Back pain is one of medicine’s anatomic enigmas. It’s often difficult to diagnose what causes the pain, even though it’s so common.
The diagnostic tests (like MRIs) can make things look even more confusing. People with lots of symptoms sometimes have normal-looking MRIs, while some experience no pain at all but their MRIs suggest terrible back pain.
About 20 percent of people under age 50 have MRI or CT scan evidence of degenerated spines and disc abnormalities. Same with at least 50 percent of people over 50. Yet not all these people have pain, which makes the issue more difficult.
For many sufferers, nutritional deficiencies promote inflammation and prevent them from making normal myelin nerve coatings. Even a little pressure from a twist of a disc then results in shooting nerve pain. It’s good to focus on the anti-inflammatory powers and your ability to coat your nerves with appropriate DHA-omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins.
Chiropractic treatments can be effective for back pain. The theory aims to realign vertebrae and establish normal spine mobility. This in turn alleviates the irritation to the nerves and surrounding muscles. Multiple sessions are normally required to alleviate pain.
These days, there are newer techniques that make back surgery a quick procedure. Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are minimally invasive procedures to fix a vertebra that has collapsed from cancer or osteoporosis.
The vertebra can be strengthened with a cement-like mixture that’s inserted through a tiny skin cut with special tools, under X-ray guidance. There’s a similar procedure done to burn the painful nerves inside the discs and reinforce the disc’s collagen fibers.
Nonetheless, back pain sufferers with neurologic complications should avoid surgery until they’ve worked with rehabilitation specialists or pain therapy for a few months. Surgery is rarely needed for lower-back pain, because of other therapies.
Fortunately, pinpointing the cause of the back pain isn’t what’s important. Concentrate on what you can do to alleviate the pain and prevent it from crippling you. The key is having some level of postural intelligence. Be aware of your posture and your core muscles. Then you can not only support your back, but also prevent other structural damage, like to your joints.
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