By Alex Vidan
- Everyone has back pain it’s common and normal.
Back pain may be common, but it is not normal. It is so common that half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year. That means there are potentially 150,000 people who suffer from back pain in the city of St. Louis alone. Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide per the Global Burden of Disease 2010 and it is also one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
- Imaging will show all my back problems
Imaging may not reveal everything. Back pain is often a complex and multi-factorial issue, meaning that a spinal diagnosis isn’t always straightforward. To uncover what’s causing your back pain and what’s necessary for recovery requires a full clinical diagnostic process. This typically requires three steps. First you need a review of your medical history. To get to the root of your back pain, your physician should spend time asking you a series of questions about your symptoms, history, activities, positions, treatments, and more. After that is explored you will need a physical examination. A competent physician should check your spine to determine function, strength, discomfort in certain positions, and more. Lastly, you will go through diagnostic testing. Only after a physician has reviewed your medical history and given you a physical examination is imaging appropriate. Everything from an X-ray to CT scans and MRI scans can be appropriate to assess certain conditions.
- Back pain that comes and goes isn’t a problem
Our bodies are incredible at adapting. However, what we know is that in nature nothing stays the same. When someone tells me that their problem comes and goes it concerns me because it due to something that they are doing or not doing that’s causing them to either notice the problem or not notice the problem. Either way the underlying problem is still there and needs to be corrected. When the pain comes and goes, it’s usually the lead up to your back “going out” without warning. The reality for many individuals is that back pain is a result of a cumulative effect from simple movements. There’s always a cause for back pain and seeing a physician is your best chance for appropriate diagnosis and recovery
In fact if you find yourself saying, “back pain runs in my family” or “I just learned to live with it,” those are concerning statements because it means that the current approach you’re taking to correct the problem isn’t working, and you should make a change in order to actually correct the problem.
- Drugs and Surgery are the only way to correct your back pain
In 2013 The Journal of the American Medical Association suggested chiropractic care as an option for people suffering from low back pain and noted that surgery is usually not needed and should only be tried if other therapies fail. In fact, after an extensive study of all available care for low back problems, the federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research recommended that low back pain sufferers choose the most conservative care first. They also recommended spinal manipulation as the only safe and effective, drugless form of initial professional treatment for acute low back problems in adults
- Back pain is a normal part of aging
While we see back pain in older populations we also see it in younger populations as well. We are seeing more and more people starting to have more back pain and arthritis at younger ages. There are even times where I hear patients ask if arthritis in their spine is normal at their age. Again this may be common, but it is not normal. If it were normal it would likely be seen in the entire spine not just in specific segments of the spine.
Tips to Prevent Back Pain
•Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
•Remain active—under the supervision of your doctor of chiropractic.
•Avoid prolonged inactivity or bed rest.
•Warm up or stretch before exercising or physical activities, such as gardening.
•Maintain proper posture.
•Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes.
•Sleep on a mattress of medium firmness to minimize any curve in your spine.
• Lift with your knees, keep the object close to your body, and do not twist when lifting.
•Quit smoking. Smoking impairs blood flow, resulting in oxygen & nutrient deprivation to spinal tissues.
•Work with your doctor of chiropractic to ensure that your
Dr. Vidan is a private practice Chiropractor in St. Louis. He is very passionate about helping athletes from peewee’s to pro’s get back on the field after an injury and stay on the field. This allows athletes to enjoy the most out of their sporting experience. Dr. Vidan provided chiropractic care for the St. Louis Cardinals players and staff during the 2011 World Championship season, and continues to enjoy the opportunity to help athletes and organizations at the highest levels.