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Back Pain

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Back Pain

Back Pain is an extremely prevalent condition in the UK. Incidence statistics show that 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lifetime, with almost half the adult population experiencing some form of back pain every year.

Back Pain can be caused by any number of reasons and identifying where the pain is coming from is the first step in effectively managing and treating the pain. For this reason, every new patient starts their treatment at ProBack with a full consultation and examination to determine what isn’t functioning correctly within their spine and to therefore identify the source of pain. This is especially important in the early stages of pain, as the identification and subsequent actions can prevent a condition becoming more severe or chronic.

Symptoms of a Back Injury

Back pain can affect people in different ways, and can vary from mild, intermittent or niggling pain, all the way to a chronic, disabling, severe pain. It is common to experience just one, or multiple of the following symptoms:

  1. Dull pain or aching
  2. Sharp pain which can be a sudden, throbbing, burning or stabbing pain
  3. Stiffness or loss of flexibility
  4. Feeling compressed
  5. Numbness or Pins and Needles'
  6. Pain upon coughing or sneezing
  7. Radiating or Referring Pain in different areas of the body
  8. One sided, Right/Left or unilateral pain
  9. Poor quality or Lack of Sleep

Since all segments of the spine have much in common; the potential for these symptoms to be found anywhere within its 3 sections is easily understood, having said that upper back pain symptoms often differ from lower back pain symptoms along numerous classic pathways. ProBack Therapists are experts at recognising and treating these patterns of dysfunction.

 

Back pain can be spilt into several areas:

• Lower Back Pain (aka Low back pain)

• Middle Back Pain

• Neck pain (sometimes referred to as the Upper back)

 

Lower Back Pain

There are a wide number of conditions that affect the lower back, also known as the lumbar region. Whilst pain is often local to the joint or tissue that is dysfunctioning, it is also common to experience referred or radicular pain due to the nervous system that flows through the lower back. In these cases, pain generally follows the nerve pathways and flows down from the lower back, into the buttocks, legs, calves or feet… Medical Doctors are sometimes guilty of calling all leg pain sciatica; however, there are many varied types of leg pain described to you further by pressing this link.

 

Conditions that affect the lower back include:

Degenerative Disc Disease

Slipped lumbar disc (rare)

Spinal Stenosis

Spondylosis – a descriptive term for degeneration in the discs

Spondylolisthesis – where a vertebra slips out of position forwards

• Retrolisthesis – where a vertebra slips out of position backwards

Facet Joint Syndrome

Compression Fracture

Muscle Strains

Sacroiliac joint syndrome

Pathological problem (or more serious underlying condition)

Myofascial syndrome

 

Middle Back Pain

Pain in the middle back, also known as the thoracic region, is somewhat different to the top and base of the spine as it is the area which has attached the rib bones, in order to protect your vital organs. The mid back, due to being twelve segments long, is often differentiated into the upper middle back (relating primarily to neck and arm pain) and the lower middle back (relating primarily to the lower back and hip pain).

 

Conditions that specifically cause lower middle back pain are:

Degenerative Disc Disease

Slipped lumbar disc (rare)

Facet Joint Syndrome

Fracture (relatively common amongst elderly/osteoporotic patients)

Muscle Strains

Maigne’s Syndrome (Unilateral pain referring down into lower back and hip)

Myofascial syndrome

 

 

Conditions that specifically cause Upper Middle Back Pain are:

Degenerative Disc Disease

Slipped lumbar disc (rare)

Facet Joint Syndrome

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (a condition which causes pain in the neck, shoulders, or arms due to compressed nerves and or blood vessels around the neck)

T4 syndrome (an unusual dysfunction in the upper middle back that directly radiates pain down the arm)

 

NB/ Upper Middle Back Pain has close links to posture and a rounded kyphosis or increased spinal curve in this area can have considerable effects on neck and lower back pain as well as vice versa.

 

Neck Pain

The neck or cervical spine are often thought as separately from the ‘back’ however the cervical vertebra as the upper most portion of the spine has a uniquely important function. The neck is a narrow extremity that connects our heavy head with our sturdy thorax, thus making it prone to absorbing large forces like those that occur during a whiplash scenario. However, the neck is highly influential in this modern day, in terms of its posture and the effect that poor positioning can have on the 15 billion nerve messages per minute that pass through this region.

