Back Pain — What To Do?

Back pain is all too common.  Even children experience back pain quite frequently but may not tell you about it.

Back pain follows us from the cradle to the death bed.

Infants and toddlers may experience discomfort or pain as the curvature of the neck and lower back establishes itself.

Children undergo many changes as they grow into young adults.  Their musculoskeletal system is continuously being challenged to keep up with those changes.  Moreover, children are very active and often ignore little aches or pains that over time may grow into more serious musculoskeletal issues.

Teenagers often develop poor posture that results in a weakened spine.  Many enjoy pushing their bodies to the limits by engaging in dangerous physical activities such as skate boarding, contact sport, breakdancing, martial arts, gymnastics, etc. These activities provide numerous opportunities for whiplash injuries to the spine.

Adults continue their poor postural habits or experience the wear and tear from sitting all day, running heavy equipment, or engaging in repetitive activities at work or at play.

Back pain comes in many shades.

Back pain may be dull, sharp, localized, diffuse, constant, or come and go,  It’s inherently difficult to determine the cause of back pain because so many structures of the body may cause it.

Back pain may originate from bony structures such as the ribs, vertebrae, shoulder blades, and their joints.  Trauma, degeneration of the joints, inflammation, infections, or tumors may all be culprits.

Pain that radiates into the arms or down the legs, tingling, or numbness all signal involvement of the spinal nerves or the spinal cord.  Please consult a neurologist  to rule out any serious problems.

Back pain has many causes.

Back pain may be caused by injuries, illness, poor posture, chronic muscle tension, emotional or mental strain, surgery, repetitive stress injury, etc.  It may also result from weak muscles of the spine due to lack of exercise or sitting around too much.

Lack of exercise weakens all the muscles of the body and leads to “rusty” joints.  Joints need to be moved regularly to stimulate the body’s production of synovial fluid, the body’s lubrication fluid for the joints.

Furthermore, repeated injuries to feet, ankles, knees, or legs may ultimately lead to lower back pain.  You will find that people with repeated ankle sprains often have lower back pain as well.

Back pain may signal distress in one of the inner organs.

Back pain may also originate from organs, such as the lungs, heart, pancreas, gall bladder, kidneys, or prostate.    Even digestive problems, such as flatulence (gas) or  irregular bowel movements may cause lower back pain. Thus it’s important to pay attention to the type and location of the pain, as well as other symptoms anywhere else in the body that appear at the same time.

If you suspect organ involvment, please consult a naturopathic doctor or any other health professional to differentiate between organ health and musculoskeletal pain of the back.

There are many ways to address chronic back pain.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Visit a naturopathic doctor, Chinese Medicine practitioner, or other health professional well grounded in musculoskeletal health, as well as general health.  The two are often linked together.
  • Consider a homeopathic remedy.
  • Enjoy on a regular basis massage, acupuncture or acupressure, shiatsu, or any other type of bodywork to keep your musculoskeletal system in good health, as well as address any present aches and pains.
  • Have yourself evaluated for postural problems, as well as potential improper use of your body in sports, play, or when persuing your  hobbies.  Feldenkrais therapists are well trained to do this, as well as help you correct these kinds of problems.
  • Try relaxing baths, essential oils, flower essences, and herbal teas to help you relax before going to sleep.  Sleep is the most effective rejuvinator of the body.  All the repair and maintenance activities of the body occur during sleep.
  • Daily gentle stretching, Yoga, Tai Chi, and QiGong are gentle and excellent ways to keep your body limber and well toned, making it less vulnerable to injury and chronic pain.
  • Go for daily walks, however briefly.  Walking is the best way to gently mobilize the spine and all other joints of the body.
  • Craniosacral Therapy and Energetic Unwinding of the Spine, Joints & Muscles are two related therapies that are particularly effective at resolving musculoskeletal and joint pain.

Until the next natural healing perspective blog…

To Your Health