By Dr. Dawn McElgunn | Chiropractor Victoria BC
Where Does The Pain Come From?
Most cases of back and neck pain are caused by nerve irritation from spinal joints that become locked or slightly misaligned due to muscle tightness, occupational stresses, prolonged standing, sitting, or from mild strain injuries, slips, falls, sports injuries, physical trauma, and foot problems. All of these factors lead to locked or misaligned spinal joints that irritate nerves and cause neck and back pain and also headache.
In total there are 24 movable spinal bones (vertebra), which are designed to move in unison to allow all normal movements of the neck, trunk, low back and pelvis. When any of these bones become stuck (locked up or slightly misaligned) it reduces range of motion, increases stiffness, and causes back pain, neck pain, or headaches due to nerve pressure or irritation.
In advanced cases neck pain can also radiate to the shoulder and down the arm and low back pain can radiate to the buttock or down the back of the thigh and leg (example: sciatica). This is because the nerves that exit the spine from the lower neck travel down the arms and the nerves exiting the spine from the low back travel down the leg. Additionally, many headaches are caused from nerve irritation originating in the upper neck area.
Chiropractors Correct Spinal Misalignments: Correcting the Underlying Problem
Although taking anti-inflammatory medication can address pain, they don’t resolve the underlying problem of locked or misaligned joints, which are at the root cause of these nerve irritation problems. This is why chiropractic success rates are so high with neck pain, low back pain, and headaches. Chiropractors are the experts at identifying and correcting joint misalignment as well as can help to reduce muscle tightness, spasm and inflammation. Only Chiropractors can correct the underlying joint misalignment or fixation (locked joints).
Chiropractors correct these problems by using their hands to perform a specialized corrective procedure known as a chiropractic adjustment (a gentle form of manual manipulation). In most cases a series of treatments is required to fully correct the underlying joint locking/misalignment problem
Periodic Tune-Ups With A Chiropractor Are Advised For All Adults
The same way you see a dentist (and a hygienist) to prevent dental decay is the same reason you should see a chiropractor periodically (at least every 3 months). Each day the spinal column is subjected to many physical stresses, occupational, postural, and other forces that slowly lock or misalign spinal joints. The first warning sign is usually increasing feeling of stiffness in the neck, mid-back or low back. This may be followed by mild or intermittent achiness in these spinal regions or occasional headaches. The next step is usually more regular or constant painful episodes. The key is to tackle these problems right away with a chiropractic check-up.
At least 3 – 4 times per year everyone should see a chiropractor to allow them to examine their spine for any early signs of spinal misalignments that can be easily corrected on the same visit with a simple chiropractic treatment. On this visit the Chiropractor will also perform some muscle work (muscle stripping, manual release therapy, etc.) to relax muscles that are beginning to tighten, which may lock spinal joints in the near future. This prevents small problems from developing into major painful episodes that can impede your ability to work, play sports, participate in recreational activities, perform normal daily tasks, or speed up the arthritic process.