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Chronic Back Pain Conditions That Affect Mostly Women

I am woman, hear me roar– or shriek from back pain, if you are one of the many women who battle an aching back on a regular basis.

Ladies, we’ll give you the disappointing news first: studies have shown that there are a handful of back conditions that tend to affect women more than men. It’s a bummer that your gender marker could automatically make you more susceptible to certain painful conditions. Perhaps even a little unfair?

So for our female readers suffering from chronic, nagging back pain, we offer this post in hopes that you’ll take heart in learning conservative care and preventative options exist. Let’s delve into the more common back conditions that affect women in particular.

Fibromyalgia

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fibromyalgia is twice as common in women as it is in men. Disappointingly, the cause of fibromyalgia is largely unknown and there is no known cure. Though hormonal levels may play a role, there has yet to be conclusive evidence found in research to support this theory. However, there are constructive ways to treat the pain and achiness for a better quality of life.  And that’s a huge win!

Just what is “fibromyalgia?” It’s a condition that causes aching and pain all over the body, and is generally chronic in nature. Some of the more common symptoms include: extreme fatigue, sleep trouble, headaches, and numbness or tingling of the hands and feet. Because the nature of each case can differ significantly, treatment in turn needs to be customized.

So where do you start? Figuring out what’s best for you can be tricky, but as you learn more about your condition and how your body reacts to treatment, you’re better prepared to make adjustments and plan for the future. Basic home care is a good place to begin, including:

  • Getting good quality sleep–you’ve no doubt heard the importance of sleep a million times before, but it’s true. Your body needs sleep to recover and heal, particularly when you’re trying to ward off aches and pains.
  • Reducing stress— we know…easier said than done. Helpful practices often include practicing meditation and potentially seeking counseling for more extreme cases.
  • Exercising regularly, even if that just means walking around your neighborhood.

Though fibromyalgia can happen seemingly randomly, you should also be aware of the more common triggers. For women, the hormonal changes that happen during menopause and pregnancy can sometimes flare up an already existing fibromyalgia case. Extreme stress, both short and long-term, as well as drastic changes in weather, can also touch off this condition.

Compression Fractures From Osteoporosis

This is a big one, especially in women who are approaching, are in, or past menopause. In fact, of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, a whopping 80% are female. Women in general have smaller, thinner bones than their male counterparts. Couple that with the sharp decline in estrogen (a hormone that greatly contributes to bone health) during menopause, and the risk for fracture significantly increases.

Compression fractures from osteoporosis usually happen in the front of the spine, collapsing an already thinned bone. This leads to sharp acute pain in the back, that can turn chronic when left untreated. If you’re experiencing acute back pain that was not present before, seek medical attention. Compression fractures often go misdiagnosed as general back pain; pay close attention to your symptom patterns so that you can help give your practitioner the full story.

To treat a compression fracture with conservative care, a couple of days of bed rest immediately following the fracture are generally recommended. However, be careful not to stay inactive for too long, as this can worsen the overall effect of osteoporosis and put you at risk for other fractures. Some back bracing can help under the instruction of a doctor, as well as some gentle physical therapy exercises.

How Chiropractic Can Help Women With Back Pain

When you’ve tried home care and it just isn’t providing sufficient relief, you’re experiencing more intense pain on a more frequent basis, or, when you want a more proactive approach to preventing back pain altogether, it’s time to seek professional care. Chiropractic care can provide the relief you are seeking. Gentle, chiropractic adjustments help to alleviate pressure in your joints and allow your entire body to function better, provided there is no fracture present. Plus, your practitioner can recommend the best at-home exercises to keep your healing on the track outside of the office, beneficial for both fracture and non-fracture cases.


Ladies, you know the importance of taking care of you; schedule your chiropractic appointment online.



This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

Fatherhood Is Tough: 5 Tips To Protect Dad From Back Pain

When you’re a dad (or a grandfather, uncle or family friend), having active young kids in your life can bring on the back pain before you even realize it.

Between tossing the kids in the air, playing a game of airplane, or even taking a break to work on your golf swing, there are plenty of opportunities to accidentally strain your back.

Being sidelined due to lower back pain is never fun;  fortunately, there are a few, simple everyday tweaks you can make. Just in time for Father’s Day, we’re sharing 5 tips to avoid an aching back.

1. Model good posture for your kids (and yourself!).

Do you have memories of your own parents or grandparents reminding you not slouch? It turns out they were onto something, perhaps more than they knew. Improving your posture can prevent back pain.

