Back pain is estimated to affect 80% of Americans at some point in their lives. Because it is so common, many people put off taking care of their back pain, and that could be a big mistake. The joints, muscles, discs and nerves that comprise the spinal column must all work together for a healthy and happy back. And a happy back is a happy body.
Most of the nerves in the human body pass through the spine. A problem with the back could cause issues nearly anywhere else. For example, pain in the back of the knee is frequently associated with sciatica, a condition in which structures of the spine press on the sciatic nerve and send pain shooting down the back, buttocks and leg.
Avoid unnecessary pain and suffering
Other kinds of problems that cause back pain, like muscle strains and disc deformities, get worse over time if not treated. A slight bulge in a disc can be managed and its symptoms minimized with chiropractic care, but untreated can become herniated and require surgery. That’s a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering, not to mention expense.
Let’s take one example of how waiting to address your back pain can harm you. Modern humans spend much more time sitting than nature intended, a practice that compresses the spinal discs and invites poor posture that stretches some skeletal structures and compresses others. This can cause back pain that, if ignored, can flare into chronic problems that radiate into other parts of the body.
The value of chiropractic care
A visit to the chiropractor after that first twinge of pain tells a very different story. The chiropractor, over a series of adjustments can realign the spine to the position that facilitates full range of motion and best meets the needs of daily life. The chiropractor can also offer advice on sitting, standing and sleeping that reduce their negative impact on the back, neck and hips. Finally, the chiropractor will stretch the spine, which adds room between the joints, easing the compression on them.
Think of your body as a machine, which it is, in a way. If your automobile engine began to knock and ping, you could turn up the radio to drown out the noise, or you could take it to a service station. You probably understand intuitively that letting it get worse could do further damage to the car that might be irreparable. While you can get a new car; you can’t get a new back.
A healthier you
It doesn’t take many spinal adjustments for a back that was headed for chronic pain to become healthy again. But that isn’t enough. Just as you need to change your car’s oil and get it tuned up annually, and just as you visit the dentist and the eye doctor annually for teeth cleanings and eye exams, your back requires preventative maintenance, especially if you’re engaged in activities – like sitting – that aren’t conducive to spinal health.
There are numerous non-invasive treatments available for the problems that cause back pain, including massage, physical therapy, stretching, rest, heat and cold, and of course, spinal manipulation. Together or separately, these treatments can help return you to spinal health and improve your quality of life.