Back pain is a notorious problem among Americans. Millions of people suffer from this condition, and many more are so hurt by it that they're put out of work. However, it might alarm you to learn that ignoring your back pain or simply treating it with pain killers could allow the pain to worsen and spread. Here's what you need to know about this phenomenon and how to prevent or treat it.
The Body Is a Machine
It's easy to think that if your back hurts, something must have happened that injured it or caused the pain to be localized there. However, it's easy to forget that the back isn't isolated from the rest of your body. Your entire body is meant to work in tandem, like a machine.
This means that in some cases, back pain may not actually originate in the back. The muscles in your back are responsible for maintaining your balance, holding you upright, and supporting your spine. Those same muscles loosen to allow your lungs to expand, stretch so that you can reach, and more. Whenever something goes wrong with one of these mechanisms, it can manifest as back pain, even if the place where you're feeling the pain isn't the original problem area.
Leaning on Other Parts
Even if the pain in your back starts there, it may not stay there.
Have you ever hurt your foot or leg and spent some time limping as a result? You may have quickly noticed how tired and achy your healthy leg began to feel. This is because it's picking up the work of both of your legs. The same concept goes for the back.
When your back hurts, you may hunch up, lean, or begin using poor posture as a way to mitigate that pain. Unfortunately, even if it provides temporary relief to the initial pain, it can overstress surrounding muscles, ligaments, and even your spine. If you do this for long enough, the pain can potentially spread outside of the back and even make its way into your hips, legs, or chest.
It doesn't matter what caused your back pain, how often you have it, or where it's located in the back. If you're experiencing back pain, you should look for help right away. This will prevent the condition from worsening to the point where you're not only in debilitating pain but you may require far more sessions and treatments in order to just get back to where you started when you first noticed discomfort.
Chiropractors are one of the best kinds of doctors you can visit for back pain. They specialize in treating the spine and all of the support mechanisms it has. This means that your chiropractor will be able to quickly identify and locate problem areas, like tight muscles, and overstretched ligaments or tendons. They may even be able to tell simply by looking at you that you're compensating for some kind of pain, based on your posture.
Chiropractors can provide immediate, safe relief for back pain and help to prevent it from causing permanent damage. If you're living with back pain right now, don't put off getting relief and make it harder for yourself. Contact a chiropractor like Eric Schmetterling DC to learn more about relieving back pain.