Back Pain From Neck To Tailbone

What is Back Pain?

Chronic Back Pain

Chronuc Back Pain

Back pain is a very common medical problem that people will experience at some point in their lives. For certain reasons some will be more prone that others. Back pain can be divided into neck pain, upper back pain, middle back pain and lower back pain. Back pain may be moderate or severe, quick or constant.

Back Pain Facts

Half of all working Americans have back pain symptoms each year. Back pain is one of the most common excuses for missed work and the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s clinic. Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain.


  • Sudden and piercing sensation in the neck, upper back, middle, or lower back — especially after some strenuous activities or lifting heavy objects.
  • Recurring ache, stiffness or numbness anywhere from the base of the neck to the hips.
  • Persistent ache in the lower or middle back, especially after sitting or standing for long periods.
  • Unable to stand straight without having intense muscle spasms in the low back.
  • Pain that radiates to the buttock and down the leg.

The most common type of back pain is Acute Pain which last less than 6 weeks. These forms of back pains usually recover on their own. If it gets worse and does not respond to back pain treatments, such as pain relievers, using ice or heat, back pain exercises, and rest, then it is advisable to consult a doctor.  If the back pain lasts more than three months then it is considered as Chronic Pain.


Our back is made up of a complex structure of bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons and disks. Back pain occurs when there are problems associated with any of these component parts including the following:

Structural and mechanical problems

  • Ruptured Disks.  Disks cushion the vertebrae in your spine. The soft material inside a disk may sometime swell or rupture and press on a nerve.
  • Tense Muscles
  • Spasms


  • Strained muscles and ligaments
  • Heavy lifting
  • Wrong sitting or standing posture
  • Sudden awkward movement
  • Falls and accidents

 Medical conditions

  • Scoliosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney stones
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Endometriosis
  • Infections
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress
  • Spine cancer

Caudia Equina syndrome (This is a serious neurological problem that cause weakness in the legs, numbness in the groin area, and loss of bowel or bladder control.)

Who Are At Risk Of Getting It?

  • Ageing.  Older people are more prone to getting back pain, especially when you above 30 years old.
  • Poor physical fitness.
  • Obesity. Too much weight can stress your back causing tension and pain.
  • Occupation. Laborious jobs that require you have to lift, push, or pull heavy things while twisting your spine or mundane desk jobs that require you to sit or stand for long periods.
  • Sports. People who are active in sport, whether professional or leisure, are prone to getting back injuries, especially sport that involves the upper body.
  • Heredity. Some people suffer from a genetic form of arthritis that affects the spine
  • Gender and Race. Black women are more prone to suffer from lower back pain than white women.
  • People who Smoke.
  • People who suffer from Stress, Anxiety and Depression.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Your doctor will normally check your medical history and perform a physical examination including:

  • Evaluate your ability to sit, stand, squat, walk and lift your legs
  • Test your reflexes with a rubber reflex hammer

Your doctor will determine through these preliminary assessments where the pain originate from. If the doctor believes you have a more serious condition like fracture, tumour or infection then one or more of the following tests may be required:

  • Blood and urine tests. This is to check if you have any infection or underlying diseases.
  • EMG (electromyography). This will check for herniated disks and whether the spinal passageway is narrowing (spinal stenosis).
  • X-ray. This is used to diagnose whether you have broken bones or spinal fractures. It will also check the alignment of your spine and look for degenerative diseases of the joints.
  • Bone scan. This will look for osteoporosis or tumours
  • Spinal taps. These are samplings of the fluid surrounding the spinal cord. Traces of pus, blood or high levels of protein can indicate infection or spinal disease.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans.

These scans are used to look for herniated disks and other disk abnormalities, joint enlargement and problems with ligaments, tendons, nerve and blood vessels.


There are many type of treatment for back pain and it all depends on what kind of pain you suffering from. Acute back pain usually gets better without any treatment, but to help ease the pain you may want to take paracetamol, aspirin, or ibuprofen and take a short rest.

If these over the counter drugs and pain relievers do not work then your doctor will probably suggest one or more of the following treatments and therapies.

Hot or Cold Packs (or Both)

Hot or cold packs can relieve sore, stiff backs. Heat reduces pain and muscle spasms. Cold numbs deep pain and reduces swelling. Using hot or cold packs only help to relieve pain, but this treatment will not cure chronic back pain.


