Maybe it starts with a twinge that grows to a low constant throb or your spine erupts in acute pain, but back pain is common ailment and most people in their lives will experience it. In fact, eighty percent of the population will be afflicted with some level of back pain in their lives. Most of these cases are not caused by serious conditions, but simply mechanical strain. The only more common reason for a visit to the doctor is an upper respiratory infection such as a cold or flu.
Back pain can because in any number of ways due to the complexity of the back’s structure. A healthy back has many bones, joints, muscles and ligaments working in concert and if any gear in the machine were to be tweaked the fluidity would end and be indicated by pain. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks and irritate joints to create back pain. These injuries can be sports related or even be developed by simply bending over at the waist and reaching to pick clothes from the floor. Arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can also cause or complicate back pain.
These sorts of injuries are common in everyday life, and for the most part the spine is able to smooth over and heal minor irritations. Usually slight muscle strains can recover within 1 or 2 days. Other injuries have more lasting effects, though. What makes some pain last longer is not entirely understood, but researchers suspect that the reasons may include stress, mood changes, and the fear of further injury that may prevent patients from being active. In addition, sometimes pain begets more pain when an injury or disease changes the way the pain signals are sent through the body. Since the spine is laden with nerves, there is a greater chance that the wiring in vicinity that can be tampered with. Even after the injury has gone away or lies dormant, the pain signals still make their way to the brain. The pain becomes imprinted into the body and persists even without a current physical injury.
Until recently it was believed that back pain would subside given time and rest, however this has been proven not to be true. A recent study discovered that while back may go away when not treated it is likely to return. The study showed that of 30% people who suffered from lower back pain, the pain has lasted more than 30 days, and of that 30% only 9% were pain free 5 years later. 1 Another study illustrates the natural history of low-back pain and shows that back pain does not go away by itself. Instead, people with this type of pain are affected continuously after it has begun.
Preventing long term back pain should be a priority. If your back pain is not resolving or is not changing, visit Dr. Samuel Charles at the Elkton Chiropractic Neurology Center. You pain most likely is a case of a mechanical problem within the spinal structure that a doctor of chiropractic is trained to address. Many people afflicted with long term or recurring back pain begin feeling improvement shortly after beginning chiropractic treatment.
1 Hestbaek L, Leboeuf-Yde C, Engberg M, Lauritzen T, Bruun NH, Manniche C. The course of low-back pain in a general population. Results from a 5-year prospective study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2003 May;26(4):213-9.