Your back is an incredible member of your body’s team. It is load-bearing while remaining flexible, supporting and even protecting the rest of your body’s systems. The central nature of your back leaves it vulnerable to injury, and it is also the reason back pain is so debilitating. Back pain may leave you struggling to get a breath or even radiate down through your arms and legs. Whether it is burning pain in the upper back or stiffness or spasming in the muscles around the spine, back pain is a beast.
If you suffer from chronic or sudden onset back pain, reach out to our chiropractors at Utah Sports and Wellness in Millcreek. Our team is trained to find the best solution for your relief.
Where Is It?
Because the back is such a large part of the body and can be the site of many different injuries and conditions, it is imperative to properly target the source of back pain before it can be treated.
Though the neck is not part of the back, back pain may stem from injury to the neck. Damage to the cervical spine can radiate down the rest of the spine. If you know of a neck injury that may be contributing to your back pain, let your chiropractor know.
The upper back, the thoracic section of the spine, is more rigid than the lumbar, so the frequency of injury—and subsequently of back pain—is lower. It supports and is supported by the ribcage.
The lower back, or lumbar spine, is the site of most back problems. Damage to the spine itself or to the muscles that support it result in many different conditions that lead to back pain.
Causes of Back Pain
Lack of flexibility or core strength, lifting improperly, instability, and weakness are all physical limitations that can lead to back pain. Fractures and disc problems are more serious causes that should be addressed right away. Our chiropractors can help with general back pain and more specific causes.
In the face of trauma, such as a fall or vehicular accident, the ribs protecting your vital organs can be broken. If the bone is only cracked and not broken into pieces, the break is referred to as a fracture. Rib fractures can cause serious chest and back pain depending on where the fracture occurs, and the pain is generally worse with twisting or bending. Manual spinal adjustments can help correct misalignment caused by trauma to the ribs.
Leg Length Discrepancy (LLD)
Fractional differences in leg length are common in nearly a third of the population, but when the difference between the right and left leg is more significant, it can lead to limping, limited performance, and hip and back pain as the body tries to adjust to the imbalance caused by legs of nonuniform length. LLD can be congenital or the result of injury.
The pars interarticularis is a thin section of a vertebra that connects it to the upper and lower facet joints. When put under excessive stress, the pars interarticularis can fracture and even separate. This allows the damaged vertebra to shift out of place. The separating of the pars interarticularis is called spondylolisthesis, and it is common in periods of growth spurt.
Sometimes spondylolisthesis does not develop obvious symptoms, but when it does, the most common symptom is back pain. Worsened by activity, spondylolisthesis pain feels like strained muscles and can branch down the back of the thighs. Muscle spasms, stiffness, and weakness may also manifest. Spondylolisthesis can be treated with rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the core and bracing to stabilize the spine.
Your chiropractor will look at your medical history as well as do some physical assessments to determine the cause of your back pain. This may include small tests to see how well you can walk, lift your legs, and stand. In some cases, diagnostic imaging may be required to make sure that pain is not stemming from bigger concerns like bone or disc damage.
Prolonged pain, especially back pain that does not resolve with rest, should lead to care. Our chiropractors will work with you with a combination of holistic treatments, which may include rehabilitation methods (exercises and stretches to build strength and flexibility), traction and spinal decompression to relieve stress off the spine, and laser therapy for targeted healing. There is no silver bullet to completely avoid back pain. Regular chiropractic care can help keep your spine in line and minimize risk factors for back pain.