Nearly 80% of Americans will suffer back pain at some point in their lives. While most back pain is not dangerous, it can make life miserable. Getting on top of back pain may take time with a physical therapist or a massage therapist. Other sufferers choose chiropractic care.
Common Reasons for Back Pain
Sprains and strains are one of the most common reasons for back pain. Improper lifting, over stretching and even sleeping in an awkward position can lead to back strain. While many people believe that you must have a firm mattress if you have a bad back, it’s important to note that having a bit more cushion can be important for women. While men narrow from the shoulder to the hip, women tend to be a similar width at the hips and shoulders. For female side-sleepers with low-back pain, switching to a softer mattress can be an excellent choice.
Low Back Pain Concerns
If you have pain in the low back that radiates through the buttocks into the legs, your sciatic nerve is under pressure. Often, people with back pain choose to apply heat to get some relief from muscle spasms.
For anyone struggling with sciatic pain, it is critical that you avoid applying heat to the painful part. The first step in treating this frustrating condition is to apply ice to the site. For best benefits, ice the low back for 10-20 minutes every two hours. Take a kitchen towel and soak it in cold water. Fold the towel and lay it flat in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Freeze the bag flat so it’s cold and ready for your next round of icing. Wrap the bag in a paper towel so you don’t risk frostbite. Use a timer so you don’t fall asleep on top of the ice pack.
Sciatica can quickly become chronic without detailed care. Taking the pressure off the nerve may take several different forms of therapy. Once you get the sciatic nerve released, consider working with a physical therapist or a personal trainer so you can stabilize the musculature around the spine to reduce the risk of a future bulge.
Symptoms of Dangerous Back Issues
If you struggle with sudden back or neck pain that is paired with other symptoms, you need more than ibuprofen and some ice. For example, if you suffer from
- a fever
- loss of bowel or bladder control
- leg weakness or numbness
- uncontrollable movements of your arms or hands
- pain that can’t be reduced by shifting position
you need to seek additional medical care quickly. You may have a serious infection, be suffering a complete impingement of a sciatic nerve, or struggling with a seriously inflamed set of nerves in your upper back. This inflammation is unlikely to go away on its own.
If your job or hobbies have led you to standing stooped for extended periods of time, lifting a lot of weight without the space for proper body mechanics, or just overworking your body, you are at risk for repetitive back problems.
If you have scoliosis, you may be at greater risk of pinched nerves over time. Being out of shape increases your risk of a serious spinal problems, as does being obese. Finally, if you are at risk of osteoporosis, your spinal health is likely at risk over time.
For those who have always had a fitness routine and are losing muscle tone as they age, it’s a good idea to get some blood work done. While some loss of growth hormones is normal over time, a rapid drop in your HGH production can be an indication of a serious condition related to your endocrine system. Get your pituitary checked out if you notice a big drop in muscle tone.In case of proven HGH deficiency, combining Growth hormone therapy with Low T treatment is pretty common. Benefits of TRT include improved stamina, reduced body fat, stronger bones, etc.
In addition to getting bloodwork done to review the safety of your endocrine system, make sure you also get your bone density tested. If osteoporosis is in your future, getting started on the right medications and putting the best safety measures in place can extend your ability to live safely.
Additional testing of your spinal cord itself may also be needed. A myelogram can help your caregiving team find points of impingement and help you find the best treatment to improve your spinal health.
Treatment and Therapies
If you suffer from spinal impingements, you may be able to get relief with the help of a physical therapist. Working through the pain of a pinched nerve is generally not effective.
Chiropractic care can get you to a stable place. If your back pain is related to a specific injury or accident, a chiropractor can bring you back to proper alignment. Once you’re back in alignment, consider setting regular appointments to avoid another misalignment.
If you’re struggling with tight or spasming muscles, massage can reduce your risk of muscle cramps. Like chiropractic care, massage is most effective with regular appointments.
Once you can get moving again, consider signing up with a time with a personal trainer. They can help you stabilize an impinged space and build a program for long-term relief. Once your trainer helps you to build the right body mechanics, you may be able to find a gentle yoga or tai chi practice you can do on your own to build spinal health.
Inflammation can be quickly reduced with an injection of steroids. If you’ve torn or sprained something in your back, prolotherapy can be helpful in rebuilding damaged tissue.
While physical therapists can guide you into the best exercises to address your back problems, a kinesiotherapy professional can help you learn to move your body effectively by muscle memory. The range of motion of each exercise will be carefully observed as you learn to manage the movements from your own perspective.
A serious back injury that is impacting your bowel and bladder continence, your leg strength or your arm actions may need surgical correction. Do your best to include a consultation with a neuroscientist as well as an orthopedic doctor for best results.