Back pain is one of the most commonly heard complaints by physicians. Back pain occurs as the result of overuse, strain, and poor posture. Usually the pain comes from the muscles ligaments and joints and not from the spine. There are many causes for back pain including problems with the bony lumbar spine, issues with the discs that are located between the vertebrae, or the cause can be seen in the ligaments around the spine and discs, or the spinal cord itself and the nerves and muscles of the lower back. The internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen are also examined for possible cause. Pains in the upper back can be attributed to major blood vessel disorders, chest tumors, and inflammation of the spine as well as the usual cause of muscular or joint problems.
Your spine is the most important structure of the body because of its role in supporting the arms, head, legs, and pelvis. If you experience a problem with the spine you may experience the symptom in the form of pain in any of the supporting parts of the body. If you experience pain in any part of your body that has an unexplained origin, the cause may just be found in the spine.
There are numerous causes of back pain, the most common are arthritis, muscle or ligament strains, osteoporosis, sciatica, stress and lifestyle factors such as lack of exercise, being overweight, a sedentary life, poor posture, bad work habits, and stress.
Weak muscles and ligaments may be unprepared for sudden, heavy or unusual activity put upon them causing injury. Osteoporosis can cause vertebral fracture caused by the thinning of bone. Stress can cause muscle tension, which can then lead to fatiguing of tissues, causing the pain. Persistent tight muscles can cause postural imbalances that can then lead to structural changes throughout the body like a domino effect.
Lifestyle factors are the most common cause for back pain. When we do not exercise enough, gain excessive weight, or lead a sedentary life or if we have poor posture, bad work practices or encounter stress we can suffer back pain. Osteopaths will first rule out any serious medical problem than address the cause and effect of the cause on all body parts.
Lower back pain is more common than upper back pain. Those that suffer from upper back pain can experience the pain anywhere between the lower back and the neck. Causes for upper back pain can be poor posture, overuse of muscles, or an injury to the upper back. Sometimes we are injured because of poor carrying postures, bending, throwing, or twisting incorrectly. If we cough or sneeze vigorously we can also experience upper back pain. Did you know that prolonged sitting could also cause upper back pain from the reduced blood flow to muscles from the reduced movements as we sit all day? When the muscles lack blood flow they begin to tighten and feel like rope.
Persistent upper back pain can also signal more serious situations such as heart disease, rib fracture and pain caused by digestive organs being in distress.
Osteopaths can screen for these serious medical conditions and refer you for additional tests as needed.
In order to treat back pain, the osteopath will first examine, then diagnose, and finally treat the patient using different manual techniques that are individually tailored for the particular back issues of presented by the patient.
Lastly, the osteopath will give advice as to how to reduce the risk of the back pain returning by suggesting an ergonomic assessment of your work station, or home seating situation and give you advice regarding your posture that may also benefit you.
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