Suitable exercises can help to soothe chronic pain but may not be appropriate for acute back pain. It is advisable to consult your doctor or physiotherapist for the best types of exercise to do.


Over-the-counter Analgesic drugs such as acetaminophen and aspirin or other prescribed pain medications. Topical analgesic creams, salves and ointments for application onto the skin over the area of pain.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, ketoprofen, and naproxen sodium to reduce both pain and swelling.

Muscle relaxants and some antidepressants such as amitriptyline may be prescribed for some types of chronic back pain.

Behaviour Changes

Learn to use less force when you lift, push, and pull heavy things to reduce the stress on your back. Exercise the right ways, learning to relax, and sleep can help to ease your back pain. Adopt a healthy eating habit and stop smoking will certainly help.


If other methods don’t work, your doctor may suggest steroid or numbing shots to lessen your pain. An anti-inflammatory drug known as cortisone may be injected around your spinal cord to reduce your pain, but this is usually a temporary solution.

Alternative and Complementary Treatments

 There are many alternative treatments to help ease your back pain. The more popular ones are:

Chiropractic Care.

Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation to restore mobility to joints and align the musculoskeletal structure so that the body can heal itself without surgery.


This Chinese practice inserts thin sterilized needles at certain points on your body. These points are connected by pathways which create a flow of energy called Qi. This has the effect of correcting any imbalance of Qi and enhances the flow of energy which helps relieve pain and restore health.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS).

This involves sending mild electrical pulses to electrodes pasted on the body. The pulses are transmitted through wires from a small battery-powered unit. The frequency and intensity of this treatment depends on the nature of your back pain. However this technique has not been scientifically proven.


A good massage may help loosen your overworked muscles and help you to relax. This is usually a short term relief.

Inversion Therapy

Inversion therapy involves hanging upside down, taking gravitational pressure off the nerve roots and disks in your spine. This effectively stretches your spine to help relieve your back pain. This technique does not offer permanent relief for back pain and may not be safe for everyone, especially those with certain medical conditions.


Yoga teaches you how to move and stretch your body in different styles. These styles offer great health benefits by developing your flexibility, strength, and balance. It also helps people to concentrate their energy on breathing and maintaining posture. The breathing increases oxygen flow to the brain and create a rhythm within the body and mind. All these, together with meditation will help you to dissipate stress and anxiety, therefore, relieving your back pain.

Herbal Treatments

Studies have shown that some herbal treatments are helpful in reducing back pain.

  • Willow bark (Salix alba)

This is the bark of the white willow tree and has pain-relieving properties similar to aspirin.

  • Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbent)

Is useful in fighting inflammation or relieve pain in arthritis, headache, and low back pain.

  • Capsaicin Cream or Plaster

Capsaicin cream is found to be effective in reducing the amount of  substance P, a neurochemical that transmits pain–causing an analgesic effect.

Back Pain Surgery

Unless your back pain is really bad or if the situation is an emergency, surgery is usually the last resort. Surgery is suggested only if all other treatment options have been tried and tested do not work. Minimally invasive surgery is often used for common symptoms and causes of back pain.

Depending on the condition of your back pain, you can opt for one of several different types of traditional spine surgical procedures including:

  • Discetomy. This is performed when you have a torn or herniated intervertebral disc. The protruding disc that is putting pressure on the nerve root is removed.
  • Fusion. This procedure unites two or more vertebrae by using bone grafts and metalwork to provide more strength. Depending on the age and fitness level of the patient, recovery may take up to one year.
  • Laminectomies. This procedure relieves the pressure on the nerves, by trimming excessive lamina thereby enlarging the spinal canal. Recovery ranges from 2 to 6 months.
  • Removal of Tumour. This relieves the pressure on the nerve and also to prevent it from spreading. Recovery depends on the type and size of tumour and the general health of the patient.

All the Chronic Back Pain remedies  covered here are the common options and can be effective if used and performed correctly. However, if you have tried most of them and your back pain refuse to go away, then it is time to consult your spine doctor. There may be an underlying medical condition that is causing the back pain. Only medical practitioners and back specialists are able to offer the best advice, diagnosis and appropriate treatment.




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Four Signs A Doctor Should Check Out Your Back Injury

Symptoms of back painBack injuries can result in a problem that goes beyond discomfort. It is beneficial to know when a back injury needs a doctor’s attention. Having the injury examined and treated will prevent more serious conditions from developing in the long run. Many painful conditions form from neglected back injuries. Different symptoms follow this type of injury. There are specific indicators that point to an urgency for medical attention. Below are four signs that your back injury needs medical attention.

