According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2007-2008 National Health Survey, about 1.8 million Australians report experiencing back pain. In fact, reports of back problems rank higher than asthma, osteoarthritis and hypertension. Experts estimate that 70 to 90 percent of people will experience back problems at least at one point in their lives.
What is surprising is that although many people consider back problems as something that comes with growing old, a high number of teens report experiencing back pains. According to the Medical Journal of Australia, back problems are among the most common long-term health issues reported by individuals between the ages of 15 and 34 years old.
Pain in the back may have several causes including muscle or ligament strain from repetitive heavy lifting or sudden, awkward movement; bulging or ruptured discs; arthritis; skeletal irregularities like scoliosis; and osteoporosis.
Although everyone can experience pain in the back, there are people who have a higher risk to succumbing to this problem. These people include the obese, those who lack exercise and those who do not know how to lift properly. Some studies also claim that people with psychological issues like depression and anxiety are prone to experiencing pain in the back region.
While pain in this region typically subsides, it is crucial to see a doctor if there is no improvement within 72 hours and if you experience any of the following:
- Changes in urinary and bowel movements
- Fever or chills
- Pain in the abdomen
- If the pain is caused by a fall or blow
- If the pain intensifies at night or upon lying down
- Tingling, weakness or numbness in the lower extremities
- Weight loss
Typically, back pain subsides over time. Bed rest and over-the-counter medication often help. If you are experiencing pain in the area, it is advisable to continue with your normal routine and engage in light activities like walking. However, if the pain continues to linger, there are several options you can look into including taking stronger medications, trying physical therapy and exercise, and considering injections and surgery.
The Chiropractors’ Association of Australia reports that more than 215,000 people visit a chiropractor on a weekly basis. Chiropractic treatment involves spinal manipulation and alignment which, in turn, stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Typically, an initial consultation with a chiropractor will involve description of the patient’s symptoms. In some instances, the chiropractor may recommend tests and X-rays to better understand the patient’s condition. Afterwards, both the chiropractor and patient develop a treatment plan which may include regular visits. Additionally, the chiropractor may recommend supplementation, diet, exercise, hot and cold packs and electrical stimulation.