1 Dec

The 3 Most Common Causes Of Back Pain

Whether the damage was caused by a major trauma or a minor trauma, back pain has 3 primary sources.  The 3 most common causes of back pain are: muscle strain, ligament sprain and disc injury.  Regardless the cause, back pain can wreak havoc on one’s life.
Before delving into the 3 most common causes of back pain let us discuss the primary mechanisms of injury behind a muscle strain, ligament sprain and disc injury.  A major trauma, otherwise known as macro trauma, is a major event that takes place causing and injury or trauma to the muscles of the back.  Common major traumas causing injury to the back could be improperly lifting, a fall, a sports injury, an auto accident or a work accident.  Minor trauma, otherwise known as micro trauma, is typically associated with repetitive movements over a long period of time. Common minor traumas associate with back pain can be caused from repetitive bending, twisting, lifting, sitting or standing. Minor trauma is commonly referred to as an overuse injury.


Now let’s discuss the 3 most common causes of back pain. A back muscle strain refers to damage to the muscles or tendons of the back.  It is commonly called a muscle pull and can be caused by a minor or major trauma.  When a person has not done a specific activity in quite a while, then attempts to perform the activity, this can cause a back muscle strain. Additionally a muscle strain can be caused by quick heavy lifting. A back muscle strain can also be caused when normal activities of daily living are overdone.  Muscle strains can be very painful, debilitating and may present with swelling and bruising.

A ligament sprain happens when the ligaments in the back are over stretched or torn. Ligaments are tough tissues that hold bones and joints together and allow our bodies to move. When a ligament is damaged it is typically because the joint is stretched beyond its normal range of motion and normally happens because of a major trauma. A back sprain can be insignificant and resolve in a number of days, or it can result in a significant tear that can take months to repair.

A disc injury can be caused by either a major trauma or a minor trauma. The spinal disc is located between each spinal vertebra and has two primary purposes. It acts as a shock absorber for the muscles of the back and it allows space for the spinal nerves to exit the spinal cord. A major trauma to the disc, such as a bulge or herniation, can lead to excruciating pain, missed work days and even surgery.  Degenerative disc disease, also known as osteoarthritis, is typically associated with minor trauma to the spine and can take years to develop.

Chiropractic physical medicine if most often the treatment of choice when injuring your back because it can help to reduce pain and inflammation and allow the damaged tissues to begin to heal properly.  Used-along with other treatment modalities chiropractic adjustments will ensure your back injury a steady recovery.

1 Dec

Back Pain Caused By Muscle Strain

There are many different causes for back pain. No matter what the cause back can be much more than just a pain in the back. Back pain can lead to restricting or even inhibiting your sleep, bathing and showering, cooking and cleaning, work and school, yard work and gardening, recreation and family time.

One of the most common reasons for back pain is a muscle strain.  A muscle strain is damage to the muscles or tendons of the back. When a back muscle strains occur the muscles or tendons of the back are torn. This can cause severe back pain, swelling, muscle spasms and bruising and. A back muscle strain can happen because of a fall, lifting improperly, from sports injuries and from repetitive activities such as bending and twisting.

backpain22Immediately following a back muscle strain the body will begin the healing process by producing blood, fluids and inflammation. During this initial inflammatory phase of healing essential cells and nutrients are drawn to the damaged muscle to begin tissue repair. This influx of fluid can irritate nerve endings increasing pain levels and discomfort.  For this reason ice packs can be used to decrease inflammation which will in turn decrease pain levels.  In addition to using ice packs to decrease inflammation it’s also a good idea to rest the muscles in the back.  This means no excessive lifting, bending or twisting.
Several days after a back muscle strain, during the repair phase of tissue healing, the body now begins to lay down collagen, otherwise known as scar tissue.  In this phase of healing is very important to receive physical medicine, such as chiropractic manipulative treatments, to allow the damaged back muscles to heal properly.  Chiropractic adjustments can not only help to relieve muscle spasms and decrease pain levels, but it will also allow the scar tissue to heal in a uniformed matter much like the original healthy tissues.

In addition to chiropractic adjustments there are many other therapies and treatment modalities that can be utilized in the chiropractic clinic to aid in the relief of pain and the healing of a back muscle strain.


Here are some common therapies and modalities that can be utilized in the chiropractic clinic


  • Heat pads are often used to loosen tight muscles that may occur during a muscle strain.
  • Inter-segmental traction therapy can help to increase circulation and relax the muscles of the back.
  • Ultra sound therapy can aid in flushing away deep pockets of inflammation.
  • Laser therapy can also help to decrease pain and inflammation while increasing the speed of the healing process.
  • Micro stimulation is an effective analgesic and anti-inflammatory.
  • Chiropractic adjusting instruments can aid in the stimulation of muscle and nerve tissues.
  • Massage therapy can also be a powerful tool to relax the muscles of the back while allowing the scar tissue to repair optimally.

One of the most important reasons to seek physical treatments, as in chiropractic care physical medicine, following a muscle strain has to do with the long term health and functionality of the scar tissue. If the injured tissues do not heal properly, they can become less strong, less flexible, more painful and more sensitive.  This will ultimately lead to the back muscle to become injured much easier and more frequently.

