Back Pain Relief & Treatment in Knoxville
Low Back Pain
Low back pain, also called lumbago, is very common and can be caused by a variety of problems. The lower portion of the back has the fewest number of muscles, placing much of the stability onto the spinal cord and vertebrae. This is why the lower back is the easiest part of the body to injure.
Causes of Low Back Pain
Low back pain can be caused by injury to a muscle (strain) or ligament (sprain). There is a wide variety of causes including improper lifting, poor posture, a lack of regular exercise, fracture, ruptured disk, or arthritis. Large nerve roots in the lower back which travel into the legs are typical sources of low back pain include: large nerve roots in the low back that go to the legs may become irritated. Smaller nerves that run to the low back may become irritated. The erector spinal muscles may be strained. Bones, ligaments, or joints may be damaged. An intervertebral disc may be degenerating.
Symptoms of Low Back Pain
Pain can be achy and dull or sharp and severe, and is usually felt in the low back, but can radiate up the back as far as between the shoulder blade region. Aching, tingling, and numbness can be felt in the legs if a nerve is being pinched in the lumbar vertebrae. Difficulty moving can be severe enough to prevent walking or standing. Sometimes muscle spasms can be mild or severe. Local soreness to the touch is common.
Common Low Back Conditions
Back Muscle Strain – is one of the most common causes of acute lower back pain. Lifting a heavy object, twisting, or a sudden movement can cause muscles or ligaments to stretch or develop microscopic tears. The pain can be achy or dull or become a muscle spasm that is severe. Sometimes tenderness to the touch can occur. Difficulty moving that can be severe enough to prevent walking or even standing may occur. Pain can also be felt around the groin, buttock or upper thigh, but rarely travels below the knee.
Sciatica – this condition is caused when a nerve root in the lower spine is compressed, causing pain and numbness to travel along the large sciatic nerve that serves the buttocks, legs, and feet. This pain typically is ongoing (as opposed to flaring up for a few days and then subsiding). Pain may be worse in the leg and foot more than in the lower back. Pain is typically felt on one side of the buttock or leg only, and is usually worse after long periods of standing still or sitting, and relieved when walking. The pain tends to be more severe, with tingling and burning, rather than dull. Occasionally may be accompanied by weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or the foot.
Degenerative Disc Disease – is a common dysfunction that can affect patients as young as 20 years old. When the lumbar discs between the vertebrae begin to break down, the damaged disc can cause both inflammation and slight instability in the lower back, bringing about pain, muscle spasms, and sometimes sciatica. This can cause a deep ache in the lower back that worsens when standing or walking and feels better when sitting, especially in a reclining position. Pain may worsen when bending backward or may radiate into the buttocks and back of the thighs. A tired feeling in the legs, and possible leg numbness or tingling especially after walking, is common. Tight hamstrings, making it difficult to touch the toes, can occur.
Lumbar Herniated Disc – this condition occurs when a disc degenerates and breaks down, causing the inner core to leak out through the outer portion of the disc. The weak spot in the outer core of the intervertebral disc is directly under the spinal nerve root, so a herniation in this area puts direct pressure on the nerve. The vast majority of disc herniations will occur toward the bottom of the spine at L4-L5 or L5-S1 levels. Leg pain may occur, such as the sciatic nerve being pinched, which can be more painful than in the low back. There may be numbness, weakness, and/or tingling in the leg, as well as pain in the buttock or low back. Nerve impingement can cause ankle weakness or weakness in extending the big toe or even cause foot drop. Numbness and pain can be felt on the top, side, or sole of the foot.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis – this occurs when the spinal nerve roots in the lower back become compressed, producing symptoms of sciatica. Lumbar spinal stenosis most often occurs at the L3-L4 and L4-L5 levels but can occur at any level in the spine. Stenosis often mimics symptoms of vascular insufficiency, which can cause leg pain with walking. The pain usually occurs in the low back and legs, thighs, and buttocks, that worsens when standing or exercising. Stiffness, cramping, leg numbness or tingling, or muscle weakness can occur.
Upper & Mid Back Pain
Upper and mid-back pain is something we here at Knoxville Spine and Sports deal with all the time. To fully understand the causes and treatments for upper and mid back pain you have to first understand what all constitutes these areas. The upper and mid-back are made up of the entire thoracic spine as well as the ribs that attach from the spine to the sternum. Needless to say, there is a lot going on in the upper back and mid-back, and unfortunately, considerable vulnerability.
Common Upper and Mid Back Pain Symptoms:
Arm pain, numbness, or tingling:
It is important to note the relationship between the lower neck and the upper back. The nerves that go into the arm come from both the lower neck as well as the upper back to form the brachial plexus. Therefore, dysfunction in either of these places can cause radiating symptoms into the upper extremity. This is commonly due to a bulging disc or other types of spinal degeneration in the neck or the upper back.
Stabbing pain in the chest or back:
The ribs run from the front of the chest and attach the back throughout the thoracic spine (excluding the floating ribs). Commonly these joints can be subluxated, fixated, or flat out stuck. When this happens, it is common to feel a very sharp pain right over the rib attachment, in the back, front or both. Some patients will say it almost feels like a heart attack due to the sharpness of the pain in the chest area. It will commonly hurt to breathe and twist the torso either direction. This problem is typically resolved once the joint is freed up with a chiropractic adjustment or specific joint mobilization.
Pain and tightness between the shoulder blades:
Pain that stays localized between the shoulder blades and doesn’t radiate out into the arm, or around to the chest is commonly due to subluxation or fixation of one of the thoracic spine joints. These joints can easily be overextended due to the wide array of movements that they encounter throughout the day. Much of the force transferred from the lower body and the upper body runs through the thoracic spine which can also cause an increased likelihood of joint and back problems.
