Have a constant pinch between your shoulder blades? Right back pain shooting all the way down your leg? General lower back aches got you down?
Most back pain is caused by either muscle strains or pinched nerves. In this article we'll help you recognize the difference and share some proven ways to get pain relief, whether the pain is affecting your neck, shoulders, upper, lower back, left or right side of your back.
Muscle strains are the most common form of back pain. Also called pulled back muscles, these strains occur when a muscle or tendon is overextended, causing the muscle to rip or tear. Strained muscle symptoms can include pain, a burning sensation, and swelling or bruising. Muscle spasms, or sudden uncontrolled muscle contractions, can cause severe back pain but are otherwise harmless.
Muscle strains are typically caused by sudden or forceful movements. Failing to warm up before strenuous activities, or overworking a weakened or previously injured muscle leads to a higher risk of muscle strain. Accidents, repetitive muscle actions, or poor posture can also lead to muscle strains.
The injured muscle should be allowed to rest, especially avoiding the type of activity that caused the strain. Ice and anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen can be used to reduce both inflammation and pain.
Most muscle strains heal within six weeks. In the meanwhile ultrasound, massage, and gentle chiropractic adjustments can help break down scar tissue forming in the healing muscles to regain lost flexibility and decrease the likelihood of further injury. Muscles may also benefit from mild exercise after three weeks of healing.
Most cases of pinched nerves in the back are related to a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, often leading to painful symptoms of sciatica including lower left or right back pain that can radiate through the buttocks and down through the leg and foot. Sciatica can also be caused when the piriformis muscle pinches or irritates the sciatic nerve where it passes through the hip, a condition known as piriformis syndrome.
Herniated discs are also referred to as a slipped disc, ruptured disc, bulging disc, prolapsed disc, or even degenerative disc disease depending on who you ask. Whichever name you call it, herniated discs can pinch nerve roots where they exit the vertebrae. When the herniated disc compresses or irritates nerves at or below the L4 vertebra of the lower back, sciatica frequently results.
Sciatica can also be caused when nerves are pinched by the piriformis muscle where the sciatic nerve passes through the hip. Piriformis syndrome is likely in cases of sciatica where there is no clear spinal cause.
Although lower back pain and sciatica are the most common forms of back pain caused by pinched nerves, the neck and upper back are not immune. Even arm pain is possible depending on where the disc herniation is located.
Most cases of back pain related to pinched nerves can ultimately be traced to postural dysfunctions brought about by muscle imbalances. Muscle imbalances occur when one set of muscles grows stronger and tighter while an opposing set becomes weaker and stretched out of its normal position.
Accidents and poor posture alike can cause muscle imbalances and postural dysfunctions. Over time these will lead to an increased likelihood of spinal disc herniations and other back injuries.
Temporary pain relief for pinched nerves can be had through anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen, cortisone injections, hot packs, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and therapeutic exercise. But fixing the problem permanently requires removing the source of nerve irritation.
There are a number of surgical treatments for herniated discs. Due to the risks of invasive surgery coupled with a high failure rate surgery should be considered as a last resort in most cases.
Fortunately, most herniated discs heal themselves within 6-12 weeks. Special attention should be paid to removing the underlying muscle imbalances and postural dysfunctions to help prevent a repeat occurrence. Muscle Balance Therapy has proven particularly effective at removing muscle imbalances and correcting postural dysfunctions.
Trigger Point Therapy has also proven effective in treating both herniated discs and piriformis syndrome. New research has also shown it to be extremely effective at treating muscle and tissue pain too.
50 Years of Back Pain Gone in Just Days!
Jerry Talisman had suffered from chronic back pain on and off for over 50 years. Like most people, he had tried it all... chiropractors, physical therapy, he even overdosed on tylenol but nothing gave him lasting relief until he discovered muscle balance therapy.
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