Back pain problems generally fall into one of three groups. The first is an injury, such as a fall, automobile accident, or other trauma that affects the spine. Poor posture and problems with body mechanics such as improper lifting, improper bending or sitting or standing in a chronically slouched position are the second cause of back pain. Degenerative (wear and tear) problems such as disc disease or arthritis can also result in back pain.
The spine is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae. Between each vertebra is a disc of spongy cartilage meant to cushion the bones and act as a shock absorber. The spinal cord runs through a hole in the center of each vertebra and nerves run off the spinal cord along the length of the spine. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments stabilize the spine. The combination of flexibility and a lot of moving parts can contribute to back pain, as dysfunction in any of these structures can result in pain.
When back pain results from misalignments in the spine, a chiropractic adjustment can help relieve pain. The misalignment puts stress on the supporting structures, which changes the patient's posture and can directly contribute to muscle spasm. A chiropractic adjustment can correct the misalignment, which allows the muscles to relax. Chiropractors can also treat the tense muscles directly.
Many people have been dealing with back pain for a while by the time they see a chiropractor. They may have changed their posture or gait to accommodate the pain, which increases the stress on other muscles and ligaments in the back, knees, ankles, and hips. The muscles may have become shortened and won't stretch properly. The combination of these factors means that there is no simple answer to the question about recovery time. Although some patients may get relief from a single treatment, people with chronic back pain are more likely to need repeated treatments to correct the problems.
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