No one likes back pain and yet it is the number one thing that we suffer from as we go through our life. It is the most common symptom that all people will deal with and seek out healthcare for. Our spine starts to deteriorate at the young age of 23 where we can sometimes even see visible signs of aging on imaging. Crazy to think that our body starts breaking down so young.
That being said, we were not meant to live forever and one of the most important things is to take care of your body. But how can we take care of our body if we do not know what is wrong?!
Back pain is such a general term and you may now be thinking about how your back (and legs) feel…achy, sharp, stabbing, shooting, numbness, tingling, dull and more.
BUT what does all that mean in relation to what is wrong with your back?
Understanding the spine is the first thing. Our spine is made up of 33 vertebrae that fuses to about 26 once we are an adult. I say about because we are not all exactly the same and some people have an extra vertebrae in their spine.
Each vertebrae is a bone that sits on top of each other and are all shaped a bit differently to make up the curves in our spine. They protect all the important nerves that run down the middle of all the bones.
In between each vertebrae or bone there is something called a disc. You can think of our discs as jelly donuts with the jelly being made partly of water to give our spine flexibility and strength. The outside of the discs helps to hold everything in place providing more stability along our spine. Our discs overall act as shock absorbers for all movements.
Our spinal nerves run through each vertebrae so that they have a layer of protection starting at our skull and running all the way down to our lower back. The nerves can exit on the sides of each vertebrae to carry information from our brain to our muscles.
Our spine is so important and sometimes things can go wrong with our vertebrae, with our nerves, with our spinal discs, with our muscles or a combination that can ALL cause back pain.
If you want to see a spine model, come by Breakaway Physical Therapy for us to further explain and call us for a FREE Breakthrough visit at 410-721-6333!
So what are some of the things that can go wrong with our spine and cause back pain?
Slipped Disc or Disc Herniation
Pelvic and SIJ Dysfunctions
Degenerative Disc Disease
Those are just the most common causes of back pain to name a few. Now that you are starting to understand what may be going on with your body, there are some simple rules to follow.
Think about what makes your back better and seek out those activities. Also think about the activities that make your back pain worse and avoid those things. Especially when you first injure your back and are having that acute, sometimes intense back pain, it is important that you prevent your pain from worsening.
This is one of the first things that we focus on in physical therapy is to reduce your symptoms in Phase 1 of healing. It’s important to have your entire system calm down for healing to be able to occur.
Making sure that you are doing the correct exercises to reduce and minimize your back pain is essential. If your back hurts worse when you stand and walk, then we want to start exercises in a seated position or with your knees bent.
Once that acute pain has lessened, it is important that we get to the root cause of the problem – Phase 2 of your journey. If you do not know what causes your back pain, then it’s impossible to fix it and you will only be treating the symptoms.
Some of the causes listed above can be the problem and there are more dysfunctions that lead to back pain. Then understanding how your back pain has impacted your hip muscles, your hamstrings, your quad muscle, your abdominals and more is important to check.
I always say that it’s amazing and awful at the same time that our body compensates. The longer that our body lives with back pain (or any type of pain for that matter), the longer that the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons jump in to help out. Meaning that over time, it is not just our back that is affected.
If you are getting help that is only focused on your lower back, something can be easily missed for you to not only get better, but not have the back pain come back.
Once your symptoms are relieved or reduced, the underlying problem has been identified and fixed…then you get to the best part in the healing process, Phase 3- get back to doing what you love.
This is when it is important to try all the activities (within limits) that you have been missing out on because of your back pain. Being able to try these different things will allow you to see what is working and what still needs some tweaking so that you can enjoy having fun with your family and friends.
This is the most rewarding part of the process when you can go hiking, running, fishing and more with the people that you love most without your back pain standing in your way.
So it all comes back to understanding what is going on with your spine, your symptoms and what that means in relation to what is going on with your back.
Thank goodness you have a team of healthcare providers standing with you to help you figure out what is going on with your body, prescribe you the right exercises for you to improve and support you in your healing process.
Physical therapists are the muscle experts and trained to be able to listen, take measurements, complete testing and put together ALL the pieces to understand and explain to you what is going on with your body. We are blessed to be able to have the time to sit down with our patients and make sure that we are on the same page. The body is complex and our anatomy can be confusing, so we make sure that it all makes sense what is happening to YOU!
Then stop waiting and take the initiative today to change your life!
Give us a call at 410-721-6333 to set-up a free Breakthrough visit so that we can sit down and chat about what is happening with your back. You can make the decision that we are the best people to help you. If you would like some more information, feel free to download our FREE tips guide on Ending your Back Pain https://www.breakawaypt.com/back-pain/
You only get one body and one back. We all have injuries, soreness and aches along the way, BUT don’t let that prevent you from enjoying all the things that you love most about life. Can’t wait to talk with you more soon!