The human race is unique in that we have a body geared for a lifetime of upright walking on two legs, rather than four. Our early primate ancestors phased out their tree-bound lifestyle in favor of running and hunting game, and this meant having an upright form featuring an S-shaped spine, long and hard leg bones, arched feet, and an upright pelvic bone. Such an upright form gives humanity many advantages, though this posture does come at a cost. Standing upright means fighting gravity quite acutely, and this puts wear and tear on the joints and spine, even in modern times. Chronic pain in the back, spine, hips, knees, and ankles is quite common around the world, and that certainly includes the United States. For the most part, non invasive medicine such as rehab tools and systems, functional assessment equipment at a hospital, chiropractic adjusting tools, and even massages and yoga can help address a patient’s back pain or joint stiffness. Only serious cases call for surgery; otherwise, a patient may fully recover with functional assessment equipment and the aid of a hospital therapist, no scalpels needed.
Back Pain Statistics and Trends
Naturally, many surveys and studies are done each year to track the current state of American public health, and some trends have emerged in the arena of back pain and spinal issues. In fact, lower back pain is the second most common reason why Americans visit their doctor, behind only upper respiratory issues. The number show that at any given time, 31 million people are dealing with back pain, and around 50% of all working class Americans admit to getting back pain symptoms every year. One in three women and one in four men deal with this pain, and experts say that 80% of the population may experience back pain at some point in their lives. Chiropractors get plenty of patients, usually around 27 million each year. A chiropractic adjustment will take place nearly one million times in each business day.
Why is all this back pain happening? Some surveyed Americans blame ongoing stress for their back pain, and many pregnant woman may experience back issues during the later stages of their pregnancy. Years of working hard manual labor jobs can also wear out a person’s joints and back, such as construction work, and this will likely lead to chronic back pain later in life. Suffering a sports accident or getting into a car wreck can also strain or injure the spine, causing pain and stiffness. Meanwhile, simple old age can also impair a person’s spine, since they have spent a long time walking upright and their spine wears out, collapsing on itself and hunching forwards. This can cause stiffness in the joints, not to mention pinch nerves and strain the muscles. Hence, chronic pain and limited mobility.
Treatment Methods for Back and Spine Issues
Only serious cases of spine injuries call for invasive surgery and medicine. Imagine a patient in the hospital who suffered a sports or exercise-related back injury, and now, they need physical therapy (or PT) at the hands of a therapist. With the aid of functional assessment equipment, the patient may perform a variety of exercises and activities to restore their mobility, strength, and balance. Such functional assessment equipment may include motion capture cameras, which can record range of motion data and upload it to a computer. The therapist can study the data in order to assess the patient’s recovery and adjust their therapy routine if need be. The patient can also stretch out elastic cords or bands, to measure that patient’s range of motion, muscle strength, and pain threshold. Handheld devices can administer physical strikes on the patient’s vertebrae or muscles without breaking the skin, and help relieve tension and restore mobility in different parts of the body.
Many Americans will get a referral from their doctor to visit a chiropractor, and the chiropractor can use simple adjustment tools and even their bare hands to readjust the patient’s bones and muscles. This work will relieve pressure on nerves and joints, loosen up muscles, and clear up pain. Many patients get similar results when they undergo private yoga sessions and perform various bends and poses to loosen up the body and relieve pressure.