• Dr. Stuart Wellness

Back Pain: Why your back hurts and what you can do about it

Back pain is an extremely common disorder. Back pain ranges from a dull ache to an incapacitating sharp pain that may radiate down the legs or gluts. What can you do about your back pain? Finding out the cause of your back pain should rank high on your to do list. Different treatment modalities work better for some forms of back pain than others, and you also want to rule out any red flags that may point to serious disorders. Back pain occurs for several different reasons. Here are a few of the most common.


Our spine forms the structural framework of our back. Our spine is made up mostly of vertebrae, which protect the spinal cord. Sponge like discs called intervertebral discs are located in between the vertebrae. These intervertebral discs pad and cushion the vertebra. When an intervertebral disc moves abnormally, pain can occur. Poor posture, poor movement patterns or accidents can all cause disc problems that lead to discomfort and pain.


Our spine needs strong musculature to support and move it. Poor posture (quite often from a sedentary lifestyle) or poor body mechanics, can create muscular spasms and ultimately pain. Erroneous exercise practices, and injuries can also cause muscle tightness and discomfort.


Joint disorders cover a large range of diseases, most of them caused by some form of arthritic changes. Disorders such as stenosis, spondylolisthesis and functional scoliosis are all different types of joint disorders that can cause backache and soreness. Abnormal joints can also cause nerve compression which furthers causes discomfort and pain.


Fibromyalgia causes generalized body aching that normally affects the back. Fibromyalgia is not properly understood by medicine. Poor sleep and fatigue commonly present in persons with fibromyalgia. Anxiety or depression are common symptoms as well. You may be suffering from back pain due to fibromyalgia if you present with the before mentioned symptoms and examination proves negative for any other disorders.

What can you do to alleviate your pain?


Massage increases circulation and can reduce muscle tone. Massage encourages the release of the body’s natural pain killers. Studies have found massage an effective treatment modality for several types of back pain. Check with your massage therapist today to see if massage may be able to help you.


Acupuncture is one of the best alternative therapies to relieve pain. The World Health Organization states acupuncture is effective for several different types of pain, including chronic and acute lower back pain. According to Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture aids in healing by moving local qi and blood. Pain is considered in TCM stagnant qi and blood. So by moving stagnant energy, acupuncture reduces pain.


Sometimes one of the best things a client can do for their back pain is to rest. Rest is a common prescription for disc herniation. Sometimes overworking the back with excessive exercise can cause further discomfort and pain. Moderate exercise is key in back rehabilitation. As always, check with your health care advisor before beginning any exercise program.

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