Bowel and Bladder Issues

If you lose control of your bladder function and your bowel movements become irregular, it would be in your best interest to see a doctor about your injury. Other bladder and bowel-related issues that can show up are urine retention, constipation and rectal control loss. All of these issues point toward a more serious condition called cauda equina syndrome. Cauda equina syndrome happens when the nerve sac in the lower part of your spine is being compressed severely. Injuries can lead to this condition. You would find out more information about it and whether you are affected by it if you seek medical attention for it.


Spasticity is characterized by involuntary movements and spasms in your muscles. Some of the contractions happen in fast intervals. Other spasms are few at a time. If you are experiencing involuntary muscle spasms along with pain that radiates throughout your back or limbs, you should see a doctor about it immediately. Some back injuries can affect the spinal cord. Spasms are one of the first signs of a spinal cord injury.

Weakness in the Legs

Numbness and weakness in legs after a back injury are common. Chiropractic therapy treats these symptoms and the pain that accompanies them. Holistic treatments like those from Alberta Back & Neck Rehab in Calgary are a comfortable way to deal with nerve issues resulting from a back injury.

Sensory Shift

Altered consciousness and confusion are sure signs that you need to seek medical attention for your injury. Along with nerve problems, neurological conditions can result from back injuries. It is crucial to go to a doctor immediately if you have any heightened changes in perception, whether it is in your vision or your ability to perceive what is going on around you.


Every injury should be given professional attention and care to prevent any underlying issues from worsening. Your health can change based on how you handle the aftermath of your injuries. Seeking medical attention for the symptoms mentioned above will save you from unnecessary pain in the future.


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Common Elder Illnesses

As people age, our bodies naturally deteriorate. This is a normal part of life, and everyone should prepare for the eventuality that they will have a medical issue at some point in life, varying from inconsequential to severe. Below is a list of common elder illnesses that most elderly will have to face at some point in their lives. Each of these illnesses have a variety of care methods and impact on the elder’s life.


Cancer is the medical issue that everyone hopes to avoid, but many people have to deal with anyway. Cancer is a mutation of the cells that causes unhealthy tumors to grow and can eventually take over the body, causing death. Depending on where the cancer is located, cancer treatments vary. For gut-related cancers, an ostomy is sometimes necessary to protect the body. In these cases it’s really important to secure the ostomy supplies. Common treatments for cancer include radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and hormone shots that deter the growth of cancer cells.  Cancer can have a huge impact on an elder’s life. Many cancer patients must give up normal routines until cancer treatments are completed because the treatments are hard on the body.


Alzheimer’s is the dreaded disease of the brain that causes memory loss. There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, which makes this disease one of the worst that any elder can face. Side effects of Alzheimer’s can include wandering, memory loss, and even hallucinations. Since Alzheimer’s is a deterioration of the mind, treatment for the disease includes increased medical care, increased care giving, and the eventual need for constant medical attention and care.


Parkinson’s disease is a disease of the nerves that causes the body to shake uncontrollably. There are varying degrees of Parkinson’s disease ranging from slight tremors to severe shaking that makes it impossible to function normally. Usually a doctor will prescribe a medication to help reduce the tremors so an elder can lead a more normal life. Occasionally, surgery is preformed to improve the condition. If Parkinson’s disease is severe, an elder may require hospitalization or constant nursing care to function.

Hearing loss

Hearing loss affects nearly all elderly. Hearing loss ranges in severity from mild hearing loss to complete loss of hearing. Luckily, there are many implants and medical procedures that can help elders hear well throughout their lives. A variety of implants and procedures are available for each specific type of hearing loss. The biggest change to an elder’s life with hearing loss is the need to keep the ear piece tuned in so they can communicate with the rest of the world. In severe cases, it may be necessary for an elder to stop driving because of hearing loss.

Heart disease

Heart disease is a problem that occurs due to poor diet in earlier years. Heart disease can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, and a variety of other heart-related problems. In general, with careful monitoring and diet changes it is possible to manage heart disease. Most doctors will prescribe medications that will help keep the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and heart attacks down. As long as an elder leads a healthy lifestyle and takes his or her medications, there is little disruption to daily life due to this health issue.

