Back pain is one of the leading causes of disability throughout the world. The most recent estimates suggest that at least 80% of the population has at some point experienced back pain. Most of us can think back to one time or another when we felt that “twinge” or “threw our back out”. Certainly those of us who have had back pain know how truly painful and debilitating it can be. To compound the problem there are a wide array of signs and symptoms and a myriad of diagnoses associated with back pain that makes management difficult for healthcare providers and patients alike. Often times people suffer through back pain as part of daily living and give up hope that they will ever be free of back pain. Unfortunately this is also where healthcare providers struggle the most to help patients.

I have heard many people tell me that they have been dealing with back pain since that one time when they (insert event here) and now it has just become a way of life, in other words, chronic back pain. The most important message I relay to these people is to first and foremost make sure it’s not a more sinister specific type of back pain that differs from the usual pain and requires immediate attention. Typically a thorough history and physical evaluation with your healthcare provider will help draw out any suspicious findings, suggesting that your back pain requires immediate medical attention. Once you and your healthcare provider have ruled out any unusual circumstances, the question then becomes “what is causing my back pain anyway?”

What is Mechanical Back Pain?

Mechanical back pain is an umbrella term used to describe a non-specific type of back pain. The term mechanical back pain differs from more sinister disorders that present as specific entities such as tumours, rheumatological conditions, infections and trauma-related fractures. Mechanical back pain refers to pain that is generally caused by movement. There are numerous structures in the back that can cause pain during movement. Ligaments, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, joints, connective tissues and so on can often be the culprit of your back pain during movements.

Managing Mechanical Back Pain

The key to managing mechanical back pain is to be reassured that the acute flare-up type of pain is typically short-lived and that you’re not alone in the fight against chronic back pain . A chiropractor can help you effectively manage your back pain. The spine and all its surrounding structures are extremely complex and chronic back pain is often a long standing debilitating condition, therefore I think it’s important that understanding, coping and managing your pain with the help of an expert are key components to not only reducing your pain but also to optimize your lifestyle. As a chiropractor and primary spine care provider I can offer education, information and management that will help you along your way to a healthy, active lifestyle. In my next segment, I will tackle some common questions I hear from patients regarding their back pain. The old adage holds true that for every person who asks a question there are probably dozens more who have that exact same question.