Are Bras a Contributing Factor to Back Pain?

What is the most probable cause of back pain for women?

Of course, the answer varies among women. For some, back pain comes from bending over to pick up their children and carrying them with bad posture. For others, work conditions cause back problems.

But many answer with something they wear every day: a bra.

Could something as simple as a bra be responsible for back pain?

The answer is complicated. In some cases, a bra could be a contributing factor to back pain. In most cases, though, its impact on back pain is insignificant, and the pain is caused by a different factor.

While bras causing back pain remains largely a myth, there are some qualities of a bra to look for when choosing one. Here’s how to make sure a bra fits well, doesn’t contribute unnecessarily to discomfort, and how bras and back pain really relate.

When the Bra is the Problem

 The fit of a bra can make all the difference when it comes to posture, support, and back pain. A good bra should provide enough support for the woman’s breast size, allowing her to maintain proper posture. The straps should also fit well. If it is too tight, it can essentially force the back into two separate parts, making it work around a pivot point instead of by one main system.

If the bra doesn’t fit well, the woman’s posture can be misaligned, which leads to back pain. The upper back bends forward if the bra cannot support the woman well enough. This impacts the neck and diaphragm, leading to tension and pain.

Even simply slumping forward because of the weight not supported by a bra can lead the woman to get in the habit of sitting or standing that way. It can be difficult to change postural habits when they have formed, and that increases the risk of chronic pain.

 When Back Pain Comes for Other Reasons

 While some back pain can be solved with a better fitting bra, for most people, the bra is simply not the problem. If a specialist fits a bra to the person and back pain lingers, it is likely caused by one common factor.

In most cases, back pain is caused by breast hypertrophy, or carrying a large amount of weight in the breast. Women who have larger breasts, even when wearing the right bra, experience back pain simply due to the strain the weight puts on their backs. If this is the case, women experience back pain also from bra straps digging into the shoulders.

If this is not the case, though, back pain often comes from another sources unrelated to the woman’s breast or the bra she wears.

How to Prevent Discomfort

 To prevent back pain related to bras, a woman should ensure that she is wearing a well fitting bra. Many stores offer professional fittings and will help each customer make smart purchases.

If back pain is due to breast hypertrophy, some women elect to have breast reduction surgery. Since that is not always an option, financially or otherwise, there are also exercises women can do to strengthen other core muscles, as well as shoulder blade area muscles. This way, they can use the power within their own bodies to counteract the pull of the weight causing pain.

Bras are sometimes the culprits for back pain, but sometimes the cause is different. If a woman has chronic pain in this area, she should get to the root of the cause by finding a fitted bra and strengthening muscles. This will help her gain the ability to counteract any improper posture caused by her breasts and allow her to live pain-free.

 

Could Your Mattress Be the Cause of Your Back Pain?

What’s the main cause of a good night’s sleep?

Many might say that a good night’s sleep happens when one goes to bed peacefully, not worried about the coming days. Others might say the temperature in the room helps.

But too often, even if all those factors are in place, people still wake up sore and tired. Back pain even after a full night’s sleep plagues lots of people who find themselves unable to feel rested.

When trying to address back pain, the root of the problem often isn’t a back condition, poor health, or injury. The mattress a person sleeps on can be the cause of back pain, and the right mattress can remove that pain instantaneously.

There are many factors involved in a mattress purchase that contribute to a comfortable night’s sleep. Here’s why mattresses could be culprit of that lingering back pain.

What the Back Needs in a Mattress

When in a sleeping position, a person’s back needs several variables to be in place for maximum comfort and overall health.

According to experts, the mattress should align your entire body when you are in a sleeping position. This includes the curvature of the spine and support for the head, neck, buttocks, and shoulders. Even proper arrangement of the feet and heels can impact how a person feels when they wake up.

In addition, the person’s particular needs and preferences must be taken into account. If they know they’ve always slept best on soft mattresses, for example, a mattress that is too firm could be causing back pain, and vice versa. Bodies and their needs vary, but there are certain specific guidelines that must be considered.

How a Mattress Can Cause Pain

Soreness and back pain result when any of the body parts impacted by sleep are out of alignment. This can happen when a mattress is either too firm or too soft. Firmness presses back against the body, and softness allows it too settle uncomfortably. When pressure points are not properly supported on either end of the spectrum, pain occurs.

In addition, back pain comes when the mattress a person uses causes muscle strain. It may not feel like the muscles are being used for support of the body, but it becomes evident when soreness is present in the morning. Sometimes, the body will compensate for discomfort by subtly trying to hold itself in a better position. If this happens, muscles can be active, to some degree, all night, leaving the person exhausted and sore by the time they wake up. When this centers in the person’s back, even simply sitting through the day can be difficult.

