Is Your Back Ready for Spring? Visit a Chiropractor
Humans may not hibernate, but we certainly become less active during the winter. Now that spring is here, you probably have plenty of things you'd like to do. Unfortunately, it's not so easy to jump back into sports or start your weekly yardwork routine if your back is stiff and sore. A visit to the chiropractor can relieve stiffness and pain and help you accomplish everything on your spring to-do list.
Got an Aching Back?
About 80% of Americans experience backaches at some point in their lives, according to MedlinePlus. That's not surprising, since your back helps supports the weight of your body, makes it possible to bend and turn, and absorbs shock when you walk, run, and jump.
If you've been a couch potato during the winter, or your job involves plenty of sitting, you may notice that your back feels a little stiff and achy. Reaching for a glass on a high shelf may send pain shooting through your back muscles, or you may notice that it's harder to extend your arm fully. Knots or muscle spasms only make the problem worse.
Poor posture, falls (even minor ones), stress, or tight muscles could lead to subluxations. Subluxations occur when the vertebrae that make up your spine move out of their normal position. If this happens, the misaligned vertebrae may press on nerves causing pain and inflammation. Subluxations don't just affect the vertebrae but may also cause nearby tissues to tighten painfully. Increased nerve pressure from tight tissues could also be a factor in your back pain.
You might only make your back pain worse if you become more active without addressing the source of your pain. Unfortunately, tight muscles tend to become sprained or strained more easily. Both subluxations and tight tissues can affect your balance, making it more likely that you'll fall when you're reaching to trim the hedges or return the ball during a game of tennis.
Luckily, your chiropractor can treat the source of your pain, relieve aches, and improve your flexibility and mobility.
6 Chiropractic Treatments That Can Relieve Your Back Pain
During your visit to the chiropractor, you'll receive a thorough examination, which may involve a few X-rays of your back or other tests. Based on these results, your doctor will create a treatment plan designed to ease your back pain and keep it from returning. One or more of these therapies may be included in your treatment plan:
- Spinal Manipulation. Commonly referred to as "cracking" the back, there's actually no cracking involved in this chiropractic treatment. During the treatment, your chiropractor moves the vertebrae into alignment using hands-on pressure or an activator. The cracking sound occurs when gas bubbles are released during the adjustment. Spinal manipulation relieves back pain, eases muscle tightness, increases circulation, and reduces inflammation.
- Hot and Cold Therapy. Before your treatments begin, your chiropractor may place hot and/or cold packs on your back. Heat relaxes tight tissues and improves flexibility and blood circulation, while ice relieves inflammation and pain.
- Massage. This soft tissue therapy loosens tight tissues and feels pretty good too. Massage improves blood circulation, which helps strained or injured muscles heal more quickly. Treatments also flood your body with endorphins and serotonin, hormones that help you relax. Massage and spinal manipulation are two of the treatments recommended by the American College of Physicians for non-radicular low back pain (pain that doesn't spread to other parts of the body).
- Flexion-Distraction. Flexion-distraction might be recommended if your back pain is due to bulging spinal discs. The treatment, conducted on a segmented, moving table, decompresses and stretches your vertebrae, easing painful pressure on the discs.
- Spinal Mobilization. Slow, gentle movements improve joint function and flexibility while decreasing muscle tension.
- Ultrasound. Ultrasound waves heat the deep tissues in your back. The therapy decreases inflammation, relaxes tight tissues, improves circulation, breaks down scar tissue, and relieves pain.
Your chiropractor may also recommend a few exercises that will help you maintain the results of your treatments in between visits.
Need a little help getting your back in shape this spring? Give our office a call to make an appointment with the chiropractor.
MedlinePlus: Back Pain, 10/21/2016
SPINE-Health: Chiropractic Treatment for Lower Back Pain
American College of Physicians: American College of Physicians Issues Guideline for Treating Non-Radicular Low Back Pain, 2/14/2017