 

Problems in the cervical region can cause pain locally but also can radiate tension causing upper middle back pain as well as being responsible for a large number of headaches, irritation to the discs and nerves often result in a neurological pain that is transmitted into the shoulder and down the arm, forearm wrist and hands. In addition to headaches neck problems are also linked with Jaw Pain, sinus issues, dizziness, poor energy levels, lack of concentration as well as a lack of, or poor-quality sleep.

 

Conditions that affect the cervical spine are:

Degenerative Disc Disease

Slipped lumbar disc (rare)

Spinal Stenosis

Spondylosis – a descriptive term for degeneration in the discs

Spondylolisthesis – where a vertebra slips out of position forwards

Compression Fracture

Posterior arch Fracture (referral straight to A&E)

Fracture (relatively common amongst elderly/osteoporotic patients)

Muscle Strains

Cranial Nerve Compression (compression of the cranial nerves by aging arteries and veins)

Myofascial syndrome

 

 

Treatments for Back Pain

Treatment plans for patients with upper, middle and lower back pain vary greatly depending on the condition and severity of the problem; but can be split into two general phases in order to achieve the best results and pain relief. Phase one consists of pain-relieving care; Phase two is a continuation of these protocols but focuses on rehabilitative and spinal correctional care in order to prevent relapsing of the condition as much as possible.

 

Due to the unique blend of technologies with the ProBack clinics, often patients benefit from combining different therapies in order to correct the problem, below is a brief overview of our back-pain treatment options.

 

Spinal Decompression Therapy

For disc problems and trapped nerves, spinal decompression therapy is one of the best treatments to try. Using a gentle traction, spinal decompression uses a small percentage of your body weight to stretch the spine. The gentle stretch helps to pull the discs away from the nerves, easing the pressure and helping to relieve pain associated with compressed nerves. By creating a vacuum in the disc space, we allow nutrients and increased blood flow to penetrate the disc creating an optimal healing environment.

 

Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave Therapy is often used in the treatment of back conditions either on its own or in combination with other forms of treatment. It can be particularly helpful in conditions relating to bad posture, spinal misalignment, muscle or joint strains and myofascial syndromes. As a gentle alternative to manual manipulation, this back-pain treatment decreases muscle tension and helps break down scar tissue. This scar tissue causes the body to become stiff and sore, preventing oxygen and vital nutrients reaching damaged areas. Breaking down the scar tissue increases vital blood flow restoring the nutrient supply to the injured area and allowing the body’s healing process to work more effectively. The shockwave machine can also detect and correct misalignments in the spine, helping to correct posture.

 

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy can reduce inflammation and relieve pain when conditions are chronic, severe or characterized by longer healing times such as arthritic patients and/or those with diabetes. The therapy stimulates the tissues deep down in the area being treated and when used in combination with other therapies can significantly accelerate healing and pain relief.

 

Spinal Remodelling

Spinal remodelling is used in the clinic to correct spinal alignment and improve the sustainability of back pain treatment results into the longer term, reducing the risk of relapse. It uses heavily researched and prescription only spinal orthotics to restore lost alignment. When the spine is misaligned, there is more pressure on the delicate disc area, which can increase the risk of injury. By re-aligning the spine into a better position, less stress is put on the spine, reducing the risk of injury and helping to maintain the condition of the spine for as long as possible.

 

By starting off your back-pain treatment with us with a detailed examination, we’ll be able to see exactly what kind of posture you have, where any misalignments are and what kind of conditions have prevented you from achieving results from past treatment. We’ll then tailor a treatment plan to suit exactly your needs, featuring exercises, stretches and a recommendation of which spinal supports may be appropriate to help you achieve the best results.

Frequent Questions

What are the most common causes of back pain?

What are the best exercises for back pain?

What are the most common lower back pain causes?

Can you help to relieve back pain long-term?

“I feel stronger and the pain is gone”

Georgina Atandare

16th March 2016

“My posture has changed for the better.”

Elena Cooper

14th April 2016

“I was shocked at the difference after my first session.”

Debbie Gore

16th June 2016

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