What is the Cause of Back Pain?
Many times the area in which you experience pain is often a symptom and not the root cause of a problem. For example, pain from a gallbladder problem can often be felt in the right shoulder area. A cardiac problem can be felt in the left arm or jaw. A person feeling pain down the back of their leg might think something is wrong with their leg, but often there is pressure on the sciatic nerve in the lower back. Meanwhile, the lower back may be compensating for a problem much higher in the spine. In these instances, if you treat the shoulder, arm, jaw or the leg you are just treating the effect while missing the real cause of the problem. Pinpointing the real cause of the pain is key to beginning recovery.
Someone with mid back pain may think the problem is tight or spastic muscles between their shoulders, and while this may be true, the muscles are tight and aching because a misalignment in the upper spine has caused changes to posture and balance in the neck and the person now carries their head (which weighs 5-8kg) in a forward position. Tension is felt in the muscles struggling the hold the head up. When the muscles are constantly working, they become spastic and actually begin to weaken.
Where Most Back Pain Begins
The top two vertebrae of the spine (the atlas /axis, also called C1/C2) are distinct from all others in both form and function. Their peg and ring construction are built for greatest mobility in the spine and are connected by only muscle and ligaments, unlike the rest of the vertebrae that have fibrous discs, sturdy locking joints (called facet joints ), as well as muscle and ligaments that lock them firmly in place.
C1/C2, the smallest 2 bones in the spine, found in the region known as the upper cervical spine, have an intimate relationship with the lower brainstem and spinal cord junction. When a misalignment occurs in this area due to even a mild injury to the head or neck, it can alter nerve function in the brainstem and nervous system.
When you have an Upper Cervical misalignment, three things can happen:
- You may have decreased blood or cerebrospinalfluid flow to and from the brain.
- You may have decreased “brain to body communication”.
- We are connected from head to toe. If you have a misalignment at the top, what does the rest of your spine have to do? It has to compensate! Your head will tilt, you might have one shoulder higher than the other, your hips can be off balance and one leg can eventually become shorter than the other.
The spine and body can often compensate for many years before symptoms begin to show up. They may be mild at first, but if the underlying structural and/or neurological problem is not addressed, no amount of medication or therapy will fix them.
What Happens if You Don’t Address the Real Cause of Back Pain?
With lower back pain, we are talking about the structural component of the misalignment. When your body is off-balance, you are much more susceptible to injuries such as a strained muscle or ligaments, degeneration in joints, or disc herniation. The same move that you perform every day (i.e. putting on your shoes, bending over to get the newspaper, or lifting weights), suddenly blows up into a serious case of lower back pain. It’s not that one day it just “happened”; the preexisting weakness in the structure finally “gave way”.
Our bodies have an amazing ability to adapt and compensate for form and function. An interruption to the nervous system can cause a myriad of compensations, while an imbalance in the spine can cause changes to restore the balance that affects the entire spine and in turn, joints and muscles.
You may be a gentle correction away from natural relief.
We believe it’s important for everyone to have a check-up of their spine and specifically their upper cervical spine. Addressing potential problems before they interrupt your life is ideal, but if you are experiencing low back pain, you should make your spinal health a priority!
Purity Chiropractic proudly supports the local communities of Peregian Beach, Coolum, Noosa, Fernvale, Lowood, Esk, Tagoolawah