The human spine is made up of small bones called vertebra. The vertebra are stacked on top of each other to form a column. Between each vertebra is a cushion known as a disc. These disc are there to support the stress you put on your body. The vertebra are held together by ligaments, and tendons attach muscles to the vertebra. The neck supports the weight of your head and the lower part of the spine holds most of the body's weight. Even a minor problem with the bones, muscles, ligaments, or tendons in these areas can cause pain when a person stands, bends, or moves around.
If you're experiencing back pain, you are not alone. Eight out of ten adults will have lower back pain during their lifetime. And most will have more than one episode of acute low back pain. Next to the common cold, back pain is the second most noted reason for missed work in the U.S. Common causes for back pain include poor muscle tone in the back, muscle tension or spasms, back sprains, ligament or muscle tears, joint problems, or a combination of these factors. Sometimes nerves from the spinal cord can be irritated or pinched due to a disc being compressed. This may cause numbness, weakenss, or tingling in the arms or legs. People who are in poor physical condition or do work that includes heavy labor or long periods of sitting or standing are at greater risk for low back problems. These people also get better more slowly. Emotional stress or long periods or inactivity may make back symptoms seem worse.
If your pain is minor, you may get relief from over the counter medications such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen, along with rest and applying a cold pack to the affected area. However, if your symptoms are severe, keep you from performing your daily activities, and do not subside within a few days, you will need to seek professional care. If you don't tolerate strong pain medication or have numerous side affects associated with prescription medications and want a natural alternative for treating your symptoms, chiropractic may be right for you.
Getting Relief from Neck & Back Pain with Natural Healing
Chiropractic is the most popular, drug-free healthcare in the world. Modern Chiropractic, discovered in 1895 by Dr. D.D. Palmer, is a system which helps release serious stresses from the body, known as subluxations. A subluxation is a tiny distortion in your spinal stucture that can effect your nerves, muscles, energy, brain functions, internal organs, disc, bones, tendons, ligaments, posture, and overall health. Stress is the cause of subluxations, for example, physical stress such as poor posture, accidents, sitting or standing for prolonged periods in the same position, and other physical traumas.
Chiropractic focuses on the problem and enhancement of your body vs. only focusing on the treatment of symptoms. Your chiropractor will help you get relief from your pain, discomfort, and other symptoms by performing a spinal manipulation, a method of using the hands to apply force to the back to adjust the vertebra of the spine, which helps to correct the subluxations. Other treatments which can be performed in conjunction with the spinal manipulations are traction therapy, massage, soft tissue therapy and acunpunture-all which are proven to help aid the healing process. By releasing the stresses of the body, your chiropractor will help to increase the function of your brain, strengthen you immune systems defense abilities, and improve your energy level. Through the use of the spinal manipulation, your chiropractor will help activate your body's natural healing abilities, allowing your body to function at its best.
Until you feel better, your chiropractic physician may recommend some changes in your daily activities to help facilitate a speedy recovery. When dealing with severe back pain, you should avoid: heavy lifting, lifting when twisting, bending forward, and reaching, and sitting for long periods of time. You should rest your body from activities which can cause physical stress including heavy cardio exercise and lifting weights. However good these may be for you, they are not recommended while under care. A gradual return to normal activities and exercise will be recommended, but the most important goal is for you to return to your normal activites as it is safe.
The best way to prevent neck and back problems is to stay fit. Through proper diet, exercise, healthcare and awareness, you can help to maintain overall health and avoid unneccasary stresses which could lead to injuries.
A balanced diet will keep your body functioning correctly and improve your health. Healthy eating begins with learning how to eat smart. Your food choices can reduce your risk of illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, as well as defend against depression. Additionally, learning the habits of healthy eating can boost your energy, sharpen your memory and stabilize your mood. Eating organic foods and avoiding processed items, as well as proper hydration can help lead to a satisfying, healthy diet.
A regular exercise routine is key to maintaining proper back and neck posture and support. There are many exercises that can be done to condition the muscles of your body and back which helps provide much needed support to the spine. Cardio exercise along with a weight lifting and stretching routine are highly recommended and adds to your general health. Remember, you should consult your physician about the exercises that would be best for you after recovering from a previous injury.
Maintaining proper healthcare is important. It is highly recommended to consult your physician for a yearly check-up, as well as, going to your chiropractic physician for a monthly maintenance visit. Doing so, even when feeling well, will help to correct small misalignments which can slowly build over time and develop into a serious injury later on.
Be aware of your daily routine and the stresses that can be caused from it as well as your family history and your own previous injuries. For many of us, our daily routine can consist of sitting, standing, or driving for extended periods, heavy labor and lifting, and even emotional stress. Over time, these actions can wear on your body, weakening it, and increasing your susceptibility to injury. Here are a few key points to follow daily in order to prevent injury: keep all lifted objects close to your body; use a chair with good lower back support and stretch as often as possible when sitting for long periods; alternate resting one foot on a low stool when standing for long periods; use a pillow behind the small of your back and stop often to walk a few minutes if driving for an extended period; and sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees or sleep on your side with your knees bent and a pillow between them.
Are you or someone you know suffering from neck or back pain? Contact Dr. Seyoung Kim located at 5583 NW Expressway in Oklahoma City at 405-773-3131 or visit www.kimchiropractic.com for more information.
*Article written by Dr. Seyoung Kim for BragBook Magazine-Issue 6: Spring 2012.