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Explaining Back Pain

The back plays a very important role in our being able to function effectively as human beings: it helps us to maintain our posture and balance and helps us to lift items. When we have back pain, it can be debilitating and make it difficult to live the life we want. Continue reading to learn some possible explanations for your back pain.

It may be a slipped or herniated, disc. This refers to when a tear in the outer ring of an intervertibral disc allows the softer central portion of the disc to bulge out. In other words, one of the vertebral discs becomes protruded or displaced. This can put pressure on spinal nerves, causing great pain. To diagnose this condition, your doctor will perform several tests, such as having you raise your legs straight up one at a time (an action that is limited by those who have a herniated disc) or MRI scans.

Another potential cause of back pain is what is commonly referred to as a “pinched nerve.” While it is almost physically impossible to actually pinch a nerve, this condition instead refers to injury or damage to a nerve or set of nerves. Common symptom of a pinched nerve are feelings of numbness or “pins and needles” or pain that radiates from one spot. It can be diagnosed by a doctor by reviewing x-rays, MRIs or CT scans of the affected area.

Misalignment of the musculo-skeletal structure is another common cause of back pain. Proper alignment helps your bones to fit together most effectively, so that weight distribution is even throughout. Often, misalignment of the pelvis is to blame for back pain, as the uneven distribution when walking causes great stress upon the back. This condition can be diagnosed from a medical exam by your doctor, which may include x-rays to see where the alignment issues are stemming from.

In addition to alignment issues, scoliosis (that is, a curve in the spine) can be to blame for back pain. While everyone has a curve in their spine naturally, the curve for those with scoliosis is greatly exaggerated. Scoliosis may be caused by genetics (when a baby is born with the condition) or as a result of a disease, such as polio. It can be diagnosed by x-rays, spinal curve measurements or MRIs.

It isn’t just the bones of the spine and surrounding areas that can cause back pain; muscle injuries can as well. A pulled muscle can be the result of overexertion of the muscle group. This makes it painful to operate your back, as it continues to place stress on the already over-taxed muscle. This condition can be diagnosed by a doctor through a thorough medical examination.

There are many treatment options that are available to those with back pain. Therapeutic massages may be beneficial to those with muscle injuries, providing relief to the affected area. Chiropractors can help assess the curvature of the spine, slipped discs or alignment issues and treat these conditions in their office. Physical therapy can help you to build up strength and resume normal functioning after a back injury, and it can help you to undo maladaptive practices (such as walking unevenly) that could have caused the back pain. If these options do not work, consult with your doctor about surgery.

Back pain does not have to ruin your life. If you can recognize what has caused your pain, you will be able to discover what treatment option will work best for you.

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