How We Relieve Low, Upper & Mid Back Pain
Chiropractic Care: Chiropractic care can directly affect the joints of the cervical spine, thoracic spine, and rib articulations as well as the joints of the collar bone and scapula. A chiropractic adjustment to those fixated areas will not only free them up but make sure that joint kinematics are restored throughout the entire system. Estimated time to full recovery under chiropractic care in Knoxville varies depending on the injury but is commonly the quickest back pain relief. We utilize a number of soft tissue therapies to complement the adjustment and ensure that the muscles don’t continue to exacerbate the problem.
Physical Therapy: Our physical therapists use a plethora of different techniques and therapies to ensure that the complaint is comprehensibly addressed. Our physical therapists are trained in the McKenzie technique as well as a number of manual therapies to provide effective, efficient, hands-on upper & mid back pain treatment
Massage therapy: Massage therapy is very beneficial and highly recommended when experiencing low back pain and restrictions. This increases blood flow to the injured tissue, carrying oxygen and other enzymes that bring healing.
At Home Back Pain Relief Tips
The initial pain and acute injury are best treated by ice to decrease inflammation associated with joint and muscle pain.
Learning correct body posture is important for daily living and back pain relief. Learning this before beginning a strengthening routine is highly recommended. When able, begin a strengthening program with a trained therapist or personal trainer who can teach proper technique to strengthen the muscles in the lower lumbar region as well as the muscles of the core. This will take the pressure off of the vertebral discs and spinal cord.
Why Visit A Knoxville Chiropractor
At Knoxville Spine and Sports, we combine the latest low back pain treatment therapies all under one roof to not just treat your complaint but make you a healthier, stronger, and more resilient human, capable of taking on whatever task you choose. To schedule an appointment with the best back pain doctor in Knoxville please call our office at (885) 337-5574.
Upper & Mid Back Pain FAQ
I Have Pain and Stiffness in My Upper Back at Work, What Can I Do?
Pain and stiffness in the neck and back are incredibly common with desk jobs or those that require you to be at a computer for long periods of time. Spending time in a rounded and forward flexed position puts a lot of strain on the spine and musculature of the mid-back. The first thing that needs to change is the workplace ergonomics. The screen should be at eye level or even slightly above eye level. If possible, utilize a computer with separate keyboard that is lower down to allow your shoulders to relax. Standing desks can also be a strong option if your workplace will allow it. However, probably the most important thing is to take frequent breaks, even if its just standing up and stretching for a minute.
I Have Sharp Pain in My Upper Back that Radiates Around to The Front, What’s Going On?
First thing, rule out any cardiovascular episodes. Do you have concomitant pain in either arm, shortness of breath, heaviness in the chest, dizziness, or nausea? If so, stop what you are doing and contact emergency services. If the pain is persistent and you don’t have any of the aforementioned symptoms, we can start thinking rib subluxation. They can be tremendously sharp and painful with pain that radiates around to the front of the chest and can follow the line of the ribs. It may hurt to take a deep breath or when coughing or straining.
Typically, you will have pain either leaning towards the side of the pain or away. The good news is that many times in the office it is a pretty quick fix and responds very well to chiropractic adjustments and various soft tissue modalities such as FAKTR and cupping.
What Can You Do to Help My Upper and Mid Back Pain?
As Chiropractors and Physical therapists, we employ a plethora of therapies for managing your back pain. Once we determine the cause of the pain, we will employ techniques such as chiropractic manipulation, therapeutic exercises, and modalities such as dry needling, Active Release Technique, cupping, and FAKTR. Please contact us with any questions or concerns you have about how we may be able to help your condition.
I Have Numbness and Tingling in My Arm, Could This Be Coming From My Back?
It is very possible that this could be coming from the neck and back. As previously mentioned, the nerves that innervate the arm come from the lower cervical and upper thoracic area. It is common to have these nerves become impinged either by the facet joints or from a disc in the event of a disc bulge. Either of these could cause these symptoms. So too would an impingement in the arm or shoulder, and it is very important to rule this out before beginning treatment. Commonly if there is pain it will extend down the back of the shoulder into the back of the arm around the elbow. Many times, the numbness and tingling will only present in a few fingers. A common distribution is the pinky and ring finger together or the thumb, pointer and middle together. Once we address the area that is causing the impingement these symptoms should subside.
What Causes Upper Back Pain?
Upper back pain can be caused by a number of things. Much of the time, upper and mid back pain is a gradual phenomenon that comes about with poor posture or performing a repetitive task for long periods of time. However, if the there was a clear cause of injury the pain will be more specific and intense. In either of these scenarios, it is a good idea to be treated as quickly following the injury as possible to mitigate both the severity and duration of the injury.
Why is There a Pinch in My Back When I Lean to The Side?
The most likely reason would be a facet impingement or a rib subluxation. The joints in your back where the vertebrae come together are called facet joints. You have one on either side of your spine. If they are fixated or subluxated you can have a pinpoint pain with certain movements like bending backward or to the side. The same type of fixation can occur at the joints where your ribs connect to the vertebrae of the spine. Having these areas adjusted typically takes care of this condition fairly quickly and effectively.
Will Insurance Cover My Visit?
Between physical therapy and chiropractic, we do work with most major insurance companies. If you have any questions about whether your specific insurance will cover your visit, or what your benefits may be, call us at (885) 337-5574. We’d be happy to discuss any questions you may have.