Although doctors of chiropractic treat more than just back pain, it remains one of the primary reasons an individual initially seeks chiropractic care. Back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide and prevents many people from engaging in work as well as other everyday activities. (1) Experts estimate that up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some time in their lives. (2)
The current epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse has led to alternative methods like chiropractic care receiving increased attention. On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. (3) Chiropractic is being widely acknowledged for it’s benefits and nondrug approaches to pain. Among the growing body of research that supports chiropractic care for back pain, is a well-respected review of the evidence published in the Annals of Internal Medicine which pointed to chiropractic care as one of the major nondrug therapies considered effective for acute and chronic low back pain. (4)(5)
Aside from trauma, accidents, and injuries; other mechanisms that may cause or complicate back pain may include poor posture, lifting improperly, spinal abnormalities, obesity, psychological stress, and more.
The upper neck can be a factor in the cause and development of back pain. Vertebrae are the bones that make up your spinal column. These bones encase your spinal cord and help protect your nervous system as well as provide structural support and balance for the weight of your body. The top two vertebrae in your spine (C1 and C2) are known as the atlas and the axis respectively. These two bones are the most mobile segments in the spine, allowing you to move, bend and rotate your head in several directions. The vertebrae below the atlas and the axis are more stable as they are connected to one another by joints called facets. Facet joints allow for the bones in your back to move smoothly against each other but they also allow for you to bend, twist and be flexible with your spine. The fact that the top two bones in your neck aren’t connected or anchored by facet joints like the other bones in the spine, makes them less stable and more vulnerable to injury or misalignment. The atlas relies on soft tissue like muscles and ligaments to stay in place. When the spine is not in alignment, it is not as strong, balanced and sturdy.
A misalignment within the top two bones of the neck causes the spine to compensate in an effort to protect the essential nervous system it encloses. This compensation has a trickledown effect on the entire spine and body. When the head is shifted off balance, not only does it distort the ability for the brain and the body to properly communicate but it also causes the entire spine to become compromised and imbalanced. This leads to structural weakness and puts the muscles, bones, and discs in a state more susceptible to injury and can lead to not only back discomfort but also many other aches and pains throughout the body. If ignored, an upper cervical subluxation can promote early onset arthritis and irreversible spinal degeneration. Less than 10% of your nerves sense “pain” and therefore subluxations that interfere with your nervous system can be present without the sensation of pain. In many conditions, pain is the last symptom to show up to indicate that there is a problem at all. Therefore, it is wise not to wait for pain to show up before seeking preventative measures. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.
1. Hoy D, March L, Brooks P, et al The global burden of low back pain: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases Published Online First: 24 March 2014. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204428
2. Rubin Dl. Epidemiology and Risk Factors for Spine Pain. Neurol Clin. 2007; May;25(2):353-71.
3. Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2017. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov.
4. Chou R, Hoyt Huffman LH. Nonpharmacologic therapies for acute and chronic low back pain: a review of the evidence for an American Pain Society/American College of Physicians Clinical Practice Guideline. Ann of Internal Med 2 Oct. 2007;147(7):492-504
5. American Chiropractic Association. c2019. Back Pain Facts and Statistics. [Online]. [17 February 2019]. Available from: https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Back-Pain-Facts-and-Statistics