivity of the sciatic nerve.
Arthritis patients tend to have lower back pain, as well as pain in their joints. For most individuals living with arthritic pain, the pain felt on their lower back is often caused by bony overgrowths in the spinal canal, which press down on the spinal nerves, resulting in severe pain. A procedure known as a lumbar laminectomy or decompression surgery can be performed to ease some of the pressure felt on the spinal cord.
3. Muscle Strain
Another common cause of upper and lower back pain is strained lower back soft tissues. Some activities that cause strain to your lower back could include lifting something heavy incorrectly, lifting something heavier than you can carry, and making unexpected movements. A strained back can also be caused by over-exerting yourself. For instance, if you’re just starting at the gym, learning to play a sport, or doing strenuous physical activity like mowing the lawn, this can result in some pain.
To avoid straining your back, make it a point to stretch often, especially if you sit in front of a computer for extended periods of time. Stretching can help improve your circulation in your back muscles and reduce your likelihood of developing a back problem. Also, try to improve your posture by reminding yourself to sit upright.