Sleep and chronic back pain don't mix
And while chronic back pain obviously prevents people from sleeping, the lack of sleep feeds back into chronic pain by heightening stress levels and preventing the body from getting the rest it needs to fortify itself against chronic pain in the first place. Once chronic pain starts to invade on your sleep life, it can feel like there is nowhere left to go.
Chronic joint pain is a drain on quality of life
Joints are the workhorses of the human body; they are the structures where bone meets bone, providing the functions of range of motion and shock absorption. As an office of chiropractic, a set of joints we treat on a regular basis are the facet joints. Facet joints, of which there are two in every spinal motion segment, allow for stable articulation between the vertebrae. They are small and, because they are so often used, they are frequently injured.
Facet Joint Syndrome is a common cause of back pain
Each facet joint is encased in a joint capsule filled with synovial fluid, the lubricating material that contributes to joint health. This capsule is covered by hyaline cartilage and the overall role of the entire structure is to stabilize the spine- to prevent damage from occurring due to excessive motion. When damage occurs to the joint capsule, whether due to acute injury or repetitive trauma, back pain, swelling and inflammation is a natural result. Most instances of FJS will heal themselves within a 6 week time period, but chiropractic helps to empower your body to heal quicker and prevent the injury from recurring.
Chiropractic is effective at healing Facet Joint Syndrome
A chiropractic examination can determine whether your back pain may be caused by FJS. If so, we proceed with a dynamic plan for treatment including conservative methods for empowering your body's ability to heal. These include:
- Chiropractic adjustment to align the spine and re-hydrate the facet joints.
- Lifestyle adjustments to account for your injury.
- Decompression therapy including manual and instrument-assisted traction to open up space between the vertebrae.
- Advice on posture and diet to help support the healing process.
If you suspect you may be suffering from Facet Joint Syndrome, give our office a call to schedule an appointment and speed up the healing process today.
Muscle tension often flies under the radar
At our office in Houston, we define muscle tension as a condition where muscles in the body remain contracted or semi-contracted for an extended period of time. We also regularly see the damaging effects of prolonged muscle tension: the aches, pains, headaches, and stiffness that often accumulate into episodic back pain. But what causes muscle tension?
Behavior that is contributing to muscle tension
- Stress: the body tightens in response to stress; blood flow to soft tissues is reduced which means oxygen is reduced, and biochemical waste is allowed to build in the muscles, leading to tension, spasm, and pain.
- Poor posture: good posture means your spine is balanced with muscles working in harmony; poor posture means that your spine is unbalanced and your muscles must compensate to keep it upright. Some muscles are constantly contracted while others are not used at all.
- Lack of exercise: more exercise means more oxygen to your muscles and the prevention of lactic acid build-up. When muscles are not stretched regularly, they become short and trigger points are likely to develop
- Lack of certain nutrients: calcium, magnesium, and B12
- ...and too much of others: caffeine, phosphorous.
- Sleep health: lack of sleep deprives you of oxygen and prevents the breakdown of lactic acid which contributes to trigger points.
The importance of core stability
You may as well equate core stability with spinal stability. Core muscles refer to the network of muscles in your stomach and back which combine to support your spine, maintain stability and prevent injury. Weakness in these muscles is a signal contributor to not only back pain, but the development of poor posture and debilitating spinal conditions such as herniated discs. Boiled down to its most basic, a strong core will support your spine and allow you to perform thousands of daily motions without incurring injury. Let's take a look at one of the most important core muscles.
The two worst forms of footwear for people with back pain
High heels and flip flops. This is a bottom-up problem: by not providing adequate support for your feet, the instability ripples through the legs and affects the spine, especially the lower back.
- The higher the heel, the more accentuated the arch in your lower back, straining the muscles of the lower back in the process.
- Flip flops don't anchor your feet, instead letting them slide around in the footbed. This means that the weight of your body is being thrown about, exacerbating conditions such as sciatica.
From a chiropractor's perspective, high heels and flip flops both fit under the category of flimsy footwear. They may serve an intermediary purpose, but they should never be your go-to shoe.