You probably don’t want to hear it, but if you have been dealing with back pain for longer than 2-6 weeks, it likely isn’t going away on its own.
There are 2 general categories of back pain, acute and chronic.
Acute back pain may last from a few days to a few weeks and is often caused by sudden injury to the soft tissue of the back. Pain may be caused by muscle spasms or a strain or tear in the muscles and ligaments. You know, the kind of strain or tear you get when you shovel snow for several hours after the first winter storm or when you jump into a basketball game after watching from the sidelines for several years. Acute back pain often resolves on its own with rest, ice or heat, and possibly over the counter medication for inflammation. It can be inconvenient, but given enough time, the muscle or ligament injury generally resolves on its own.
But sometimes it doesn’t. Back pain that lasts longer than 6-12 weeks is considered chronic and is one of the main reasons people visit their doctor, second only to colds and flu. It accounts for up to 264 million lost work days per year and is the leading cause of disability. Without proper help, chronic back pain generally does not improve on its own and may be with you for years, limiting your ability to work and enjoy life.
We see a lot of people with chronic low back pain here in the clinic. Many of them come with a diagnosis of degenerative, bulging, or herniated disc conditions, stenosis, sciatica, or even possible fusions in their future. A diagnosis can describe what is changing in the spine and contributing to pain, but it often does little to describe WHY the changes are happening and what can be done to reverse them.
That is where we come in.
The root cause of most back pain is not in the spine. Yet most back pain solutions focus on the back of the body. Some even focus solely on the area of pain.
You may find temporary relief with chiropractic adjustments, massage, heat, ice, or acupuncture. But any solution that ignores the role and health of the connective (myofascial) tissue system of the body will only ever be temporary in its results. Back problems happen when connective tissue tightens, thickens, glues, and adheres anywhere in the body, pulling bony structures into misalignment, twisting through the spine, neck, ribs, pelvis, and shoulders, and eventually showing up as low back pain. When left unaddressed, the body compensates for these misalignments and connective tissue thickens even more to support them. It can be a downward spiral.
Getting a back that is strong and feels good is not difficult when you properly address connective (myofascial) tissue restrictions and the resulting misalignments in the entirety of the body, instead of ignoring and pushing through them.
When back pain doesn’t go away on its own, it likely won’t without some expert help addressing troubles in the connective tissue system and their effect on the entirety of your body. Thorough resolution will require a recovery program that helps reset the autonomic nervous system and tension levels of the body, restores fluidity and plasticity to the fascial system, and retrains movement and strength in a more proper alignment.
If you are struggling with back pain, please don’t ignore what is happening in your body. There is much you can do to get started on your own. And when you are ready for more help, let’s talk.
My kids have heard me say for years that sitting is evil! It is one of the quickest ways for me to a head that aches and throbs and a low back that is stiff and sore. Sometimes, sitting for even a few hours is enough to trigger a low back ache. I think most