Caring for the elderly is a daunting task, but with the right tools and training, anyone can do it. If your loved ones suffer from any of the above health problems, you can provide excellent care by speaking with the elder’s doctor and following any instructions that the doctor gives you for helping the elder in your life. With modern medical science, caring for the elderly is easier and better than ever, which greatly improves the quality of life for elders in their declining years.

By contributing author Richard O.

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Should I Try Prolotherapy For Back Pain

Prolotherapy is a relatively new alternative treatment for relieving pain in different parts of the body. It involves injecting a substance (usually a sugar solution) into the affected area. The body then reacts to the solution by triggering its natural healing mechanism via an acute inflammatory response. It is mostly indicated for joints, tendons, or ligaments. So, you are more likely to receive a prolotherapy treatment in your knee than anywhere else. Some practitioners, however, have suggested that prolotherapy can work for treating low back pain, despite mixed results in the evidence pool. If you have low back pain and you’re thinking about proloterapy as an alternative, then you should really consult a doctor beforehand.

Many studies have indicated that prolotherapy has little or no positive result on easing low back pain in patients when it is used on its own. Sufferers of chronic low back pain who tried prolotherapy treatments (and only those treatments) did not report major benefits. Prolotherapy has been shown to relieve pain in knees and other joints successfully on its own. Still, the effectiveness of prolotherapy for low back pain is suspect.

Some patients have reported that prolotherapy actually can work well in conjunction with other treatments. Exercises, spinal manipulation, and massage have all helped bolster the effects of prolotherapy to a certain degree. Of course, it’s unclear whether prolotherapy actually had any hand in improving back pain or if the combination of other treatments provided the bulk of the pain relief. That is to say, patients could have received back pain relief from something provable like exercise or even spinal manipulation and not prolotherapy itself. Since we know that prolotherapy offers negligible upsides for low back pain on its own, it is easy to suggest that prolotherapy has little or no effect at all (even when combined with other treatments).

Prolotherapy also comes with some attendant risks that you will not find from other treatments. Mild pain, bleeding at the site of the injection, and numbness are all side effects that come with the territory of prolotherapy. In most cases, these side effects are rare or very mild and can be treated with acetaminophen. Other theoretical side effects include:

  • Bruising
  • Allergic reactions
  • Light-headedness
  • Infection
  • Damage to the nerves

While these reactions are exceedingly rare, there is still a possibility that they could occur during a prolotherapy session. Back pain, spinal pain, neck pain, and other issues have also been reported with prolotherapy, but that is a common experience with most injection-based treatments.

In the end, it may not be worth it to try prolotherapy if you want relief from your back pain. It is an as yet unproven treatment that does not produce much improvement in terms of back pain. If you suffer from back pain, you may be better served going more traditional routes for your treatment. Talk to a doctor about what is your best course of action before trying any alternative treatments. Prolotherapy might work for knees and other joints, but it is still inconclusive for back pain sufferers.

Author: Michelle Sims is a proponent of prolotherapy after being a patient of such and obtaining favorable results. She recommend consulting with your doctor before moving forward with such therapy as prolotherapy is not right for everyone.

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Walking Backwards Helps Alleviate Back Pain?

It’s fairly common knowledge that walking has major health benefits. Simply going for a stroll is something that has been proven to enhance health, improve mood, and even reduce back pain. Despite all these health benefits, walking is hardly a number one passion for many people. The fact that it can improve back pain is also an under-reported benefit of walking. But, what you might not know is that a specific type of walking could actually provide the same (or better) benefits to the back.

A U.S. Airman walks on a treadmill during a gait analysis appointment at the 628th Medical Operations Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, S.C 130108-F-GE255-020

In general, walking is good for the back for a variety of reasons. It helps loosen up and stretch out the muscles, and it also simply helps your brain focus less on the back pain. When you start walking, your brain starts to prioritize the larger nerve endings in your legs. Since the nerve endings in your back are smaller, the “pain” signal from the brain is not prioritized and it never gets to the back. Walking is also known to release endorphins and serotonin which both make you feel good mentally and physically. So, the scientific basis behind the health advantages of walking is certainly there.

But it may surprise you to learn that walking backwards also has the same health benefits for your back. Although walking backwards isn’t easy to master, it has been shown to significantly reduce back pain in those suffering from lower back problems. One study followed participants (some of whom had back pain and some of whom didn’t) as they walked backward on a treadmill for at least 15 minutes every day. The group of participants who had back pain all showed marked improvements over the course of three weeks. All of the people with back pain also saw a decrease in shock attenuation (the measurement of the effect that each footfall has on the body).

