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.

doctor holding model spine

Figuring Out Your True Back Pain Diagnosis

The human body is an incredible machine, but when something goes wrong, and we develop low back pain, we certainly don’t feel very amazing. 

Surprisingly, most people don’t get their back pain diagnosed until it hinders their ability to do normal, everyday tasks. 

The sad truth is most people put off seeing a doctor about their back until the problem spills over causing issues in other areas of the body. Don’t let that be you. Keep reading to find out the truth about your back pain.

Acute Versus Chronic Pain: What’s What?

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The main difference between acute pain and chronic back pain is whether or not there was some traumatic injury preceding the pain. Many times, this can happen when your core muscles are weak, and you overdo it with chores, errands, lifting, and walking. In these instances, the pain you feel is your body’s defense mechanism for telling you to calm down. Of course, if the traumatic injury is more than just overdoing it then you definitely should seek the help of a medical professional. Your back plays such an important role in every movement and every task that it is vital not to ignore the pain.

When you’re dealing with chronic pain, there can be physical reasons causing the pain or it could be more of a degenerative issue that cannot be corrected. Even if you’ve been able to handle the pain, you’re not doing yourself any favors by not seeing a doctor for a diagnosis. There have been significant advances in the medical field that can detect the causes of low back pain; this makes determining the best treatment options much easier to define and understand. