The human skeleton is unique in the animal kingdom, since it is shaped for a lifetime of walking upright on two legs. Millions of years ago, our primate ancestors abandoned their tree-bound lifestyle in favor of running and chasing game animals, and the human form adapted to that. Now, the human skeleton features an S-shaped spine, an upright pelvis, long leg bones, and arched feet for a life of walking upright and fighting gravity. This gives the human race many advantages, though walking upright does take its toll, even with today’s high standards of health and medicine. Back pain is one of the most common forms of chronic pain in the world, and that is true in developed and developing nations alike. Fortunately, only the most serious cases may require surgery, while minor cases can be handled with rehab tools and systems in a hospital or chiropractic adjusting tools. Modern functional assessment tools are widely used by therapists in hospitals, and those functional assessment tools range from stretchy bands to handheld muscle testing devices.
Why Back Pain Happens
How often to Americans suffer from back pain, and why might this pain happen? Many surveys and studies are done across the United States to track public health, and that includes back pain and spinal issues. The numbers show that one in three women and one in four men suffer from back issues, and around 50% of all working Americans admit that they get back pain each year. In fact, experts say that around 80% of the entire American population will suffer from back issues at some point in their lives. At any given time, overall, some 31 million Americans are dealing with chronic back pain.
As for the causes, some surveyed Americans blamed serious and ongoing stress for their back pain, and some pregnant women may experience back pain and spinal distress during their pregnancy. What is more, a sports injury or other trauma can distress the spine or back muscles, causing pain. Meanwhile, years of hard manual labor can also wear out the spine and back muscles, such as working in construction. Finally, simple old age can cause back pain, since decades of walking upright causes the spine to slowly collapse on itself and compress, which may even cause a person to bend over forwards. This results in joint issues, pinched nerves, and strained muscles, and hence, back pain. If a patient does not need full-blown back surgery in a hospital, they can take care of this pain with physical therapy and the aid of functional assessment tools.
The Role of Functional Assessment Tools and Chiropractors
As mentioned above, minor cases of back pain (possibly a great majority of them) will not require invasive medicine such as surgery, or even medication. Someone experiencing chronic back pain can visit their doctor, and in fact back pain ranks second among the most common reasons Americans visit their doctor (the first being upper respiratory issues). The patient’s doctor may refer them to a chiropractor, yoga expert, and more.
A chiropractor is a doctor who can use a chiropractic adjustment tool and even their bare hands to realign and readjust their bones and muscles, no surgery needed. This can relieve pressure on the joints, muscles, and bones, which may clear up any pain and also restore the patient’s flexibility and arcs of motion. Many Americans visit chiropractors every year, and this has become a robust business. A patient may get similar results when they visit a yoga studio and sign up for private sessions. The patient may then perform a variety of bends and poses to relieve pressure on their joints, bones, and muscles, not to mention free up any pinched nerves.
Meanwhile, a hospital patient may have suffered an injury or other trauma, and they may have to undergo physical therapy (PT) so that they can get used to walking, standing, or any other activity without distress or difficulty. A therapist may use a handheld muscle testing machine, which may use pressure to read a patient’s muscles and joints in a focused area. Stretch tests and motion capture data can also show the therapist the patient’s progress in terms of range of motion, flexibility, muscle strength, and pain tolerance.