By January 15, 2018 0 Comments

Back pain

Back Pain

 

One of the most common ailments in industrialised countries like the UK and the US is back pain. If you are an adult in the UK reading this right now there is roughly a 50% chance that you have experienced acute lower back pain for a period of 24 hours or more, at some point in the last year, making this a disease that affects millions of people on a day to day basis.

However, despite the extent of this epidemic little is known about the causes of lower back pain. Links have been found, of course, with anything that has put stress on the back of the patient. Obesity is a well-known contributor to back pain, as well as strenuous, repetitive work. Perhaps a bigger contributor, though, is its opposite, a chronic lack of exercise.

It is well-established that lower back pain is far more common in developed countries than in rural, low-income populations. Back pain is between 2 and 4 times higher in countries like Sweden, Germany and Belgium than in Nigeria, Indonesia and the Philippines. This could well be the result of modern sedentary lifestyles and taking exercise to improve your core stability is often held to be a way of staving off back pain. Other factors that cause back pain and which are found more often in the developed than developing world include stress, anxiety and depression.

Preventing back pain, then, could be as simple as relaxing a little bit more, taking regular breaks from your desk at work, and taking regular exercise to strengthen the muscles in your back and abdomen. This is especially important if you are overweight as this additional strain on your back may be causing the bulk of the pain that you experience.

For other people the cause of back pain may be dehydration. Between the vertebrae of the spine are the squidgy pieces of tissue known as the disks. These are important for spinal health as they help absorb the shocks created when we walk or run around as well as to bear some of the load of our body weight, taking that pressure off the spine itself. These disks are mostly composed of water and so when we are dehydrated they tend to deflate slightly in a way that can diminish the spine’s ability to deal with the strains and shocks of everyday life. Making sure that you drink enough water during the day is therefore key to preventing and, sometimes, to treating any back pain that might arise.

 

Most people who contract back pain (around 90% according to studies) will recover within 6 weeks without needing to seek any treatment. However, up to 7% of people will develop chronic back pain which will stay with them long term, limiting their mobility and decreasing their overall quality of life. They may seek medical attention but there is often little that can be done. For these people, any treatment that could potentially offer some relief from the pain is worth trying and in these cases many will find it helpful to try reflexology or chiropractic therapy.

We mentioned above that stress is one major factor in the severity and onset of lower back pain. Chiropractic treatments either alone or in conjunction with reflexology may help you to relax the muscles of your back which can often help ease your back pain. Other treatments which can have similar effects include massage and physiotherapy whose goal is often to help sore muscles to relax and recuperate.

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