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Common Questions About Back Pain

Woman on bed holding her backWhen you suffer from back pain or other spinal issues, it is common to have questions. As a licensed chiropractor in Chesapeake for more than 20 years, I have answered many questions from patients about treating and preventing back pain.

Below I will help answer some of the top questions I get from patients about back pain.

How can I prevent back pain?

You can take many different actions to prevent back pain from starting in the first place. Many of these actions are lifestyle modifications including maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and stretching, and maintaining a good posture. Avoiding back strain is also very important.

However, pain is not the only thing to worry about when it comes to your spinal health. Underlying mechanical spine problems like misalignment may only cause back pain when they become advanced. For this reason, early treatment is key, especially if you have underlying mechanical spine problems and have not yet developed back pain.

Should I stop being active if my back hurts?

Generally, you should not become inactive if your back hurts. This is, unfortunately, a persistent myth that does people more harm than good. In fact, the opposite is true: gentle stretches and keeping active can prevent tension in your muscles, which can reduce your back pain.

Are there any vitamins that can help with back pain?

Little proof exists that specific vitamins can help back pain in otherwise healthy people. Some over-the-counter vitamins and supplements purport to help back pain, however, little data support these assertions.

The best way to make sure you are getting the vitamins you need to help your back pain is to eat a healthy, balanced diet. To help with this, I have written a free ebook, Live Healthy and Thrive, which discusses how nutrition plays a big role in spinal health. I include nutrition recommendations as well as a meal plan in the book.

How do I relieve back pain while riding in the car?

You can take several different steps to reduce pain while taking a long trip in a car or plane. One of the most important things you can do is to take regular breaks to get up and move around, ideally every 30 to 60 minutes. Movement can help prevent your muscles from becoming stiff, which can lead to pain.

In addition, you should shift your position within your seat on a regular basis, at least once every 20 minutes. Stretching your legs even when you are in a seated position can help to reduce muscle tension, thereby reducing pain.

Do the back pain devices I see on TV or internet really work?

Devices that are advertised for back pain on TV or the internet are, unfortunately, often gimmicks that do not work. This includes special back pain mattresses, pillows, shoe inserts, traction devices, belts, and back stretchers.

In some cases, using back pain devices without medical assessment may even worsen your back pain. Back pain is a symptom of an underlying spinal problem. For this reason, it is important to understand what the underlying issue is before attempting to self-treat it. If you are curious about a back pain device, make sure to run it by your chiropractor.

What kinds of stretches can help my back pain?

Many different kinds of stretches can help relieve your back pain. However, it is important to remember that pain is merely a symptom of your underlying back issue: you will need to correct your underlying issue to resolve the pain.

For this reason, it is important to get a full spinal exam and diagnosis if you experience back pain. Depending on your underlying back problem, your chiropractor or physical therapist can recommend specific stretches to help you relieve pain and increase your flexibility and range of motion. In some cases, doing the wrong exercises for your back may worsen your spinal issues instead of helping them.

How do I know if I need back surgery?

Because each person’s medical history is different, a one-size-fits-all approach to determining when back surgery is necessary is not possible. However, factors that can influence whether or not you need back surgery include if first-line conservative measures like chiropractic treatment for mechanical spine problems have failed.

In addition, if you have an anatomical spine problem, like a fracture, you may need traditional medical care including surgery.

Can my back pain be cured?

Many kinds of back pain can be cured by conservative, non-invasive methods such as chiropractic care. This is especially true when the cause is mechanical spine problems like misalignment. However, early treatment is important: after 6 months, permanent damage can occur due to spinal misalignment. This is because, over the course of several months, a misalignment can cause the development of scar tissue, abnormal bone growth, degenerative disc disease, and vertebral damage.

Why does my back hurt first thing in the morning?

People often have increased back pain upon waking because of muscle pain and stiffness. This is because prolonged immobility can increase the stiffness that leads to back pain. In addition, your mattress may be to blame: a mattress should be replaced every 7 years, or sooner if you can feel the springs or it is no longer level. You can also talk to your chiropractor or other back care providers about the best support level for your mattress.

Are painkillers safe to treat back pain?

The opioid epidemic kills tens of thousands of Americans every year. For this reason, reducing opioid use is an important goal and is not recommended for long-term, chronic conditions like back pain. Fortunately, alternatives to opioids are available for back pain, including chiropractic care, which can reduce the need for painkillers.

Answering Your Back Pain Questions At Precision Spinal Care:

At Precision Spinal Care, I will perform a thorough examination of you before any treatment is performed or prescribed. I will sit with you and answer all of your questions after the initial examination and evaluation.

If it is determined that chiropractic is not the best solution, I will explain your condition and recommend the type of specialist who is most appropriate for you.

We understand that you need to explore all your options when you look for expert chiropractic care. At Precision Spinal Care, we are happy to help you determine the best way to address your specific needs and discuss all your options with you and your family.

Call our office at (757) 382-5555 to speak to the doctor or set up a consultation. You can also set up an appointment online here.

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