Whether you’re standing or sitting down (including in the car), try your best to keep your spine straight, your shoulders back, and your abdominal muscles engaged.

When you’re seated, also remember to keep both feet flat on the floor. Crossing your legs might feel comfortable at the moment, but it’s actually putting pressure on your muscles so they can’t properly line up, leading to back pain.

2. Keep playtime pain-free.

Let’s face it: even the fun, playful parts of day-to-day life with children can sometimes cause physical wear and tear—lower back pain and stiffness, shoulder strain, neck tightness, tension headaches, and more.

How can you cut down on these risks?

Lift with your legs! When you lean forward with straight legs to pick up your child (or a heavy object) the hamstrings stretch tightly. This means your lower back, now overstretched itself, starts doing all the work involved in lifting and might become pinched and strained. Lifting with your legs is a simple and powerful technique for preventing this.

Bend at the knees. When you’re scooping up your children to toss them in the air, don’t forget to keep your knees bent. On the way back up, use your thigh muscles and avoid twisting your midsection.

Keep bending to a minimum. Instead of hunching over or bending while playing with your kids, get on your knees or sit down with them. Bonus: you’ll be able to connect with them even better from down on their level.

3. Breathe in, breathe out.

Many people carry stress-related stiffness in their shoulders and back. Have you noticed your shoulders rising when you’re feeling less than relaxed? Take a few moments to lower your shoulders back into place and take a deep breath.

Who knew releasing stress and healing your back pain could be as simple as focused breathing? It’s all about noticing when you need a few refreshing moments and giving yourself permission to take a break, on Father’s Day and all year round.

4. Give some thought to your mattress.

A high-quality mattress is hugely important when it comes to healing and preventing back pain. When you go to sleep tonight, ask yourself whether your mattress is too firm. If the answer is yes, your body will be in rigid positions all night that can lead to back pain.

On the other hand, if your mattress is too soft and pillowy, your body won’t be fully supported. Your ligaments and muscles are then forced to stretch beyond their comfort zones which causes – you guessed it – back pain.

Your mission is to find a mattress that provides enough support but is also comfortable enough for you to relax. A mattress is, of course, a major purchase, so take your time and give it some thought.

5. Stretch it out.

A perfect beginner stretch to strengthen your back is called the Seated Spinal Twist. It also opens your hips and shoulders.

  1. Have a seat on the floor with your legs straightened in front of you. Bend your knees, putting your feet on the floor. Then slide your left foot under your right leg until it touches the outside of your right hip.
  2. Laying the outside of your left leg on the floor, step your right foot over your left leg. Your right knee should now be pointing at the ceiling.
  3. Exhale, twisting toward the inside of your right thigh. Press your right hand against on floor behind you, placing your left upper arm on the outside of your right thigh. Pull your front torso and inner right thigh together, pressing your inner right foot into the floor. Lean your torso back slightly while you continue to lengthen your tailbone into the floor.


Stay in this position for one minute while taking controlled inhalations and long exhalations. Then repeat with the other leg.

Many of these tips for preventing and healing back pain might seem simple, yet they can be tough to remember when life with your family gets busy! Never forget you always have an example of the perfect back alignment and posture whenever you need it: your child’s.

Most children naturally have the very aligned, relaxed back and unrolled shoulders we should all be aiming for. As a dad, you teach your children many lessons – but this might be an invaluable lesson you can learn from them.


Happy Father’s Day!


Summer is a perfect time to book an appointment online. If you’re experiencing back pain, a stiff neck or other joint pain, schedule an initial examination online.



This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

What Causes Lower Back Pain (And What To Do Next)

Everyone’s lower back pain is unique. Pain can come on suddenly or build over time, increase when sitting or lying down, or at other times it seems to follow you everywhere you go.

Regardless of your exact pain, everyone who suffers from lower back pain has one thing in common: you want it gone. And now. While most cases of low back muscle strain subside naturally within a couple of hours to a few days, if your pain has continued for more than a week or two, it’s time to seek medical attention.

First, let’s discuss the different types of lower back pain and the underlying causes.


