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Common Causes of Mechanical Back Pain in El Paso, TX

Common Causes of Mechanical Back Pain | El Paso, TX Chiropractor

Are you experiencing back pain right now? The impact may seem identical, although it can be characterized as a dull throb or a sharp pain. Your life may have already been negatively affected as a result of your back pain. Some estimates show that 80 percent of people may experience the distress of back pain at any point in their life. And from an employer's perspective, more than 25 percent of those working adults missed a period at work in the previous few months following back pain. Back pain can be aggravating. The pain and discomfort might only last a few days or a couple weeks, however, it may often become a chronic health issue if left untreated for an extended period of time, impacting the lives of the average person as well as that of athletes alike.

Typically, back pain originates from a mechanical problem caused by the regular wear-and-tear of the spine and associated to the aging process of the human body. Daily usage, or the average movement during the course of the day, can take a toll on the structure and function of the spine, discs, and the joints. Sprains and strains, skeletal irregularities, or being involved in an auto accident can also cause the degeneration of the spine but the end results are exactly the same. While anyone can experience back pain, there are some factors that can raise the risk, including age, fitness level, pregnancy and weight gain, occupational risk factors with physically demanding tasks, preexisting mental health difficulties and even overloaded backpacks carried by school children.

Fortunately, relief can be achieved by chiropractic care. Experts estimate it that roughly 22 million Americans visit their chiropractor each year and 35 percent of these patients are seeing their chiropractor to get a remedy for their back pain, recurring neck pain, headaches and numbness or tingling in their arms and legs.

Chiropractic Care Helps Back Pain

Chiropractic care involves the manipulation of the spine with varying levels of pressure exerted through a treatment method intended to restore the health of the human body. The hope is the proper alignment of the spine, adjusted during a process known as a spinal adjustment, to allow the body to heal itself, without forcing the individual to switch to surgical interventions or the use of drugs and/or medication. Patients can expect a thorough evaluation with a comprehensive questionnaire, followed by a physical examination. Lab tests and diagnostic instruments might be used to diagnose the source of back pain.

Spinal manipulation or adjustments take place on densely padded treatment tables which places the patients lying down, which allow the chiropractor to apply the necessary pressure. It is during these spinal adjustments that patients can experience the benign "popping" or "crackling" sound often associated with chiropractic care. A chiropractor might also utilize ultrasound therapy electrical stimulation and massage therapy to treat patients. Chiropractors might additionally suggest nutritional advice, such as the usage of vitamins, as well as recommend a few exercises to enhance the patient's strength, flexibility and movement in order to help speed up the recovery process.

Chiropractic care is a well-known alternative treatment option for pain back. Some patients feel immediate relief following treatment, although a couple of people may experience mild aching or soreness. Before seeking a diagnosis for your back pain pain, however, it may be important for you to first understand several of the common causes of back pain. Having an understanding of the types of injuries and/or conditions which could be the source of your symptoms could help you and the chiropractor arrange the best type of treatment for your specific cause of back pain. Below are six of the most common causes of mechanical back pain.

Causes of Mechanical Back Pain

The most common causes of back and neck pain are mechanical, meaning they may manifest due to the movements of the spine. The mechanical parts of the spine include the tendons, ligaments, muscles, intervertebral discs and the facet joints. The most frequent region for mechanical back pain is the lumbar spine, or the lower back. This area of the spine disperse and absorb the majority of the human body's weight during active and static movement. Static means the body is stationary (eg, standing) although not actively moving (eg, walking). Meanwhile, the neck, or the cervical spine, is the most mobile region of the spinal column. Here, the spine supports the weight of the head. The diversity of motion includes nodding, bending forward, backward, and side to side movements.

However, even if the body isn't moving, parts of the body continue to support the spine. There are also mechanical forces, such as gravity, pressure, compression and stress, which can still affect the spine. Below are six of the most common causes of mechanical back pain.

Back or Neck Sprain and Strain

A back or neck sprain occurs when a ligament of the spine, or a complex group of strong tissues that hold the bones of the spine together, is overstretched or torn as a result of trauma from an injury. In contrast, neck or back strain involves the over-stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon attachment due to an injury. Because a sprain or strain can affect any of the complex structures in the spine, finding the exact source of the patient's symptoms may be challenging without the proper equipment. If you sprain or strain your back (or neck), the delicate tissues are hurt and respond by swelling, thus causing pain and discomfort. Muscles that are affected may go into spasm which can also be painful. Stiffness is another symptom that may make movement difficult.

