Back and Neck Pain
Upwards of 85 percent of Americans will suffer from back and neck pain at some point in their lives. Some people are hesitant to seek treatment for fear that the pain may not go away. You should, however, be able to enjoy the things you once did and regain the quality of life you had before suffering from back and neck pain.
Back and Neck Pain
What causes back and neck pain?
Back and neck pain can have many causes, both acute and progressive. The most common progressive causes include:
- Poor posture, such as being hunched over at a desk in front of a computer screen
- Osteoporosis, which weakens the bones in the neck and spine
- Scoliosis, where the spine bends sideways instead of being lined up in the center of your back
- Degenerative disc disease, where the fluid-filled cushion between vertebrae thin and tear
- Spinal arthritis and stenosis.
Acute neck and back pain may occur following:
- Whiplash from a car accident
- Trauma suffered by a fall or other injury
- Herniated or bulging discs from the improper lifting of heavy materials
- Sciatic nerve compression
What can I do to treat my own back and neck pain?
The easiest thing you can do for your back pain is improve your posture. Too many adults sit hunched over in front a computer screen, which is absolutely terrible for posture. Consider investing in a sit-to-stand desk so you are able to work standing up. If that is not an option, then getting up to walk around at least every hour will help keep your posture in better shape. Yoga exercises are a great way to center your body and mind. They also work for strengthening the body and increasing flexibility. Entire routines are dedicated solely to people looking for relief from back and neck pain.
When should I seek medical treatment for my back and neck pain?
Back and neck pain should be taken very seriously. The vertebrae of the neck and spine protect the spinal cord, which is one of the information super highways of your body. Any injury in that area could cause permanent nerve damage and possibly even paralysis, if left untreated. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following with your back or neck pain:
- Tingling or numbness in fingers, hands, toes and feet
- Neck weakness or instability
- A loss of bladder or bowel control
- Pain that shoots down the arm or leg
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Severe or sharp pain that persists
Treatments for Neck and Back Pain
There are several courses of therapy that can help provide relief of neck and back pain. Manual therapy — such as massage, mobilizations, and manipulations — is an excellent option for back and neck pain that is primarily centered around excessively tight muscles and joints. Dry needling is a another treatment that is gaining popularity and is used in conjunction with treatments such as massage. With dry needling, a small sterile needle is inserted directly into the pain point. The goal of the needle is to elicit a twitch response in the muscle. This twitch response then allows the muscle fiber to relax. This technique is especially useful for areas that are not easily reached by fingers or hands. While it may appear to have some similarities to acupuncture, the techniques and reasons for why needles are inserted where they are is rooted in Western neuroanatomy (the musculoskeletal and nervous systems). Range of motion exercises and strength training are also vital components of rehabilitation therapy. For post-surgical patients, these exercises are crucial to the patient having a successful post-operative recovery. Though back and neck pain may be common, suffering with it does not have to be. The expert physical therapists at Back in Motion Physical Therapy offer a range of therapeutic treatments to help relieve your back and neck pain. If you or a loved one is currently experiencing back or neck pain, contact one of our patient coordinators today to set up your initial appointment to go over treatment options that may benefit you. We have locations in Gorham, South Portland, Portland, Newport, Bangor, Brewer, Ellsworth, Waterville and Auburn, Maine to better serve your needs.