97-98% of back pain is mechanical in nature. This means 97-98% of back pain is caused by an issue with joints, muscles, ligaments or tendons and can be fully resolved when the cause is addressed. If the pain is masked by pain killers, the underlying cause of the pain may worsen and create significant problems down the road.
Pain is a signal something is wrong. It’s the body’s way of communicating dysfunction. It’s like the check engine light coming on in our car or a fire alarm sounding off in your house. Our joints typically send proprioceptive information to the brain, information regarding movement and position sense. If the joint becomes stuck and ceases sending proprioceptive information, it begins to send nociceptive, or pain signals to the brain. It is a phenomenal feedback mechanism! If the joint is not sending position information, it sends pain information. If you take a pain killer to block the pain signal, the cause of the pain will still be there, and may cause your condition to worsen over time.
Chemical, physical and emotional stressors in our environment can cause our vertebrae, the bones in our spine, to bend, shift or twist out of place. When this happens, muscles that connect to those bones will tighten up and prevent the joint from proper movement. When joints cease moving it creates a cascade of negative events. First of all metabolic waste from muscles builds up. Usually metabolites are pumped out through motion. Without adequate movement the waste will build up. These metabolites including hydrogen ions can stimulate pain receptors in the muscle, causing pain and more spasm. More spasm will further immobilize joints, starting the whole process over again. Additionally, without movement, ligaments and tendons can’t get the proper nutrition they need to heal properly. This may cause them to develop micro trauma and might lead to more serious injuries down the road. Dysfunctional joints can also lead to something much more serious than just pain.
If the bones in your spine are out of alignment, or are not moving in their proper range of motion, the nerves exiting your spine can become pinched. Every organ, cell and tissue in the body needs a clear channel of communication with the brain to live and thrive. It’s a rule of life. If you cut the nerve supply to your heart, it is not going to work. If you reduce the nerve supply to your heart, it simply can’t function at 100%. Every organ, cell and tissue in your body needs a 100% brain body connection to heal, function and operate correctly. When your body has anything less than 100% connection, that is when disease processes start. It only takes the weight of a dime, not much pressure at all, to reduce a nerve’s ability to send messages by 60%. When you are having back pain, and your vertebrae are locked up and your muscles are spasmed, all those nerves exiting the spine in that area may be pinched and not communicating properly.
Down the road, dysfunctional joints can create permanent damage to your spine. When we drive our car on tires that are out of alignment, what happens? Increased wear and tear. Over years of spinal misalignment, increased wear and tear can lead to bone spurs and degenerative disc disease. These can cause pain, serious neurological dysfunction like incontinence, and surgery. Keeping your spine in alignment and getting adjusted regularly by a chiropractor is critical if you want to be thriving later in life.
When a chiropractor adjusts your misaligned joints, you’ll get out of pain, but just know that the absence of pain does not equal proper function. Pain is the last thing to show up, and the first thing to go away. The real benefit of chiropractic is a properly functioning spine and nervous system, which can only be ensured through regular chiropractic care. Just like it’s smart to get exercise regularly, brush your teeth regularly, and eat nutritious food regularly, it’s healthy to get your spine checked out regularly as well. Get checked regularly for proper function of your spine and not only will you reduce discomfort, you will also set yourself up to live a long and healthy life.