Got Pain in your Back or Neck? It May be Caused by One of These 10 Issues
As the pillars of our bodies, the neck and back work constantly to support us, so aches and pains are to be expected. While pain can sometimes be a red flag for an underlying health condition that needs further investigation, every day discomfort can be quite common, but not necessarily normal, depending on age, how sedentary or physically active you are, whether you’re pregnant, how much time you spend sitting at a desk (because we’ve all heard by now that sitting is the new smoking) and many other factors.
Back and neck pain can really put a crick in your life and has the potential to cause headaches, stiffness and decreased range of motion, mental and physical fatigue and even trouble sleeping. Figuring out what’s causing any soreness you’re experiencing and figuring out how to treat it is the job of a chiropractor.
At Mind Body Spine, Dr. Stephanie Louie will do an initial consultation, develop a treatment plan (if additional sessions are needed) and work with you to help maximize your spinal and overall physical health using a balanced approach of chiropractic treatments, nutritional tips and a personalized fitness plan.
If you’ve been in an accident or are experiencing any of these symptoms, please seek medical help immediately as these symptoms may require the attention of a licensed physician.
- Sudden severe pain
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Intense headaches
- Difficulty standing or walking
The great thing about some of the common causes of spinal and neck pain is that in many cases, it’s possible to prevent it by being mindful about your posture, paying attention to how you’re moving and whether you’re taking the time to warm up and warm down properly.
#1: Problem – Overexertion
Maybe you spent all weekend doing heavy duty yard work or home renos, forgetting to take breaks and lifting too much weight. In your rush to get the job done, you strain your back.
Solution – Take regular breaks and check with your body to see how it is feeling. For instance, if you’re working outside and the wheelbarrow is overloaded and you can barely push it forwards, take the time to empty it a bit then try again.
#2: Problem – Lifting incorrectly
Solution – When lifting, always take your time and lift with your knees rather than your back. If you lift something—even something light—with your back, you can potentially strain an important muscle. Also, make sure that whatever you’re lifting isn’t too heavy for you to lift semi-comfortably.
#3: Problem – Poor posture at work
Sitting hunched over a computer or a smartphone has the potential to do serious damage to your posture over time.
Solution – When sitting, keep your feet flat on the floor, back against the seat back and take frequent breaks to walk and stretch. Try these 5 easy stretches.
#4: Problem – “Text Neck”
When on your phone, pay attention to your posture. Are you creating “text neck”? When we crane our necks downwards to look at our phones and tablets for long periods of time, we can put a lot of stress on our muscles and joints, causing headaches and even jaw pain.
Solution – When you’re on the phone, take stock of your posture. Are you hunched forward, is your head bent down, and are your shoulders tensed? If so, lean back against the back of a chair or headboard, lower your shoulders and keep the screen at eye level.
#5: Problem – Sports injuries
Playing sports can be extremely hard on our bodies. We jump, fall, run and are tackled. Day after day, year after year, our bodies absorb all kinds of impact that can result in chronic discomfort.
Solution – Dr. Louie can work with you to treat chronic pain caused by sports injuries. As a “gym rat” herself, she has firsthand experience with athletes from all walks of life and has an extensive background in sports science, biomechanics and human physiology.
#6: Problem – Attempts to adjust or “crack” your own back
While it feels good at the time, “cracking” your own back can make the problem worse.
Solution – Avoid cracking your back wherever possible. Call a qualified chiropractor who can help to diagnose and treat the underlying problem instead.
#7: Problem – Weak core muscles
When our core muscles are weak, our muscles and joints overcompensate, which can cause pain.
Solution – Strengthening these muscles creates a support system for the rest of your body. It doesn’t have to mean endless sets of sit-ups. Yoga and weight-bearing exercises are both excellent ways to build better core strength.
#8: Problem – A new fitness regime
Diving headfirst into a brand-new fitness regime
Solution – An active lifestyle is so important for physical and mental long-term health and wellness, but it’s important not to push too hard right away, to know your limits and to increase the difficulty level as you go. With a background in Kinesiology, Dr. Louie is more than happy to discuss ways you can ease into a new fitness program.
#9: Problem – Not stretching before/after a workout
Dynamic and static stretching have been found to be key parts of a workout.
Solution – Getting your muscles warmed up and ready to go is an important step in achieving your goals. Whether it’s a marathon, a game of pick up, or an afternoon of kayaking, always take the time to stretch before and after.
#10: Problem – Back pain due to pregnancy/postnatal life.
Bearing the weight of a fetus is hard on your whole body, particularly your core muscles and spine. Back pain during and after pregnancy is completely normal as your joints and ligaments move to accommodate your growing baby. Afterwards, your body is resettling and you’re now spending your days holding an infant in your arms, on your hip, or on your front.
Solution – It can be tough to have proper posture while you have a squirming baby/toddler on your hip and you’re juggling 1000 tasks all day long. Maintaining core strength and wearing a good quality baby carrier whenever possible can help take the stress off of your body.
To maximize the benefits of chiropractic treatment, Dr. Louie encourages her patients to do mobility and posture exercises which are designed to improve mobility, reduce your symptoms and speed up healing. After the mobility and posture exercises, clients move on to strength-based exercises for better posture, balance and strength to help prevent any future injuries.
Mind Body Spine provides total body care, from the initial assessment to treatment, nutritional counselling, personalized exercise recommendations—a full scope of support to treat and prevent injury. For more tips on strengthening your core to lessen your back pain, book an appointment online at our clinic in Victoria, BC, or give us a call at 250-885-2320.