News For Health
Does Back Pain Go Away on Its Own?
Eighty percent of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor's office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic, i.e., not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture, or cancer.
What Causes Back Pain?
The back is a complicated structure of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of which can lead to back pain. While sports injuries or accidents can cause back pain, sometimes the simplest of movements-for example, picking up a pencil from the floor-can have painful results. In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain. Back pain can also directly result from disease of the internal organs, such as kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots, or bone loss.
Back injuries are a part of everyday life, and the spine is quite good at dealing with these often "pulled" muscles. These very minor injuries usually heal within 1 or 2 days. Some pain, however, continues. 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 a painful injury or disease changes the way the pain signals are sent through the body, and, even after the problem has gone away or is inactive, the pain signals still reach the brain. It is as if the pain develops a memory that keeps being replayed.
Will Back Pain Go Away on Its Own?
Until recently, researchers believed that back pain will "heal" on its own. We have learned, however, that this is not true. A recent study showed that when back pain is not treated, it may go away temporarily but will most likely return. The study demonstrated that in more than 33% of the people who experience low-back pain, the pain lasts for more than 30 days. Only 9% of the people who had low-back pain for more than 30 days were pain free 5 years later.1 Another study looked at all of the available research on the natural history of low-back pain. The results showed that when it is ignored, back pain does not go away on its own.2 Those studies demonstrate that low-back pain continues to affect people for long periods after it first begins.
What Can I Do to Prevent Long-Term Back Pain?
If your back pain is not resolving quickly, visit your doctor of chiropractic. Your pain will often result from mechanical problems that your doctor of chiropractic can address. Many chiropractic patients with relatively long-lasting or recurring back pain feel improvement shortly after starting chiropractic treatment.3 The relief they feel after a month of treatment is often greater than after seeing a family physician.4
Chiropractic spinal manipulation is a safe and effective spine pain treatment. It reduces pain, decreases medication, rapidly advances physical therapy, and requires very few passive forms of treatment, such as bed rest.5
How Can I Prevent Back Pain?
What Should I Tell My Doctor of Chiropractic?
Before any treatment session, tell your doctor of chiropractic if you experience any of the following:
Stop Dreaming About Quality Sleep and Do Something!
An old Chinese proverb states, "Only when one cannot sleep does one know how long the night is." Anyone who's ever experienced an occasional bout with insomnia-and that's most of us-can relate to this all too well.
In fact, surveys have shown that between 40 and 60 percent of the general population has trouble sleeping. Daily stress and worries, pressures from job and family, body aches and pains caused by uncomfortable beds or pillows, and a host of other issues can keep a person from getting enough quality sleep.
Sleep is critical to good health and functioning, so lack of it is a serious matter. "Sleep is one of the most important functions of the brain." Through it, our bodies recharge and renew for the next day's challenges.
As wellness experts, doctors of chiropractic can provide patients with a different approach to their sleeping problems-without the use of sleeping pills, which leave many people in a mental haze the next morning. To start, here are a few helpful tips they would recommend for the sleepless in Seattle (or any city, for that matter):
Creating a comfortable place to sleep by choosing the correct mattress and pillow is also essential to getting the quality sleep that your body needs to function at its best.
A mattress, for instance, should support the body's weight evenly and allow the spine to stay in its natural alignment. Choosing the right one is a personal matter. "There are a wide variety of comfort preferences. It's very subjective." Give your mattress a good trial run before you buy it. We recommend lying down on a mattress for a minimum of three to five minutes to get a good feel. Sitting on it simply won't do.
Useful mattress facts...
Next, pillow talk...After investing in a quality mattress, don't forget to choose an equally supportive pillow. "People will spend thousands of dollars on a mattress and then skimp on a pillow that doesn't support their head and neck properly." A good pillow will keep the cervical (neck) section of the spine aligned with the thoracic and lumbar (chest and lower back) sections. "[The sections] move together and should be supported together."
Chiropractic Care Can Help... If you continue to experience pain and discomfort at night or have difficulty falling asleep, visit your doctor of chiropractic. Doctors of chiropractic are trained to treat spinal problems that can interfere with a restful night's sleep. They can also offer nutritional and ergonomic advice that can help improve the quality of your sleep.
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