How to Not Let Back Pain Ruin Your Day-to-Day Life
Constant and nagging back pain can start out as simply irritating but will slowly encroach and affect all realms of your life. When our bodies are not feeling at their best it shows in our mood, our ability to concentrate and our stress levels. It makes simple tasks increasingly more difficult, causing you to rely on others to complete everyday chores. Do you want to go back to being able to lift your own grocery bags and painlessly sit for longer than a few minutes at a time? If so, it may be time to address that back pain that you have been complaining about.
Back Injuries are Common
You are not alone — many people injure their backs doing a number of different things every single year. Even the fittest and health-conscious people are still at risk for injury. In fact, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) found that about 31 million Americans are experiencing lower back pain at any given time.
The ACA report also states:
- Half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.
- Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. It is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office.
- As many as up to 85 percent of the population will experience back problems within their lives. In most cases, this pain is mechanical and is not caused by a serious medical condition, such as inflammatory arthritis, cancer or fracture.
Causes of Back Pain
Some of the causes of back pain are apparent, such as those caused by car accidents, falls or sports-related injury. However, some back pain haunts us with seemingly no rhyme or reason. Our habits over time can have a long term effect on our bodies. This includes our posture, our eating habits, and side effects from other ailments we may have.
Poor posture can be a major cause for many Americans back pain. A large percentage of Americans spend their days hunched over a computer screen. If we are feeling stressed or anxious, curl over ourselves and contort our body in unnatural ways that can have residual effects when done over long periods of time. Being overweight or obese adds strain to the spine and requires more work to hold ourselves upright.
Our eating habits can also cause inflammation or can inflame arthritis, which can also cause pain. Additionally, pain elsewhere in our bodies, such as our stomachs, kidneys, and liver, can cause us to want to slump forward in an attempt to make ourselves more comfortable. Unfortunately, this results in torque and pressure on our spines that is not healthy.
Diagnosing Back Pain
Seeing a medical professional to assess your back pain is the only sure way to diagnose the problem so that you can come up with a plan to get back to living your best life. Your doctor will evaluate the way that you sit, stand, walk and how you lift your legs. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and how your doctor feels about your assessment, one of the following tests may also be conducted to diagnose the issue:
- X-Ray- These images will show your bones and their alignment, as well as whether you have arthritis or any broken bones. However, these images are specifically for bones and will not visualize problems in your soft tissues in places such as your spinal cord, muscles, nerves or disks.
- MRI or CAT scans- These scans do visualize soft tissues, as well as bones, and can reveal herniated disks or problems with muscles, tissue, tendons, nerves, ligaments and blood vessels.
- Blood Tests- Blood tests can help identify potential infections or other conditions that may be causing you pain
- Bone Scan- It is unlikely that your doctor will order a bone scan but they can be used to issues that may arise as a result of osteoporosis such as bone tumors or compression fractures.
- Electromyography (EMG)– An EMG is a nerve study that measures the electrical impulses produced by the nerves and the responses of your muscles. This test will show if there is nerve compression caused by herniated disks or narrowing of your spinal canal.
What to Do Next
There are a number of ways to help prevent the onset of back pain and to relieve back pain that you may currently have. By being proactive you can reduce the likelihood of needing surgery and naturally strengthen your spine over time. Some, however not all, back pain issues can be managed and healed by you with the help of a medical professional. Try some of the following:
- Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
- Remain as active as your back will allow you to be without causing further damage or pain.
- Warm up or stretch before exercising or physical activities, even for simple things such as gardening or yard work.
- Avoid long periods of inactivity or the urge to fall victim to bed rest.
- Practice proper posture as often as possible. Consider getting a new desk chair that is more ergonomically correct.
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes with arch support.
- Although you have heard it before, when lifting an object, lift with your knees and not with your back.
Being informed about the causes and ways to prevent back pain may be what keep you and your spine healthy moving into the future. If you have any concerns about your back or any pain that you have been experiencing, contact Midsouth Pain Treatment Center today to schedule an appointment.
MidSouth Pain Treatment Center offers big results with a small town feel. There are no out-of-state call centers or off-site administrative teams. They are locally owned and operated with all staff members based within their Tennessee and Mississippi locations. It is their goal to make all patients and referring providers feel like family. Call to schedule an appointment today!