The human skeleton is the product of millions of years of evolution, and human beings can do something even our closest primate ancestors cannot: walk upright for a lifetime. Our early ancestors gave up their vegetarian, tree-bound lifestyle to start running and hunting game as the rainforests of Africa shrank, and the human form adapted. By now, the human skeleton features an S-shaped spine, an upright pelvis, long leg bones, and arched feet, all geared for a lifetime of walking and running upright. This gave our ancestors many advantages, but this body form does takes its toll. An upright body is fighting gravity acutely, and this can cause arthritis in the knees or ankles, and chronic back pain, too. Fortunately, only major spine injuries call for surgery, and regular cases of back or spinal pain can be handled with non invasive medicine. Modern rehab tools and systems, such as range of motion testing gear and algometers, can help a hospital therapist get a patient on track for recovery. Such gear can also test pain thresholds in patients. A chiropractor, meanwhile, may use a chiropractic adjusting tool, no surgery needed.
Rates and Causes of Lower Back Pain
How often does back pain happen, and why? Chronic back pain is the most common form of physical disability around the world, and in the United States, it is the second most common reason why people see their doctor (behind only upper respiratory issues). Chronic pain can reduce a person’s pain thresholds when they move, and even impair their capacity to perform work. So, many studies and surveys are done every year to track how often back pain happens, and why.
The numbers show that around 31 million Americans suffer from back pain at any given time, and experts say that around 80% of the population will experience back pain symptoms at some point in their lives. One in three women and one in four men experience it each year, and the elderly in particular often experience lower back pain and spinal distress.
As for causes, a number of common ones have been identified. Some surveyed Americans blame ongoing stress for their back issues, and a pregnant woman may experience spinal distress during later stages of her pregnancy. And of course, years of hard manual labor (such as construction) will wear out and strain the spine and back, leading to increased odds of chronic back pain sooner or later. An accident, such as the trauma of a car crash or a sports injury, can distress many different bones or muscles in the body, and back pain may occur. Finally, the elderly often experience back pain simply because many years of fighting gravity has worn down their spine, which may collapse on itself somewhat. This can also cause the spine to bend over forwards, and the person will suffer low pain thresholds and limited mobility. Nerves may be pinched, and muscles will be strained or cramped. Fortunately, anyone of any age can turn to physical therapy from a hospital, yoga expert, or chiropractor, no surgery needed.
Fixing Back Issues
Someone who suffers from chronic back pain can visit their doctor, and get a referral to a local chiropractor or a yoga studio for help. A chiropractor will use a chiropractic adjustment tool and even their bare hands to readjust the patient’s bones and muscles, which can relieve pressure on nerves and joints, not to mention relax cramped or strained muscles. All this can clear up pain and restore the patient’s mobility and flexibility. Similar results may happen when the patient visits a yoga studio and performs stretches and poses to loosen up the body.
A hospital patient, such as someone who suffered a sports accident, can undergo physical therapy, or PT. This may involve practicing walking or standing upright, and various physical therapy tools can measure that patient’s pain thresholds and muscle strength. Stretching out large elastic bands will allow the patient to demonstrate their current pain thresholds, muscle strength, and range of motion. Also, motion capture cameras can help the therapist track the patient’s movements and study it with specialized software. All of this helps them accurately gauge the patient’s recovery.