Test Your Sleeping Habits

If a person experiences chronic back pain, there are several steps that can be taken to test whether the mattress may be the cause of the problem.

First of all, ensure that the pillows used are offering good support for the head and neck. Replace old pillows and purchase one designed for a particular level of support. Additionally, mattress accessories, like memory foam toppers, can be added to the existing mattress for additional comfort. To see the actual position a person is sleeping in, they can have a family member snap a photo. Often, this will reveal where the body needs support.

If a mattress is causing back pain, take the necessary steps to prevent it. Add support to the bed itself, change sleep positions, and make sure the correct pressure points are aligned correctly. Then, enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep and wake up feeling rested and comfortable!

Could Stress and Anxiety Be Causing Your Chronic Back Pain?

Stress and anxiety—everyone deals with it to some extent. At times, however, stress can cause adverse health effects. Emotional side effects of stress can be depression and panic attacks, while physical effects can include heart palpitations, high blood pressure, digestive issues and even back pain.

People dealing with chronic pain feel desperate to find a solution. Knowing the way stress affects the back is the first step toward finding a solution to one’s pain.

Identifying the Two Types of Stress That Can Impact Back Health

Before going into how stress affects the back, it’s important to first understand that there are two types of stress that can have an impact on the health of a person’s back.

  1. Physical Stress
    Certain physical activities put stress on the body and can contribute to back pain. Things like:
  • Carrying a heavy purse, backpack or briefcase
  • Poor posture
  • Bad form while exercising
  • Avoiding exercise – cardio, weight training and stretching/flexibility exercises are all important
  • Aging
  • High heeled shoes
  • A bad, sagging mattress

All of these things, if not remedied, can result in chronic back pain.

  1. Emotional and/or Psychological Stress
    Emotional stress can have an immense impact on your back. For years, many considered stress and anxiety to be secondary causes of pain. The common thought was that pain was always the result of something physical. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, people who suffer from stress, depression and anxiety often suffer with pain as well. They also mention that back pain, specifically, is experienced more often by people dealing with emotional or psychological stress than those who don’t.

How Stress and Anxiety Can Impact the Health of a Person’s Back

Accepting that one’s emotions can be a main factor in their back pain can be hard to accept at first because we’ve thought otherwise for so long. But, more evidence is pointing to the back pain-stress correlation because of the following.

  • Stress causes tension: When a person is under stress, their muscles tighten up considerably. This is particularly noticeable in the muscles of the head, neck and shoulders. Tensing the muscles of the upper body puts pressure on those of the lower body. Massage therapists will concur—people with high anxiety will have the tightest, most knotted muscles, resulting in more daily pain.
  • Postural changes: Going through a stressful period changes a person’s posture. During the fight or flight response, the body’s muscles not only tense up, they tense up in an improper position. This position is generally one of self-protection and preservation: slumped over as if the weight of the world were on one’s shoulders, or like they’re trying to protect their abdominal area.
  • Stress, anxiety and depression can lead to inactivity: Emotional stress puts people in a major energy slump. Just getting through the day is hard enough; forget about exercise! The resulting inactivity leads to inflexibility, strain and muscle soreness.

Significantly Decrease the Occurrence of Back Pain with Stress Reduction

People don’t have to suffer with back pain, especially if it’s related to stress and anxiety. With help from a therapist, physical therapist and chiropractor people can find ways to reduce physical and emotional stressors. Working to reduce the stress is one of the best ways to reduce pain and promote overall health and wellbeing.

If you’re experiencing chronic back pain and suspect it may be due to high levels or stress or anxiety, contact us right away. We can provide the support you need and recommend ways to reduce your stress and treat your back pain effectively.

6 Reasons Why You Might Be Experiencing Back Pain When Standing For Hours

Back pain can not only be debilitating, it’s extremely frustrating. Chronic pain affects every aspect of a person’s life, including something simple like standing. Lower back pain can become excruciating after standing for hours. Some people, though, start experiencing pain after just a few minutes. Why would something as natural as standing cause a person such pain?

6 Conditions That Can Contribute to Back Pain While Standing

Back pain in general can be contributed to pressure on the lower back, caused by excess weight or weak abdominal muscles. There are also some more serious issues that can contribute to back problems.

