5 Common Causes of Back Pain

Degenerative disc disease, stenosis, disc bulges, disc herniations, sciatica, and spinal arthritis are some of the most common back conditions that we see at Movement Solutions.  Almost everyone will experience back pain at some point in their lives. This pain can vary from mild to severe. It can be short-lived or long-lasting. However it happens, back pain can make many everyday activities difficult to perform.

There are common risk factors that can contribute to having back problems.  We have found five common limitations that can contribute to back  pain and problems in our office.  They include:

  1. Stiffness of the thoracic spine
  2. Stiffness of the hip muscles
  3. Weakness of the lower back
  4. Weakness of the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings)
  5. Weakness of core muscles

Having prerequisite mobility at the thoracic spine and hips are crucial for normal movement.  Loss of mobility in these areas can make simple things like touching toes and tying shoelaces difficult.  Performing exercises like deadlifts and lifting from the ground is nearly impossible without comprimising good mechanics.

Moving repeatedly in this way can overload spinal structures and contribute to pain.  Structures such as the discs, vertebrae, nerves, and muscles can all be impacted.

In our physical therapy office, we first step we often take in reducing pain and restoring mobility is performing hands-on manual therapy.  This might include dry needling, soft-tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, or manipulation.

However, passive treatments alone won’t provide any lasting gains in mobility.  The reason for this is because stiffness and tension are usually driven my weakness of the stiff muscle as well as the muscle groups above and below that region.  More over, the body needs to learn to actively use the motion to make lasting improvements.  In order to develop lasting mobility, inactive muscle groups must be activated and strengthened.  We have specific exercises that we we intentionally use to target these weak regions.

Once we have reinforced mobility, the next step is to work on movement and stability.  Spinal movement includes the ability to bend and extend at the spine.  In addition, stability requires the ability to generate tension and stiffness to prevent unwanted movement.  Developing movement in this way can make bending, lifting, and carrying much more comfortable.

Finally, we know that if our patients have good mobility and stability in static positions but still have back pain when exercising, our rehab program isn’t very effective.  We teach our patients to move well with and without resistance so they can develop strength.  It is strength that enables our clients to enjoy their activities and hobbies for the forseeable future.

A thorough physical therapy assessment and plan of care should address the five common causes of back pain.  However, ignoring pain and continuing to exercise with poor mechanics can develop into a more serious back condition.  If you have back pain when bending, lifting, carrying, walking, or sitting, the physical therapists at Movement Solutions would be glad to be a resource for you.

We have a free guide on relieving back pain that can give you further insight into back problems and help kick start your recovery.  We are available for a free 15-minute phone consultation to talk about how your pain is affecting you and discuss your treatment options.

If your concerns warrant an in-person consultation, we offer a limited number of free Discovery Visit’s at our office.  This type of appointment of for those who are interested in getting back pain behind them.  It is an opportunity to ask questions, obtain clarity about your condition, and know with confidence that we can help you.

If you’re certain that we’re a good fit and ready to book an appointment, you can inquire about cost and availability.

If you’re in pain and unsure about what your next steps should be, call us at (864) 558-7346 and ask how we can help.

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