Back off from pain, strain

Back off from pain, strain

Allowing your joints and muscles to move within their normal range of motion is an evidence-based recipe for beating back pain before it starts, writes Dr Prathap R Addageethala

Most of us have felt back pain at some point in time. What’s causing it, and how can you tell if your back pain is muscle or disc related? Well, there are several common causes of back pain, and the first step on your road to recovery is identifying what type of back issue you’re dealing with.

Identifying the source of your pain is critical to developing the right plan of care. Research has found that while imaging can be helpful, it isn’t required every time you experience back pain. What is extremely beneficial is having an expert assess your issue specifically. Starting with a thorough history and physical examination, a chiropractor can pinpoint your pain generator, identify the root cause, and create a complete plan of action to get you feeling better as quickly as possible. Although pain is inconvenient, and in some extreme cases even debilitating, it is a symptom of an issue that needs to be examined closely. Sometimes these issues can be resolved quickly, other times patience is required through a longer treatment plan. A couple of the most common pain generators in the spine are:

Muscle strain: Muscle strains don’t tend to occur because of a single traumatic occurrence. Instead, they usually happen due to repetitive physical stress and overuse.

Think: Constantly looking down at your phone to check how many likes your last post has received.

Herniated discs: Between each of the vertebrae of your spine, you have discs. A herniated disc is when the inside (the nucleus) of the disc pushes through the outside (the annulus fibrosus) of the disc wall. The pain you feel from a herniated disc generally comes from the disc irritating or compressing a nearby spinal nerve.

Think: When you picked up that heavy suitcase, you felt pain in your lower back, and a pressure radiating down the back of your thigh.

Spinal joint degeneration: Over time, the bones in our spine will lose their original shape and develop bony changes. We can thank gravity for that. The constant pull of gravity on our bodies causes wear and tear in the joints. This usually creates stiffness in movements over time.

Think: I’m unable to check my blindspot freely as I change lanes.

Dealing with back pain can be scary. But don’t stress! Most back pains can be taken care of without drugs or surgery.

The best way to deal with back pain is to prevent it in the first place. Allowing your joints and muscles to move within their normal range of motion is an evidence-based recipe for beating back pain before it starts.

(The author is a chiropractor.)