Disc Herniation

Intervertebral discs divide the drum-shaped vertebral bodies of the spine. Each disc is carefully anchored into place by endplates; a fibrous connective tissue that makes up each intervertebral disc. Intervertebral discs are made of fibrocartilage and allow a small amount of movement at each vertebral segment (2 vertebrae and one disk). The disc's outer ring, known as the annulus fibrosis, protects the internal workings centre of the disc, known as the nucleus pulposus. Disc herniation occurs when the gel-like substance breaks through the outer ring, often causing nerve compression, inflammation, irritation, and pain. Pain may radiate or travel down to an arm or leg, depending on the region of the spine where the herniation occurred. Weakness, numbness, and tingling sensations can accompany pain and discomfort associated with the herniation of the discs. In addition, an intervertebral disc may rupture in various directions: front (anterior), back (posterior), and/or side (lateral), causing stress against the complex structures of the spine.

Vertebral Compression Fracture (VCF)

A vertebral compression fracture occurs when force from an impact causes the vertebrae of the spine to collapse. Trauma (eg, fall) is a common cause of vertebral compression fracture, though VCF is often related to osteoporosis, a weight loss reduction of bone mineral density and strength. A VCF can also occur during bending forwards or lifting. These fractures usually result in sudden and severe back pain.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (LSS)

Spinal stenosis in the lower back, or lumbar spine, develops when the nerve root passageways and/or the spinal canal become narrow. As a matter of fact, the term stenosis means "narrow". When complex structures of the spine, such as the nerve roots, are compressed as a result of the narrowing of the spinal canal, the dominating symptoms includes pain and discomfort which radiates into one or both legs, a commonly known collection of symptoms referred to as sciatica. Lumbar spinal stenosis, or LSS, prevalently affects adults and may be related to hormonal changes which cause tissue or bone to develop into neural pathways, compressing the spinal cord canal.

Spinal Osteoarthritis (Spondylosis)

Spondylosis is a medical term used to define degenerative spinal osteoarthritis; frequent in older adults. Similar to other kinds of arthritis, spondylosis can affect the facet joints, causing symptoms of swelling, stiffness, pain in the back. It might develop in the neck, known as cervical spondylosis, mid back, known as thoracic spondylosis, and in the lower back, known as lumbar spondylosis. Spondylosis can consist of other degenerative changes that can often lead to disc herniation and spinal stenosis.


Image demonstrating the different grades of spondylolisthesis.

If one vertebral body slips forward over the vertebra underneath, it is characterized as spondylolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis may occur in the neck, however, the lower back or lumbar spine is most commonly affected by this type of condition. The diagnosis and identification of the severity of a patient's spondylolisthesis includes determining the degree of the vertebrae's movement. Grade 1 means the vertebra has shifted forward by about 25 percent where Grade 5 refers to a complete slip of the vertebra, known as spondyloptosis. Grade 5 might be caused by a fracture of the bone that helps stabilize the placement of the vertebrae. Aside from pain and discomfort, severe muscle spasms and sciatic-type symptoms may develop.


Dr. Alex Jimenez's Insight

Although back pain is one of the most common complaints frequently treated in the medical field today, properly treating it may often be difficult because the source of the symptoms may be due to a variety of spinal health issues, including sprains and strains as well as spinal disc herniation and spinal stenosis. Chiropractic care is a popular, alternative treatment option commonly utilized to diagnose, treat and prevent a variety of injuries and/or conditions associated with the musculoskeletal and nervous system. After a thorough medical evaluation is performed by a chiropractor, the back pain specialist may use spinal adjustments and manual manipulations to carefully restore the original alignment of the spine. By correcting spinal misalignments, or subluxations, a chiropractor can release the tension and pressure being placed agains the spine, allowing the human body to naturally heal itself without the need for surgical interventions and drugs and/or medications. Visit a chiropractic care office to discuss the treatment options for your specific type of back pain.

In conclusion, back pain can occur as a result of a variety of injuries and/or conditions. However, mechanical back pain, caused by the movement of the spine, has been referred to as the most common cause of back pain and spine health issues. Understanding the type of injuries and/or conditions discussed above can help you and the healthcare professional determine the best type of treatment for your specific health problems. Chiropractic care is a well-known alternative treatment option commonly utilized to help treat back pain symptoms, among other types of health issues. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic as well as to spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .

Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez


Additional Topics: Back Pain

According to statistics, approximately 80% of people will experience symptoms of back pain at least once throughout their lifetimes. Back pain is a common complaint which can result due to a variety of injuries and/or conditions. Often times, the natural degeneration of the spine with age can cause back pain. Herniated discs occur when the soft, gel-like center of an intervertebral disc pushes through a tear in its surrounding, outer ring of cartilage, compressing and irritating the nerve roots. Disc herniations most commonly occur along the lower back, or lumbar spine, but they may also occur along the cervical spine, or neck. The impingement of the nerves found in the low back due to injury and/or an aggravated condition can lead to symptoms of sciatica.


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The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to contact us. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN* email: phone: 915-850-0900 Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*