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Condition of the Month: My Blooming Back!

Oh, My Blooming Back!

As springtime approaches, the weather warms up and leaves turn green, many people will spend more time outside planting bulbs, mowing the lawn and pulling weeds. Gardening can provide a great workout, but with all the bending, twisting, reaching and pulling, your body may not be ready for an exercise of the garden variety. Gardening can be enjoyable, but it is important to stretch your muscles before reaching for your gardening tools. The back, upper legs, shoulders, and wrists are all major muscle groups affected when using your green thumb. A warm-up and cool-down period are as important in gardening as it is for any other physical activity.

Performing simple stretches during these periods will help alleviate injuries, pain, and stiffness. To make gardening as fun and enjoyable as possible, it is important to prepare your body for this type of physical activity. The following stretches will help to alleviate muscle pain after a day spent in your garden.

Garden Fitness Stretches 

  • Before stretching for any activity, breathe in and out, slowly and rhythmically; do not bounce or jerk your body, and stretch as far and as comfortably as you can. Don’t follow the ‘no pain, no gain’ rule. Stretching should not be painful.
  • While sitting, prop your heel on a stool or step, keeping the knees straight. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh or the hamstring muscle. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Do this once more and repeat with the other leg.
  • Stand up, balance yourself, and grab the front of your ankle from behind. Pull your heel towards your buttocks and hold the position for 15 seconds. Do this again and repeat with the other leg.
  • While standing, weave your fingers together above your head with the palms up. Lean to one side for 10 seconds, then to the other. Repeat this stretch three times.
  • “Hug your best friend.” Wrap your arms around yourself and rotate to one side, stretching as far as you can comfortably go. Hold for 10 seconds and reverse. Repeat two or three times. Finally, be aware of your body technique, form and posture while gardening. Kneel, don’t bend, and alternate your stance and movements frequently.

When the Bulbs are Planted

If you already feel muscle aches and pains and did not complete the warm-up and cool-down stretches, there are ways to alleviate the discomfort. Apply a cold pack on the area where the pain is for 15 minutes at a time for the first 48 hours. Or apply a heat pack on the area after 48 hours for 15 minutes at a time and consider chiropractic care.

Treatment

Chiropractic care works on correcting misaligned or out of place vertebrae and can remove the pressure placed on the nerve endings that line the surface of the joint and course through the space between the joints, reducing pain and improving flexibility and function.

To see if chiropractic may be able to help you call Cross Valley Chiropractic today at 570-822-4848 for a complimentary consultation.

 

Why you shouldn’t keep your wallet in your back pocket

Wallets are the go-to for receipts, business cards, cash, cards, coins, and whatever else you can throw in there. Putting that bulk in your back pocket and then sitting on it, even for a simple thirty-minute commute, puts stress on your hip joint and your lower back. You aren’t sitting evenly, either. Imagine sitting on an object only on one side of your body, and how it would cause your body to tilt to one side. It causes one side of your pelvis to be higher than the other, instead of them being even. This affects your spine and the tissues and structures underneath.

When you’re sitting on your wallet it distorts your pelvis and hips, which is bad for your back and your sitting posture. It causes you to tilt your pelvis to one side which puts stress on your spine. When you sit down, you end up rounding your lower back instead of sitting upright. The bigger your wallet, the more lopsided you sit.

The imbalance caused by sitting on your wallet leads to pain and degeneration. It agitates your sciatic nerve, which is located behind your hip joint, which causes pain that starts in the hip that can run down your leg. When you sit on your wallet, the nerve is pinched between the wallet and your hip. Sitting on your wallet for prolonged periods of time can press on the sciatic nerve and raise one hip. This causes your body to adapt and compensate for these imbalances.

The pelvis and hips are the foundations of the spine. What sits on that foundation will be affected by your wallet. Your body will compensate for your wallet in your back pocket by pulling your spine towards the side where the wallet is to even out the imbalance. Another way your body compensates is that your head can be pulled to one side to keep your eyes level with the floor.

Two halves of the pelvis can rotate slightly due to the constant force being applied to one side which can lead to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Long-term compensation results in spinal and postural stress which then leads to pain. Important tissues and structures in the buttock area, such as the sciatic nerve, can become compressed which can lead to sciatic leg pain, tingling and/or numbness.

What can you do to keep discomfort to a minimum?

  • Switch your wallet to your front pocket. This isn’t a cure-all, however, as it can create a pinch between your thigh and torso.
  • Remove your wallet when you sit down or drive.
  • Keep your wallet in your jacket pocket.
  • Keep only important and needed items in your wallet to avoid them being too bulky.
  • Try card-holder style wallets, or billfolds.
  • Avoid wallets that are bulky, such as wallets with zippers or buttons.

Call  Cross Valley Chiropractic for a consultation today at 570-822-4848.

Common Causes of Back Pain

There can be pain in different areas of our back, and it can be there for many different reasons. Everyday activities can affect your spine health. Muscle spasms are a common form of back pain. Most aches are caused by strains or sprains. Strains are injured muscles or tendons, and sprains are damage to ligaments. Injuries typically happen because of overuse, an accident, heavy lifting, or even a new activity. Simple things like sitting at a computer or crawling into bed at night can hurt us. Sometimes, pain comes from a compressed nerve, also known as a pinched nerve. A herniated disk can be the cause of pain.

Some habits that put your spine at risk for injury:

  • Tasks such as cleaning the garage or spending hours in the garden can be hard on your back. Exercise is a good preventative measure for this, as it stretches and strengthens your core muscles.
  • Simple tasks like washing dishes or taking the garbage out can hurt your back if your spine is bent out of shape.
  • Bending and lifting improperly can cause injury to your back. Engaging your abs to support your back will help prevent this. Don’t bend at your waist, instead bend your knees and keep your back straight. Keep objects close to you, if they’re far away from your body, it puts stress on your back. Don’t pivot, turn, or twist when you are lifting. Instead, point your feet at the item you’re lifting and face it as you pick it up. Change direction with your feet, not your waist. Holding an item higher than your armpit or lower than your knees will add strain to your back.
  • Simple tasks like sitting at work, driving, or sitting in front of the television can hurt your back. The discs in your spine have poor blood supply and when you move, fluid circulates through the disks. When you sit still the fluid is wrung out, depriving disks of nutrition. Sitting puts more pressure on your spine than lying down or standing up. Too much time spent sitting is hard on your back and neck and can do long term damage.

Chiropractic care can help with back pain, give us a call at Cross Valley Chiropractic at 570-822-4848.