If you suffer from back pain, you have a lot of company. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of Americans experience back pain at some point in their lives. While back pain is extremely common, the symptoms, causes and treatment of back pain vary greatly.
Structure Of The Spine
Your spine connects your skull to your pelvis and consists of 33 bones known as “vertebrae”. These vertebrae are grouped into four different regions, referred to as the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions. The vertebrae in the upper three sections of the spine have a cushion – known as a disc – between them. The spine is a vital part of your central nervous system, which is why you should always seek medical advice if you are suffering from pain in any area of your back.
You have probably read numerous articles on back pain, seen a couple doctors too. The most common reason we hear health professionals give their patients for chronic back pain is “you need to work on your posture”. While that is correct, it is just part of a big picture and only a piece of the puzzle. Identifying the symptoms and getting a diagnosis that pinpoints the underlying cause of the pain is the first step in obtaining effective and long-lasting pain relief.
What are the other pieces of this puzzle?
The pieces start all the way from your feet. For example, stand up and take a look at how your feet or hip are in relation to each other. Are they even? Is one slightly forward than the other? Is one slightly turned out than the other? What does this mean? It means that most likely a key component, the almighty PELVIS, is out of alignment. Guess what the lower back sits on? Your Pelvis!
The pelvis is made of three pieces of bones – right innominate, left innominate and sacrum. Either of these bones can rotate, twist on itself, shift up, shift down, forward, backward, or a combination of the above.
The body will try to accommodate all these changes by adjusting the feet and the lower back. You may not feel pain for some time, but eventually these malalignments will create additional restrictions and start limiting activities you were easily able to do. These malalignments can be fixed but it is like peeling an onion, essentially we have to reverse all the ‘adjustments the body has made’.
Of course, pelvis is just one of the pieces of the puzzle. Other causes of back pain that can be treated with Physical Therapy are:
- Lumbar Strain or Sprain – caused due to muscle injuries. For example, injuries may be a result of lifting an object awkwardly, heavy lifting or a sports injury.
- Herniated or Bulging Disc – the spinal disc has moved from its usual position and, as a result, causes pain because it irritates nearby nerves. If the herniated disc is in the lower back, the pain can often feel worse in your leg than in your back.
- Pregnancy – caused by weight gain, posture changes and hormone (relaxin) changes.
- Spondyloslisthesis – caused by spinal disorder in which a vertebra slips forward onto the vertebra below it.
- Osteoporosis “porous bone” – condition in which bones become weak and brittle.
- Scoliosis – deformity that occurs when the spine becomes abnormally rotated and curved sideways.
- Degenerative Disc Disease – caused when one or more of the spinal discs begin to deteriorate.
- Inflammatory Disease – caused by certain autoimmune diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
At Liberty Physical Therapy, we identify the root cause of your pain and custom tailor your treatment regimen using various techniques. Liberty Physical Therapy is a state-of-the-art physical therapy center conveniently located in the heart of Jersey City, next to Grove Street Path Station. We are a team of specialists with several years of experience treating all back conditions. We can offer you the safest and most effective Physical Therapy in Jersey City. And, we accept most insurance plans.