Do You Have Back Pain?
Do you have back pain in Boulder? Whether it is your upper, middle, or lower back, it is likely that you will experience some form of back pain at some point in your life. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 32 million Americans are experiencing back pain at this moment and that approximately 80% of the population will experience some form of back pain in their lifetime. With these types of numbers, it’s not surprising that back pain has grown to be the #1 cause of disability in the United States. These types of statistics should stimulate concern regarding what causes lower back pain, how to prevent it, and what the best form of treatment is once it has developed. Our Boulder chiropractic team aim to use this article to guide you in the right direction to answer these questions and more.
Back Pain in Boulder
So what is the cause of back pain? The number of injuries, misalignments, and conditions that cause back pain seems endless. Due to the complex structure of the back that is required to absorb stress while permitting movement, many elements of this structure such as tendons, ligaments, discs, muscles, and bones can become irritated or damaged resulting in pain. Sometimes it is severe trauma, such as a car accident, that can result in back pain and other times it is minor repetitive stress that causes the most damage. Therefore, you may not be able to recall any particular event that caused the onset of your pain. In addition to all of these possibilities, physical injury is not always the primary cause. Conditions such as obesity, arthritis, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections have been shown to give symptoms of lower back pain. With all of these possibilities, it is important to find a doctor that takes into account all aspects of health to reach an accurate diagnosis. Fortunately, our doctors at Wolfe Functional Medicine in Boulder have many years of education and experience to determine the correct diagnosis and direct you to the most appropriate line of care. Without an accurate diagnosis and treatment, even the most minor conditions can develop into serious lifelong conditions.
As mentioned previously, there are a multitude of causes for back pain, however, some of them are more common than others. The following are some of the most common cause of lower back pain that are seen and treated at Wolfe Functional Medicine.
Disc Bulges or Herniations:
One of the most common and painful causes of back pain in Boulder is a disc bulge or herniation. It is important to recognize that not all disc bulges or herniations result in pain. It has been found through MRI studies of numerous patients that as much as 37% of the American population has a disc bulge or herniation and the vast majority of them are experiencing no pain or other related symptoms. Unfortunately, the people who are experiencing pain often describe it as severe and intense. The type of pain that is experienced due to a disc herniation depends on the type and position of the herniation. If the damaged disc is irritating a surrounding nerve, shooting pain and weakness into the legs may develop. The discomfort is often described as stabbing and lightning-like. To understand how a disc herniation develops, it is best to think of the disc as a jelly doughnut. If the outer edges of the doughnut (disc) are damaged over time, most typically from wear and tear, the jelly in the middle of the disc can escape causing damage to surrounding structures. Once this process has completed it is often very difficult to reverse. However, chiropractic care has been shown to prevent the advancement of the herniation and provide relief from the associated pain.
Subluxations are one of the most commonly overlooked contributors to back pain. Subluxation is a medical term used to basically describe a vertebra in our spine that is out of position. When these subluxations occur, normal movement is disrupted, and a cascade of events (including pain) can occur. Subluxations can occur anywhere in the spine and there are almost an unlimited amount of factors that can cause them. Causes of subluxations range from physical trauma, stress, and toxins. Just as stress can contribute to the formation of an ulcer in the gut, it can also cause physiological changes in the body that result in the vertebrae in our back becoming out of position. The time frame to correct subluxations varies by the individual, but our chiropractors at Wolfe Functional Medicine are one of the few professionals trained in their correction.
Muscular Sprains and Tendon or Ligament Strains:
Strains and sprains can occur in anyone, but they typically occur in people who begin tasks and work these structures in ways they are not used too. For example, a person who attempts to run a marathon during their first outing in the summer is likely to overwork these structures causing damage. Ligament sprains are typically caused by stretching the involved ligament past its limits, creating tears. Muscular strains are commonly caused by lifting too heavy of an object and twisting motions. Strains and sprains of the ligaments and muscles in the back can be extremely painful and is often accompanied by swelling and bruising of the surrounding area. Strains and sprains are intimately intertwined with the spine and therefore, typically respond well to chiropractic care. Our Wolfe Functional Medicine is fully equipped to provide comprehensive treatment of these injuries.
Stress and Back Pain
People who are chronically under stress have a very different physiological profile then those who are not. When our bodies are under intense stress, it releases various stress hormones to adapt to the situation. Some of the adaptive mechanisms include; an elevated heart rate, an increased blood pressure, an altered immune system, decreased bone density, and decreased muscle mass. If this response is prolonged, elevated stress levels have been shown to contribute to the development of heart disease, digestive issues, depression, obesity, and back pain. All of the tension produced by the stress hormones causes a contraction of muscle tissue that produces “trigger points”. These trigger points can be extremely painful, but thankfully they are treated with a high success rate at our Wolfe Functional Medicine.
Can Chiropractic Help my Back Pain?
When health care professionals, such as chiropractors, treat the cause of back pain rather than the symptoms, the treatment of back pain becomes less complicated. All of the above stated causes of back pain have one factor in common, misalignments of the vertebrae in the spine. Luckily, our doctors at Wolfe Functional Medicine are specially trained in their treatment. That is why multiple studies have shown chiropractic care to be the most effective form of treatment for the various causes of back pain. As with any condition, it is recommended to take a conservative, effective, and non-invasive approach to the treatment of back pain first. If you are suffering from back pain or have any further questions, please contact our Boulder chiropractic office today to schedule a consultation.
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