  1. Flexibility Issues
    People with weak, inflexible muscles experience pain while trying to do any sort of activity—walking, stretching, flexing, and even standing. Keeping muscles nice and flexible contributes to less pain and better overall health.
  1. Poor Alignment
    When a person’s back is out of alignment they can experience a lot of pain, especially if the hips are out of alignment. If the bones are not in the proper position, pressure is put upon other bones, as well as the muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Chronic pain or occasional spasms in the neck, ribs, lower back and hips can occur when a person is out of alignment.
  1. Arthritis
    Someone suffering from osteoarthritis can experience stiffness and pain if they stand in one place for a long period of time. For instance, if someone works at a coffee counter and has to stand most of the time, they can easily develop pain. Healthline.com recommends that these people sit when they can and move around as often as possible. Standing in one place puts pressure on all joints, as well as the back.
  1. Disc Problems
    Pain while standing for hours could be a symptom of a herniated disc. The disc is the soft cushion that sits between each vertebra and is what allows the spine to move fluidly. When a disc is herniated, the cushion bulges out from in between the vertebras. This can happen when discs begin to flatten or they become weak and begin to tear. Bulging discs put pressure on the nerves running along the spine, causing pain. Activities as simple as sitting, standing and sneezing can cause a tremendous amount of pain. Rest tends to ease the pain.
  1. Lumbar Issues
    Lumbar problems, like a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease, can cause lower back pain when standing for long periods of time. Muscle strain, microscopic tears, or overstretched ligaments can all contribute to lumbar issues. Spine-Health.com points out that in many cases lumbar issues tend to affect people between the ages of 30 and 60 years old.
  1. Spinal Stenosis
    Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spine. This puts pressure on the spinal cord, resulting in pain, numbness and tingling. Some people, however, have no symptoms. Stenosis is often related to osteoarthritis. According to WebMD.com, this condition occurs mostly in the neck and lower back.

People with Back Pain Don’t Have to Keep Suffering

Anyone who experiences back pain while standing for hours, or even just minutes, doesn’t need to keep suffering. Chiropractors, doctors and physical therapists can work together to find a diagnosis and work out a treatment plan. With chiropractic adjustments, stretching exercises and other forms of treatment, those suffering with lower back pain can find relief.

Back pain can be extremely debilitating. If you’re experiencing back pain after you stand for hours or even minutes at a time, contact us as soon as possible. We can help you find a diagnosis and treatment plan that will give you relief.

SPINAL CORD STIMULATION: WHAT IS IT AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

Spinal Cord Stimulation: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has developed into a standard treatment for those with chronic back or limb pain who have been unsuccessful in finding relief from other treatments. But what is it exactly?

According to Spine Health, it is an aggressive pain management approach that calls for surgically implanting an electrotherapeutic device onto the spinal cord.

How does Spinal Cord Stimulation Work?

Once a physician determines whether or not the patient is a good candidate for SCS treatment for chronic pain, the process can begin. Some factors that doctors consider when deciding whether some is a good candidate include:

  • Persistent back pain accompanied by or without leg pain
  • Persistent neck pain accompanied by or without arm pain
  • Previous surgeries (or surgery) but the pain is still there
  • Pain remains despite other treatments being undertaken

Trial Spinal Cord Stimulation

With SCS treatment, there always has to be a short trial period that usually lasts a week. This involves use of a temporary stimulator and is used to discover whether or not SCS will provide sufficient pain relief for the patient. It is an outpatient procedure where the following steps take place:

  • Local anesthetic is used to numb the patient’s skin
  • Leads are positioned under the patient’s skin and are connected to a mini generator, carried by the patient
  • Electrical currents are sent in a pattern, aimed at the location of the pain, with the objective of providing adequate pain relief.

The procedure normally takes 10 to 20 minutes, and if the patient experiences notable relief from their pain during the trial period, the full system can then be inserted.

SCS Surgery

Once the trial is successful, surgery is required for a permanent system to be put in place. This time, the generator is inserted in the upper buttock or abdomen.

  • Once again, local anesthetic is used to numb the patient’s skin
  • The leads are positioned under the skin
  • A mini generator (battery) is surgically positioned in the abdomen or upper buttock
  • Wires are attached in a way that ensures the complete system is under the skin

This surgical procedure takes from 60 to 90 minutes to complete, but is also an outpatient procedure. Patients are still able to participate in daily activities without interruption or inconvenience, there is nothing for the patient to carry and nothing can be seen on the body.

Batteries can last from two to five years depending on the system, the batteries, and how frequently it is used.

Spinal cord stimulation has many benefits, including:

  • A trial procedure before committing to anything permanent
  • The system can be removed if the patient experiences side effects or no longer needs it
  • The procedure is on an outpatient basis and nothing can be seen on the body
  • The patient’s lives are not interrupted and they can continue with any activities
  • Pain relief continues even when the device is switched off.

Although SCS has many benefits, it is important to remember that it is not for everyone experiencing chronic pain. Consultation with a doctor is necessary, even after the procedure, in case the patient needs to undergo other medical treatments for unrelated problems. Procedures such as an ultrasound or MRI should be avoided.