(732) 222-2219

Back Pain

The bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles in your back provide support for your entire body, from the head to the limbs to the nervous system. Proper diagnosis and treatment of back pain is critical to restoring proper function and enjoying life.

How Common Is Back Pain?

Back pain is the leading cause of disability in the world, according to the American Chiropractic Association, and the third-leading reason why people see a doctor. Back pain affects four out of five adults at some point in their lifetime but can also affect young children.

Not only can back pain cause you to miss work and keep you from activities you enjoy, but it can make it difficult or uncomfortable to do simple things you take for granted, such as standing, sitting, bending over and sleeping. Although most people are capable of recovering from back pain, the majority never learn what caused the pain in the first place. This is one reason why habitual use of prescription painkillers is so prevalent.

Back pain is so common because of the complexity of this area of the body. You have vertebrae, the bones that make up the spine. You have discs between each vertebra to provide cushioning and absorb shock. You have matching sets of ligaments, tendons, and muscles on each side of the spine, which is capable of bending forward, backward and sideways, as well as rotating. You have the spinal cord, which starts at the base of the brain and extends to the lumbar region, where many nerves branch out. A lot can go wrong in such a complex structure.

Types of Back Pain

Of course, the complexity of the back means there are many different types of back pain caused by accidents, injuries, overuse, and weakness. These types of pain fall into three general categories.

  • Axial pain refers to mechanical pain that puts unusual stress on muscles. This pain can be constant or intermittent, sharp or dull.
  • Referred pain is a dull ache that can move to different areas. For example, a disc issue could cause pain in the hip or leg.
  • Radicular pain is more intense pain that radiates away from the spine, often following a nerve root into a leg or arm or even the ribs. Sciatica is a form of radicular pain.

There is also acute back pain, which typically lasts no more than six weeks, and chronic back pain, which lasts more than three months. Unfortunately, many people accept chronic pain as normal. When they struggle to straighten up in the morning or wince when they bend over to pick something up, they think back pain is just part of life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Pain is a symptom. It’s your body’s way of telling you something is wrong and needs to be fixed.

Causes of Back Pain

The underlying cause of back pain can be difficult to pinpoint. Through a comprehensive exam, an open conversation about your health history and lifestyle, blood tests, and diagnostic imaging (if necessary), we can diagnose the root cause of your back pain.

In some cases, a bone scan or nerve study might be recommended. Some of the most common causes of back pain include:

  • Herniated, bulging, slipped, ruptured or torn discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Strains and tears of the muscles, ligaments and tendons
  • Spasms
  • Poor posture
  • Nerve pressure and irritation
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Vertebral fractures
  • Repetitive use injuries (such as repeated heavy lifting and other manual labor)
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Skeletal irregularities, such as scoliosis
  • Damage or inflammation of the sacroiliac joint (where the spine and pelvis meet)
  • Cancer

Other factors such as emotional stress, depression, anxiety, neurological disorders, and insomnia can make the pain worse. Lack of exercise, obesity, poor nutrition, smoking, and poorly fitting shoes can also increase the risk of back pain.

Treatments for Back Pain

The treatment plan we recommend is always customized for the individual. Our goal is to stimulate the body’s ability to heal itself through natural means. Scientific research has repeatedly linked chiropractic care, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, and clinical nutrition with relief from back pain. Podiatry also plays an important role in restoring your foundation from the bottom up and reducing stress on the back, while physical therapy and rehabilitation are used to help patients recover from injury.

We offer these services and more under one roof so you don’t have to bounce from specialist to specialist or facility to facility. At Natural Healthcare Center, our team of clinicians collaborate and follow a proven process to treat the whole patient, not an individual condition or body part.

If pain is extreme, prescription medication might be needed, but only temporarily and sparingly. Surgery is an absolute last resort when there are no other options.

Did You Know…

  • The spine is comprised of 33 vertebrae, which form three natural curves in the neck (cervical), middle back (thoracic) and lower back (lumbar). Each vertebra carries the weight of all vertebrae above it, plus the skull, while creating a canal that houses and protects the spinal cord.
  • Back pain is the cause of more than 260 million lost workdays each year. That adds up to about two workdays for every full-time worker in the country.
  • The number of years that people live with a disability caused by back pain increased 54 percent from 1990 to 2015.

Are You Experiencing Back Pain?

If you’re dealing with back pain, schedule an appointment at Natural Healthcare Center. Let us help you attack the problem at the source so you can feel better, function better and live longer.

Flagship Office

10 West End Court
Long Branch, NJ 07740
P: (732) 222-2219
(732) 229-8863
Monday: 8AM-7PM
Tuesday: 8AM–7PM
Wednesday: 8AM–7PM
Thursday: 9AM–3PM
Friday: 8AM–7PM
Saturday: 9AM–1PM
Sunday: Closed

Middletown Office

9 Leonardville Rd
Middletown, NJ 07748
P: (732) 671-9005
(732) 671-9006
Monday: 9AM–8PM
Tuesday: 10-3PM
Wednesday: 9AM–8PM
Thursday: 9AM–8PM
Friday: 9AM–6PM
Saturday: 10AM–1PM
Sunday: Closed