The reasons for this are rather clear. Walking backwards forces you to toe hitting the ground first rather than your heel. So, you’re not putting as much pressure on either your feet or your entire body. This can also be beneficial for the alignment of your pelvis and the alleviation of stress on your spinal discs. It is essentially like giving your body a little momentary buoyancy and it allows your back to loosen up and feel more comfortable. Of course, walking backwards and walking forwards both offer great health benefits, so you should probably mix in a combination of the two into your regimen.

All that being said, it’s important to be careful before you jump onto a treadmill and start walking backwards. The participants in the study mentioned above were all athletic and likely had good balance. Not everyone is as lithely built, so you’ll want to put in some practice and maybe have a spotter nearby if you want to try walking backwards on a regular basis. In any event, it’s an interesting health tip that could give you some relief from back pain. You might soon be walking backwards everywhere if it makes your back feel better.

Author: Lance Michaels is a personal trainer in Indianapolis, Indiana. He spends most of his time helping people gain strength while alleviating pain associated with working out.

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Problems Caused By Sciatica

problems associated with sciaticaThe sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It starts at the back of your pelvis running down your backside, down the back of your legs all the way to your feet. Because this nerve is so incredibly long it can have a tendency to cause a lot of problems and pain for you.

The effects of a problematic sciatic nerve would be pain that can be constant and possibly shooting across the lower back or down the leg, tightness in the back and legs and numbness.


The sciatic nerve is the nerve that comes out of the spinal cord from the lower back. It is formed by all of the nerve roots. If that nerve were to become pinched or have pressure on it, or if it has suffered some irritation, your body reacts by exhibiting pain, weakness, tingling or numbness. This kind of pain can in fact be debilitating for many people. The pain can last as long as a few months if left untreated.

The pain can actually continually get worse and you could feel pain by doing very simple bodily functions such as sneezing, coughing or laughing. Some everyday activities that can also make the sciatica worse would be activities such as bending backwards or standing for long periods of time.

Sciatica doesn’t so much affect the back itself but the pain usually occurs in the general area of the lower back. It can cause pain down the legs and into your feet. Some other symptoms of sciatica may even be muscle weakness and loss of reflexes in the tendons.

Some of the not so typical causes of sciatica may be that of the following: Pregnancy, when the weight of the baby causes pressure on the nerve; unusual growth in the spine; spinal injury; and infection.


The cause of sciatica that is seen by most doctors and chiropractors would be that of a slipped or possibly herniated disc. To understand how this happens you must first understand how the spine is built. The spine itself is bone, which we call vertebrae. The vertebrae protect the nerves and it’s crucial that they do so. In between each of the vertebrae is a disc called a fibrocartilage cushion. This cushion has a gel-like substance inside of it.

Sometimes due to injury or even sitting in the wrong position for long periods of time, this disc can split or bulge and thereby cause pressure on the nerve. These gel-like discs tend to get harder as we age so it’s more likely that they get damaged in our later years.


There are medical physical tests that can be done to diagnose whether you have sciatica or not. A simple test that a medical professional can do with you is to have to lay flat on your back, then lift your leg up in the air straight in front of you. If you have sciatica this motion alone may cause excruciating pain. The doctor may also ask you to flex your foot while raised. That can also initiate the pain that is caused by the problem nerve.

In most cases when you start having problem with your sciatic nerve you would make an appointment to see your doctor or chiropractor. However, in certain circumstances it is advised to seek emergency help. If you lose control of your bladder or bowels; if you have numbness in your buttocks and your lower back and legs, or if you feel weakness in your leg and foot that could cause you to stumble, then you would want to seek urgent care.


There are certain ways you can prevent sciatica. One thing to be aware of is the way that you sit. You should maintain good posture with your feet on the floor or elevated slightly and not sit on one leg with it bent beneath you. This position pulls on the spine and can cause sciatica. Another tip is to make sure when you lift objects that you take your time and lift properly with your legs and not with your back. Make sure you get regular exercise that is low impact for you, such as swimming or walking.

Whenever you realise that a problem with your sciatica or your back exists, it’s imperative that you seek a professional to help diagnose and cure the problem as soon as possible so that it does not worsen.


By Geoff Roy

Geoff Roy provides advice on back pain and sciatica treatment.

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