The human skeleton is unique in the animal kingdom, since it is shaped for a lifetime of bipedal movement. Not even our closest ancestors, gorillas and chimpanzees, are like that. Millions of years ago, our early ancestors gave up their tree-bound lifestyle to run and hunt game, which calls for upright bodies. So, the modern human skeleton has an S-shaped spine, an upright pelvis, long and hard leg bones, and arched feet. All of this gave the human race many advantages, but even with modern medicine, millions of people today suffer from lower back pain and spinal distress. A lifetime of walking upright and fighting gravity takes its toll, and injuries can also harm the spine or back muscles. The most serious cases call for surgery, but short of that, a patient with back pain may have physical therapy tools used, and such rehab tools and systems vary such as rang of motion testing and chiropractic adjusting tools. Non-invasive medicine can go a long way toward treating back pain when therapists and physical therapy tools are involved.
Back Pain Today
How often to Americans suffer from back pain, and why does it happen? This is a major part of public American health, and many studies have revealed some trends and statistics on back pain. It is believed that at any given time, 31 million Americans are experiencing lower back pain of some sort, and one in three women and one in four men are experiencing it. In fact, experts say that 80% of the population will experience some back pain issues at some point in their lives. What is more, four in 10 Americans might go straight to their chiropractor before even consulting their doctor.
Many things may cause back pain. Sheer old age is one of them, and a senior citizen’s spine has been fighting gravity for a long time. This wear and tear causes the spine to slowly collapse on itself, which pinches nerves, inflames the joints (and reduced mobility), and strains the muscles. This also results in a stooped posture. Meanwhile, years of hard manual labor, such as construction jobs, can wear out the spine and muscles, and increase the odds of injury. Sports accidents and other trauma can also harm the spine or back muscles, and some pregnant women may experience back strain during later stages of pregnancy. Some surveyed Americans blame ongoing stress for their back pain. So, unless a case is serious enough to require surgery, non-invasive medicine such as physical therapy tools and others can help these patients clear up their back pain.
Using Physical Therapy Tools and Chiropractic Care
If someone suffers from serious back pain, they can consult their doctor and explain their issue. Chronic pain is defined as lasting 12 weeks or more, and this is quite common. In fact, back pain ranks second among reasons why Americans visit their doctor, behind only upper respiratory issues. The patient’s doctor may then refer them to a specialist, such as a chiropractor or a yoga expert.
A chiropractor is a doctor who uses physical therapy tools and even their bare hands to adjust a patient’s bones and muscles without breaching the skin. With the right chiropractic adjustment tools, this doctor can relieve pressure on joints and muscles, free up pinched nerves, and soothe cramped or strained muscles. All of this can clear up pain and restore the patient’s mobility and flexibility. Similar results may be achieved at a yoga studio, where a patient may sign up for private sessions and perform a variety of poses and stretches to relieve their cramped or inflamed joints and muscles. All without surgery or medication.
A patient in the hospital might need help with physical recovery, to regain their capacity to walk, run, or even just stand up. So, physical therapy tools are used, and physical therapists will use algometers, stretch tests, and motion capture cameras to track a patient’s status and recovery. A patient may use hand rails to practice walking and keep balanced, and the patient may also stretch out long elastic bands. This will demonstrate the patient’s current strength and arcs of motion, as well as their pain threshold, which is valuable data to the physical therapist.