Sciatica

The term sciatica describes leg pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness that starts off in your lower back and travels down the sciatic nerve in the back of each leg. Sciatica isn’t a medical diagnosis but is a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

You might be experiencing sciatica nerve pain if your pain is:

  • In just one side of your buttock, or in one leg
  • Worse when you’re sitting down
  • Best described as burning, tingling vs.  a dull ache
  • Making it hard to move your leg, foot, and/or toes


Lower Spinal Disc Pain

Disc pain is most common in the lower back, where most spinal movement and weight-bearing activities occur. There are many different terms used to describe issues with a spinal disc and disc pain, including:

  • Herniated, slipped, or bulging disc
  • Pinched nerve
  • Ruptured/torn disc
  • Disc protrusion

There are also two ways a spinal disc can result in lower back pain:

  • Disc pain. Sometimes the disc itself degenerates to the point of causing spinal segments to become unstable. This can result in chronic, low-level pain around the disc mixed in with bouts of more severe pain.
  • Pinched nerve. Most of the time it’s not the disc itself causing lower back pain,  it’s the material leaking out of the disc. This material pinches and irritates nerves in the area, producing sharp, shooting pains that radiate to other parts of the body.


Spinal Arthritis

Stiffness and lower back pain can often be traced back to spinal arthritis. This type of lower back pain moves in a distinct cycle throughout the day, such as:

  • The lower back pain and stiffness are worst first thing in the morning.
  • Over the course of the day, the pain becomes more tolerable.
  • When evening comes, the pain and stiffness get worse.
  • Pain that disrupts sleep is often an indicator of osteoarthritis.

There’s also localized tenderness when you press down on the affected area of the spine. You might also experience pinching, tingling, or numbness in the spinal cord, which happens when bone spurs form at the edge of the joints of the spine and irritate the nerves.


Pulled Lower Back Muscle

A pulled lower back muscle is the culprit in most episodes of lower back pain. It happens when the soft tissues supporting the lower spine, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments, become damaged. Pain usually comes on suddenly and can often be linked to a specific event or activity.

A pulled back muscle might sound like a minor injury, but the pain and muscle spasms that result can be severe. The soft tissues in your lower back help support weight from the upper body. When they’re under too much stress, the low back muscles or soft tissues become injured.

Symptoms from a pulled lower back muscle include:

  • Strained muscles that feel sore, tight, or achy.
  • Pain that gets worse the more you move. You might also feel stiffness when you try to walk or stand.
  • Pain concentrated in the lower back. Pain from a pulled muscle doesn’t travel to other parts of the body.
  • Inflammation that feels tender to the touch.
  • Temporary pain relief when you’re resting.

It’s not uncommon to experience occasional pain flare-ups for up to 4 to 6 weeks after the lower back injury.


Non-surgical Treatments for Lower Back Pain

Fortunately, there is a broad range of non-surgical treatment options available, each one with the goal of relieving pain caused by a compressed nerve root.

A few of the more common measures include:

  • Apply ice – then heat if necessary. If you’ve had an injury (an acute event) or new pain, first try ice to reduce the inflammation. If the pain persists beyond 72 hours, then you may want to try heat or alternating cold and heat.
  • Pain medications. Over-the-counter or prescription medications are often effective in reducing lower back pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or oral steroids can reduce the inflammation that is usually part of the cause of pain. Muscle relaxants or narcotics may also be prescribed for up to 2 weeks to help with the pain.
  • Epidural steroid injections. When the pain is severe, an epidural steroid injection can also reduce inflammation. The injection goes directly into the painful area around the nerve.


Chiropractic Treatment for Lower Back Pain

You may have heard the term “subluxation” used by chiropractors to describe the abnormal position of the vertebra that causes discomfort or pain and can restrict movement. Chiropractors view subluxation – and your lower back pain – as a process, rather than a fixed condition.

Chiropractic treatment for lower back pain usually involves some type of manual therapy:

  • Spinal manipulation and manual manipulation. Widely known as a chiropractic adjustment, gentle pressure is applied to the abnormal vertebra to help reduce nerve irritability and restore range of motion in the back.
  • Mobilization refers to a lower-velocity manipulation that stretches the muscles and joints, increasing the range of motion.

A key part of any successful chiropractic treatment plan involves getting to know the patient and setting achievable goals. The treatment plan is built around the patient’s pain issues and stamina and includes exercise, activity modification and more, all working together to banish your lower back pain for good.



Hey, we get it. You’re experiencing lower back pain and are seeking answers as to what might be causing it. This article isn’t intended to provide diagnosis or treatment – there’s no substitute for professional consultation about your specific symptoms. Don’t let lower back pain keep you down any longer –  contact us to schedule an appointment online.

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