A common question that we receive about Chiropractic BioPhysics® is, “does back pain always mean I have a misalignment in my spine?” Back pain can mean a multitude of different things, which is why when it comes to Chiropractic BioPhysics®, our trained and certified doctors take great care to ensure that all of the symptoms you may be experiencing are taken into consideration. All Chiropractic BioPhysics® protocols are completely personalized for the individual, which means your symptoms will never be generalized or ignored. While everyone’s reason for back pain can be different, there are still some common patterns that we see over and over in patients with back pain. Read on to discover why you may have back pain and if back pain always means that you have a spinal misalignment.
First and foremost – what does back pain feel like, and do I have chronic back pain?
Back pain often feels different to different people. The way that back pain manifests in your body, and how it feels, can tell us a lot about what is going on. For example, if back pain is sharp, there’s a high chance that a nerve is inflamed. If the back pain is a dull ache, this can indicate muscle weakness. Back pain that feels like numbness or tingling can be a sign of crushed or severed nerves.
It’s important to identify what your pain feels like. So, if you have back pain, ask yourself these questions: Do I have numbness or tingling? Do I have sharp pain? Do I have a loss of mobility or feeling in my arms, legs, or extremities? How long have I had pain? Has my pain changed location in my body? Have the symptoms of my pain and discomfort changed over the years?
Pain is considered chronic when it continues for longer than six months. For many people, they have been suffering with chronic back pain much longer than that. Some of our patients have been in pain on and off for decades, or can trace the start of their pain back to an injury that happened years ago. In some cases, patients have told me they can’t remember when their back pain started, or a time when they didn’t have it.
Back pain is incredibly common and normal, so if you’ve identified that you have chronic back pain, don’t feel alone. You are amongst millions of people across the world who suffer from back pain either because of an injury or accident, lifestyle and posture, or a genetic predisposition. The great news is that chiropractic care has also helped countless people treat, and in some cases completely resolve, their back pain. Let’s find out what chiropractic care can do for you.
Back Pain After an Injury or Accident
One of the most common ways that back pain arises is after an injury or accident. Car accidents are one of the leading precipitating events that our patients describe as the beginning of their back pain. Why do car accidents cause back pain? Because car accidents create a unique opportunity to cause damage to the spine, muscles, and nerves.
Some scientists believe that minor accidents in which the cars aren’t damaged can cause much more damage than we suspect to the human body, as cars are designed to crumple on impact in order to absorb force. When two cars collide like bumper cars, even if everyone walks away without visible injuries, there is likely still damage to both people’s spine. Why?
Let’s use a rear end collision as an example. During a rear end collision—even a minor one—the force of the vehicle making impact is absorbed by the car and the person inside the car. The bones and joints of the spine are most commonly affected, given that they serve as the structure or frame of the body, and impact has the heaviest effect on rigid structures. As the body receives the impact in a car accident, it’s common for a whiplash effect to occur. This is when the neck is thrust back and forth on the neck, yanking the cervical spine and joints from one direction to another.
Pain in the neck after accidents is commonly thought of as stress or tension, or even soreness, but it can often translate into long-term effects from whiplash, the pain and soreness of which can last years.
Car accidents aren’t the only reason for back pain. Falls, especially off of ladders or down stairs, can result in chronic back pain. Ultimately, any type of injury that forces impact onto the bones and joints can lead to back pain and neck pain.
Impact Leads to Subluxation (Misalignment)
The reason why injuries and accidents are one of the leading causes of chronic back pain is because impact from injuries and accidents can lead to subluxation, which is commonly known as spinal misalignment.
After a fall, a collision, a tear, or overwork, the joints of the spine can shift out of their natural alignment. This leads to all kinds of negative symptoms, but most commonly, pain. Joints that are out of alignment commonly crush nearby nerves, which releases signals of distress like sharp pain, numbness, tingling, and aching pain throughout the body. Even non-localized pain can be the result of spinal misalignment, as nerves near the spine reach even to the extremities of the body like the fingers and toes.
Back Pain Due to Lifestyle
While it can be difficult to believe, most of our lifestyles lead to back pain. Whether you’re incredibly active and fit or lead a primarily sedentary lifestyle, both ways of life leave you equally at risk of developing back pain. Why?
Back Pain from an Active Lifestyle
Back pain from an active lifestyle is very common, and while it can often be masked for longer than a sedentary lifestyle due to muscle development, some of our most active patients sought care first because of back pain.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior who trains for triathlons in your free time, or someone who makes a point of getting in their steps, jog, or HIIT workout every day, you’re at risk for back pain. This is because there is no form of exercise that doesn’t affect the alignment of your spine, no matter how precise your form is or how much care you take to protect your body. Simply moving is a risk factor for creating misalignment in the spine. Add in weights, pounding the pavement, or long-hold yoga poses, and it’s a recipe for misalignment.
Additionally, most people’s spines are misaligned long before they even pick up physical exercise and activity. Misalignment can often be traced back to childhood and early lifestyle, which means that most of us are living with misalignment that is only waiting to be exacerbated by other activity.
For our patients with an active lifestyle, we recommend coming in and treating your back pain, or simply coming in for preventative care, as soon as possible. Developed muscles in the body from regular physical activity can often mask back pain, but can make you more likely to experience injury or increase your recovery time without fully understanding why. Chiropractic care can help correct misalignment from an active lifestyle, and help ensure that you have plenty of support to continue your activity for years to come.
Back Pain from a Sedentary Lifestyle
Another common reason for back pain is due to a sedentary lifestyle. Our patients who work in an office, at a desk, or from an at-home business typically complain about being plagued by back pain. This is because a sedentary lifestyle can worsen pre-existing misalignment, or actually cause new misalignment.
Gravity is always pushing our bodies toward the core of the earth. When we’re seated or standing in a stationary position for most of the day, gravity exudes subtle force on our bones and joints. If we’re not standing in ideal alignment, with our ears over our shoulders, our shoulders over our hips, and our hips over our knees and ankles, we’re going to slowly misalign our spines.
Chiropractic care is invaluable for helping those with a sedentary lifestyle restore alignment in their spine and reduce (or eliminate) back pain. In some cases, we’ve seen our patients with sedentary lifestyles hold their alignment very successfully, because they retrain their body into better posture and work with gravity, instead of against it.
We recommend that our patients with sedentary lifestyles come in for treatment to not only resolve their misalignment and chronic back pain, but to learn how to sit and stand properly. This can be a wonderful way to ensure that your body is protected in the long-term, and keep you pain-free and ready to take on anything that life throws your way.
Find a Chiropractic BioPhysics® Doctor Near You
When you’re ready to experience Chiropractic BioPhysics®, our certified doctors are standing by, ready to treat you. Our expert team focuses on treating each patient as an individual, getting to the root of your unique symptoms and learning all about your lifestyle and challenges. Our rigorous certification process prepares our doctors to treat chronic back pain, neck pain, and other conditions that can take a toll on your quality of life. To get started living to the fullest with Chiropractic BioPhysics®, visit our directory today.