Mechanical Back Pain

Mechanical back pain refers to pain and discomfort in the back that is primarily caused by problems with the mechanics or structure of the spine, often a result of muscle strain, ligament sprain, or disc issues.

Mechanical Back Pain
Mechanical Back Pain
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Your Guide to Understanding Mechanical Back Pain

What is Mechanical Back Pain?

Mechanical back pain, also known as non-specific back pain, refers to pain and discomfort that originates from the structures of the spine itself, rather than from a specific underlying condition or disease. It is the most common type of back pain experienced by individuals of all ages. Mechanical back pain is typically caused by issues with the mechanics or structure of the spine, including muscle strain, ligament sprain, problems with the spinal discs, or issues with the joints in the back.

One common cause of mechanical back pain is poor posture. Prolonged periods of sitting or standing in positions that place excessive stress on the spine can lead to muscle imbalances, putting strain on the muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues of the back. Repetitive movements and overuse can also contribute to mechanical back pain. Activities that involve twisting, bending, or lifting heavy objects without proper body mechanics can strain the muscles and ligaments, causing pain and discomfort.

How can Chiropractic help treat Mechanical Back Pain?

Chiropractic services offer a unique approach to alleviate mechanical back pain. Chiropractors focus on the musculoskeletal system, particularly the spine, and aim to identify and correct mechanical dysfunctions that contribute to pain. Through manual adjustments and spinal manipulations, chiropractors can restore proper movement, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pressure on the affected structures, such as discs or nerves.

Additionally, chiropractors may incorporate other techniques like mobilizations, soft tissue therapy, and therapeutic exercises to improve flexibility, strengthen supporting muscles, and enhance overall spinal function. By addressing the mechanical imbalances and promoting natural healing processes, chiropractic services can help individuals find relief from mechanical back pain.

What causes Mechanical Back Pain?

Mechanical back pain is typically caused by issues related to the mechanics or structure of the spine. Some common causes include:

  • Muscle strain: Overstretching or tearing of the muscles in the back can result from lifting heavy objects, sudden movements, or poor posture. It can lead to pain and discomfort.
  • Ligament sprain: Similar to muscle strain, ligament sprain occurs when the ligaments that connect the bones in the spine are stretched or torn. This can happen due to sudden twisting or bending motions.
  • Problems with spinal discs: The discs act as cushions between the vertebrae in the spine. If these discs bulge, herniate, or degenerate over time, they can put pressure on nearby nerves, causing back pain.
  • Issues with the spinal joints: The joints that connect the vertebrae may become inflamed, deteriorate, or develop arthritis. This can lead to stiffness, pain, and reduced mobility.
  • Poor posture and body mechanics: Prolonged periods of sitting or standing in positions that strain the spine, such as slouching or hunching over, can contribute to mechanical back pain.
  • Repetitive movements and overuse: Engaging in activities that involve repetitive bending, lifting, or twisting without proper technique or rest can strain the back muscles and ligaments, leading to pain.

What treatments might help Mechanical Back Pain?

The treatment for mechanical back pain aims to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, improve mobility, and promote healing. Here are some ways in which treatment can help improve mechanical back pain:

  • Ice and heat application: Alternating between ice and heat therapy can help relax the muscles, reduce inflammation, and provide pain relief.
  • Physical therapy: Involves exercises, stretches, and manual techniques to improve strength, flexibility, and posture. It can also help address any muscular imbalances or dysfunctions contributing to back pain.
  • Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and pain relievers may be prescribed to manage pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Acupuncture: This alternative therapy involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to help relieve pain, stimulate healing, and promote overall well-being.
  • Massage therapy: Various massage techniques can help relax tense muscles, improve blood circulation, and reduce pain and stiffness in the back.
  • Spinal manipulation: Chiropractic adjustments or osteopathic manipulative treatment can help realign the spine, improve joint mobility, and alleviate back pain.
  • Nonsurgical interventions: Other nonsurgical treatments such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), biofeedback therapy, laser therapy, and electrical nerve stimulation may also be employed to manage pain and promote healing.

Signs of Mechanical Back Pain:

Mechanical back pain can present with various signs and symptoms. Some common indicators include:

  • Localized pain: The pain is often restricted to the specific area of the back where the issue is occurring. It can range from a dull ache to a sharp or stabbing sensation.
  • Pain with movement: Mechanical back pain tends to worsen with certain movements or activities such as bending, lifting, twisting, or prolonged sitting or standing.
  • Muscle stiffness: The back muscles may feel tight or stiff, making it challenging to move or find a comfortable position.
  • Limited range of motion: You may experience difficulty in moving your back fully, such as bending forward, backward, or sideways.
  • Muscle spasms: In some cases, there may be involuntary muscle contractions or spasms in the back, leading to additional discomfort.
  • Pain relief with rest: Mechanical back pain often improves when you rest or change positions, such as lying down or finding a comfortable posture.
  • Absence of systemic symptoms: Unlike other types of back pain caused by underlying medical conditions, mechanical back pain typically does not present with systemic symptoms like fever, weight loss, or bowel/bladder dysfunction.

Symptoms of Mechanical Back Pain:

Mechanical back pain can manifest through various symptoms. Here are some common indications:

  • Pain in the back: You may experience localized pain in the back, which can range from a mild ache to a sharp or stabbing sensation. The pain is typically focused on the affected area.
  • Pain with movement: Mechanical back pain tends to worsen when you engage in certain movements or activities such as bending, lifting, twisting, or even prolonged sitting or standing.
  • Muscle stiffness: Your back muscles may feel tight or stiff, making it challenging to move freely or find a comfortable position.
  • Limited range of motion: Mechanical back pain can restrict your ability to move your back fully. Activities like bending forward, backward, or sideways may become difficult or painful.
  • Muscle spasms: In some cases, you may experience involuntary muscle contractions or spasms in the back, leading to additional discomfort and pain.
  • Relief with rest: Taking a break and resting or finding a comfortable posture may help alleviate the pain associated with mechanical back pain.
  • Absence of systemic symptoms: Unlike other types of back pain caused by underlying medical conditions, mechanical back pain typically does not involve systemic symptoms like fever, weight loss, or problems with bowel or bladder function.
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When is the right time to see a Chiropractor for Mechanical Back Pain?

The right time to see a chiropractor for mechanical back pain is when you are experiencing persistent or worsening symptoms that are affecting your daily activities and quality of life. It's generally recommended to seek professional help if:

  • Pain persists for more than a few days: If you have been experiencing back pain that doesn't improve or worsens within a few days, it may be beneficial to consult a healthcare professional.
  • Pain radiates to other areas: If your back pain is accompanied by radiating pain, numbness, or tingling sensations that extend into the legs or arms, it could indicate nerve involvement, and prompt evaluation is advised.
  • Limited mobility and stiffness: If you are experiencing difficulty moving your back or notice significant stiffness that affects your range of motion, seeking professional assistance can help address these issues.
  • Recurring episodes of back pain: If you frequently experience episodes of mechanical back pain, it may be helpful to discuss preventive strategies and long-term management with a healthcare professional.
  • Pain after an injury or accident: If your back pain is a result of a recent injury or accident, it's important to get evaluated by a healthcare professional to rule out any serious underlying conditions and receive appropriate treatment.

Meet our Lead Chiropractor

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Chiropractor

Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College

Dr. Brett enjoys working with active individuals looking to reach the next level and also anyone who is trying to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.

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Physiotherapist Brittany Pereira working with client at Anchor Health and Performance Clinic Mississauga
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