1 Dec

Back Pain Caused By A Ligament Sprain

The tissues of the back can only stretch so far and can only handle so much weight before they become injured.  That’s why a back sprain is not an uncommon occurrence.  Since there are hundreds of ligaments that hold each of our spinal vertebrae together, which allow our bodies to properly move, when they are over stretched or torn it can be a major pain.

A back strain most often occurs with abrupt bending, twisting or lifting and is often referred to as major or macro trauma. This type of injury will allow the ligaments in the back to stretch past here normal range of motion. Since there are different levels (or grades) of ligament injury, this over stretching of the ligament can lead to a minor sprain or a full ligament tear.

Initially when the ligaments in the back are sprained your body will draw inflammation to the damaged tissues. During this initial inflammatory phase of healing there will be increased pain and swelling. It is important to rest your back and to use ice packs to reduce the pain and swelling. In addition, a back brace can be used to stabilized and the damaged ligaments which will aid in the healing of the injured back.

Unfortunately ligament damage associated with a back sprain injuries can often take a lot longer to heal than other back injuries. This is because the ligaments in your back have little blood supply compared to the other tissues of the back. Because of decreased blood supply there is decreased oxygenation, waste removal and scar tissue healing. This means the likelihood of a ligament sprain healing with less strength and elasticity, thus more prone to injury, is a common occurrence with back injuries. That’s also one of the reasons back sprains are one of the leading causes of missed work days and work disabilities.

It’s absolutely crucial to receive the proper treatment as soon as possible following a back sprain injury. After the first 72 hour following a back sprain, when the body begins to lay done collagen scar tissue, many people make the mistake of taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Motrin or Aspirin, to relieve their back pain. While NSAID’s may help reduce pain and swelling they can also lead to decreased collagen scar tissue production, which can ultimately lead to the new tissue healing with increased nerve sensitivity and pain fibers. This is also one of the major reasons a back sprain can become a permanent problem.

One of the most effective treatments for a back sprain, that will allow the ligaments of the back to heal more functionally, is chiropractic physical manipulative treatments. Chiropractic adjustments can allow the damaged tissue to heal much closer to the original healthy tissue and prevent a back sprain from becoming a lifelong permanent injury.

In addition a doctor of chiropractic is a highly trained primary care physician who performs a detailed examination to help determine if your back injury is a ligament sprain. During the physical exam the chiropractor will perform range of motion and orthopedic tests that can help diagnose your back injury. Then the doctor of chiropractic can determine what other treatments, therapies and modalities can be utilized in the treatment of your back injury to optimize your healing time.

1 Dec

Back Pain Caused By Disc Injuries

Have you ever heard of a slipped disc? How about arthritis associated with the back? There are many different types of disc injuries and also many different names associated with them. However the two major disc pathologies that cause back pain are disc herniation’s and disc degeneration.

The main purpose of the disc is to act as a shock absorber to support the weight of the body and provide space for the spinal nerve roots to exit. The spinal nerves then branch off to control all functions of your body. For this reason it’s imperative to have normal and healthy discs in your spine. If the spinal discs become injured it can directly affect the function of the spinal nerves and thus overall health.


The spinal disc is comprised of 2 main parts: the outer shell of fibrous cartilage (the annulus fibrosis) and an inner filling of a jelly-like material (the nucleus pulposus). Through trauma the disc can become injured and cause minor to sever back pain. With a major trauma, such as an auto accident, fall, sports injury or improperly lifting, the outer annulus can become damaged allowing the inner nucleus to herniate through the annulus.

There are different degrees of severity with a disc herniation in the back. In a disc bulge the inner nucleus begins to herniate and push on the outer annulus. This bulging can be asymptomatic or cause slight pain and nerve irritation. If the inner nucleus of the disc is able to herniate through the outer annulus that is called a disc protrusion. A disc protrusion can cause excruciating pain and lead to nerve pressure and other symptoms. Often time’s, people suffering from a disc herniation in their low back may experience sciatic pain shooting down their legs and into their feet. This sciatic radiculopathy may also be accompanied by numbness and or weakness in the legs or feet. Pinched nerves cause by a disc herniation may also affect digestion, bladder function and cause sexual dysfunction. At times a dis herniation may require surgery if it becomes too severe.

Degenerative disc disease, also known as osteo arthritis, typically happens over a longer period of time. Through minor trauma to the back, the outer annulus of the disc can become weakened and loose its firmness and height. As the disc degenerates the exiting spinal nerves become more and more irritated leading to back pain.

Chiropractic care can be highly effective in treating disc herniation’s and degenerative disc disease. Chiropractic manipulative therapy can break up scar tissue that has developed in spinal joints and allows the disc more movement to draw in spinal fluid. Chiropractic disc decompression therapy can be used in conjunction with adjustments to help revive and heal herniated and degenerated discs. By creating a negative suction inside the disc, disc decompression spinal therapy can help to bring the herniated disc material back to its proper position and allow more nutrients and fluids into a degenerated disc adding more disc space.

Medical treatments for low back disc injuries, such as spinal surgery and injections, are often less affective and have higher relapse rates that chiropractic care and disc therapy. In fact, some studies show that 50% of people who have back surgery end up the same or worse than they were before the surgery. Another recent study showed 75% of people who had spinal surgery had to have another back surgery within five years. Compare that to an up to 85% success rate with chiropractic care and disc decompression treatment and the choice is simple. Try chiropractic care and disc decompression therapy first!