Neck & Back Pain
Neck and back pain affect an exorbitant number of individuals in our country. Take a look at these shocking statistics plaguing our nation:
- Neck pain alone affects more than 10% of the population at any given time.
- 85% of neck pain is a result of acute or repetitive neck trauma.
- 8 out of 10 people will suffer from low back pain at some time in their life.
- Back pain is the number one cause of disability in 19-45 year olds.
- Back pain is the second leading cause of missed workdays.
- The total annual cost for back pain treatments is estimated to be over $60 billion.
- Low back pain accounts for more than $50 billion in medical care and lost production each year.
- Low back pain is the number one cause of disability in workers’ compensation claims.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
There are many causes of neck and back pain such as poor posture, sports injuries, muscle strains, car accidents, arthritis, and even referred pain from internal organs. The events leading up to the onset of the pain, the intensity and location of the pain, as well as any associated symptoms are very important in properly determining the cause of the pain.
Here are some types of neck and back pain and their common presentations:
- Degenerative joint disease (DJD) presents as a dull aching pain that develops slowly over time. It is often caused by improper posture, repetitive stress to joints, and/or decreased nutrient supply to cartilage.
- Heart attack or gall bladder dysfunction often presents with sharp upper back or shoulder pain.
- Lumbar disc herniations usually present with the sudden onset of low back pain that radiates down the leg below the knee and increases with coughing or sneezing. Disc herniations usually result from improper lifting, twisting, or repetitive stress to the low back.
- Sciatica presents with low back pain that radiates down the back of the leg.
- Cauda equina syndrome is a condition that includes sudden onset of low back pain accompanied by bladder or bowel dysfunction and numbness of both legs, inner thighs, buttocks, or feet.
- Muscle strain or ligament sprain may cause minimal to severe pain depending on the severity of trauma to the damaged tissue. Strains and sprains may also include swelling, muscle spasms, and decreased ranges of motion in the affected area.
- Whiplash is the result of trauma to the soft tissues of the neck or back and is usually sustained during motor vehicle accidents.
The medical treatment for neck and back pain depends greatly upon the cause, the severity, and the frequency of pain. However, drugs and surgery are almost always the first solution considered.
For acute neck or back pain, the standard medical treatment usually involves muscle relaxers and/or painkillers. Although these medications can offer temporary relief, they do not address the actual cause of the neck or back pain. Therefore, when they are discontinued, the pain often returns, leaving pain sufferers in a continuous cycle of increasing drug use.
For chronic neck or back pain, medical treatments usually include nerve root blocks, facet joint injections, muscle injections, and sometimes antidepressants. If the neck or back pain is severe, certain surgical procedures may be recommended such as discectomies to remove part of the injured disc or spinal fusions to surgically fuse adjacent vertebra together in the hopes of decreasing pain. These procedures often carry a risk of what insurance companies now refer to as “failed back surgery syndrome” and frequently lead to future surgeries as the joints above and below the original fusion site will deteriorate at a much faster rate.
Millions of people suffering from neck or back pain have found chiropractic care to be a safe, natural, noninvasive, and extremely affordable way to address their ailments without dependence upon drugs and invasive procedures. Since only 5% of back pain cases are actually caused by a severe spinal pathology, conservative natural care such as chiropractic should always be the very first option for treatment rather than the last resort.
Unlike prescriptions, injections, and spinal surgeries, the chiropractic approach to treating neck and back issues does not focus solely upon the pain. Pain is viewed as a symptom rather than the disease itself. Therefore, neck and back pain can be intimately related to dysfunction of a nearby organ. Contrary to popular belief, therefore, neck and back problems often do not fully resolve until the proper culprit has been identified and repaired through detoxification, cold laser therapy, and nutritional supplements to rebuild the body naturally.
At Divine Design Natural Health, it is not uncommon to find that low back pain is related to digestive issues or that neck pain is connected to dysfunction of the thyroid. Most pain issues have no traumatic origin reported, and therefore point to causes other than muscle strain or ligament sprain. This approach is unfortunately overlooked or completely ignored in the current era of high-priced medications and joint replacement surgeries.