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Back Pain - Figuring out the cause and solution

Back pain is a very common complaint, which affects most people at least once in their lives. It can occur for a variety of reasons and typically needs different treatment approaches depending on the cause. Back pain tends to originate from three main issues, which are discogenic problems, instability, and spinal stenosis.

  1. Discogenic problems: We have discs between the vertebrae of our spine, which can get damaged or thinner due to a variety of factors such as age, injury and poor body mechanics. This increases the chances of nerve irritation, which can lead to symptoms such as back pain, radiating symptoms down one or both legs, and numbness. In most cases, people with discogenic problems have increased pain when they sit and bend forward, which improves with standing and walking. Avoiding painful positions is the first step to improving back pain originating from this type of back pain.
  1. Instability: Some people have difficulty holding any position for too long and tend to slouch. In this case, static positions such as prolonged standing and sitting will increase pain. When people with instability issues learn to pull their navel toward their spine and maintain a neutral spine position, pain tends to diminish.
  1. Spinal stenosis: As we age, our spinal canal and intervertebral foramen (holes between vertebrae) tend to become narrower. People with this condition love to find a place to sit and like to lean on shopping carts at the store, since both will increase space and reduce nerve irritation. These people benefit from performing pelvic tilts, single knee to chest, and double knee to chest stretches, which also help to open these spaces.

If you are suffering from back pain, try physical therapy to manage symptoms and learn how to use your body correctly, which may help to prevent future episodes of pain.

Listen to your body’s wisdom and contact Cresswell Physical Therapy for tips on staying active while recuperating from injury.  We can be reached for appointments by calling (530) 244-7686.