The statistics on back pain are truly staggering. It’s one of the leading causes of disability in the world. It’s the second most common reason for staying home from work. It affects a huge number of adult Americans at any given time, and around 80% of Americans will experience back or neck pain at some point in their lives.
The amount of money spent treating back pain every year is even more surprising. Estimates range from $50 billion to $90 billion, according to a study by Duke Medical Center.
Where is the pain coming from?
A relatively small number of cases have organic causes, such as arthritis or infection. The vast majority of cases of back and neck pain, however, are mechanical in nature. That means symptoms arise from misalignments in the spine and neck. These misalignments can be caused by specific traumas, such as sports injuries or car accidents. They can also happen gradually. Poor posture and too much sitting are common causes of spinal problems that lead to chronic pain.
Will this pain go away on its own?
Many people believe that back and neck pain are temporary problems that resolve on their own. This is sometimes the case—but the fact is, the majority of cases (around 60%, according to several studies) will stick around unless treated. The longer you live with back and neck pain, the more entrenched you become in the habits and misalignments that caused the problem in the first place. In this back, chronic back and neck pain is a vicious circle.
Here’s another interesting fact: People who suffer back and neck pain often keep quiet about it. Back and neck pain could be much higher than indicated by statistics from orthopedists and chiropractors, due to the fact that so many people suffer this kind of pain silently.
These two trends are related: Many people choose not to seek treatment for back and neck pain, believing it will go away without treatment. However, statistics clearly show that back and neck pain are likely to persist unless the underlying cause is found and effectively treated.
What changes can I make?
The American Osteopathic Association lists several ways in which people can reduce symptoms in daily life. These include specific back and neck stretches, improvements in sitting posture (especially if you work at a desk), hot or cold packs applied directly to the painful area, and ergonomic improvements (such as using the speaker function on your phone, and using a better quality office chair). The American Chiropractic Association adds the following recommendations:
- Regulate weight and improve diet
- Get more exercise and avoid too much sitting
- Precede exercise with proper stretching
- Wear comfortable, ergonomic shoes
- Sleep on a quality mattress
- Use your knees/legs for lifting
- Quit smoking
Is there a real solution?
If you suffer chronic neck or back pain, It’s understandable to want immediate relief. This type of pain can be extremely difficult to live with, and has a huge impact on quality of life. So what’s the best way forward?
Invasive surgery has high risks and is rarely called for—unless the problem is severe. Painkillers are another way out, but the relief they provide is only temporary. They also bring side effects, and should not be considered as a long-term solution. Essentially, painkillers mask the symptoms for a few hours while ultimately damaging your health.
Chiropractic treatment is a natural alternative that addresses the underlying cause of back and neck pain. By correcting imbalances and misalignments in the spine and neck, the body’s natural form and function is able to return. The result is often a drastic reduction, or complete elimination, of painful symptoms in the back and neck. It’s non-invasive, highly effective, and totally safe under the guidance and supervision of a qualified doctor of chiropractic (DC).
Our practice is backed by years of experience and hundreds of clients who have found tangible relief from chronic back and neck pain. Our team focuses on the unique needs of each individual. We’re also able to combine chiropractics with therapeutic massage and nutritional counseling. The result is a holistic approach that treats the entire system and restores the body to its natural state of wellness.