Back pain is quite common and usually results from injuries, degenerative spine problems, overuse or congenital issues that affect the natural alignment of the spine. An injury may be from an acute trauma, such as a fall or automobile accident, or gradually occur after chronic overuse, improper lifting techniques or poor body mechanics such as slouching. Although pain can occur anywhere in the spine, symptoms in the low back are most common.
Even if it is only a temporary condition, most people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Women often have back pain during pregnancy, as the increasing size of the abdomen affects the center of gravity and pelvic ligaments loosen in preparation for delivery. If someone who is in poor physical condition does a lot of heavy lifting, inflammation and muscle soreness may result. Back pain can also result from being overweight or obese. Even children can experience back pain if they carry heavy backpacks.
In many cases, back pain is a response to doing too much. This kind of pain is usually relieved with a little rest and ice or heat applied to the area of soreness. However, when back pain becomes chronic, it's often a sign that the spine is stressed or out of alignment, and treatment is required. Certain conditions require prompt evaluation, such as severe, sudden pain, unrelenting pain that does not respond to rest, heat or cold treatment, or back pain plus weakness or numbness in the legs.
Back pain is often the result of alignment problems in the spine. A chiropractic adjustment can correct the alignment problem and allow muscles to relax. Long-standing back pain may require multiple treatments, as muscles begin to shorten in response to postural changes. In addition to spinal adjustments, massage and acupuncture can help relieve back pain in some patients. Home treatment like heat or cold therapy can also be helpful. Exercises strengthen and stretch muscles, which promotes better balance and flexibility.
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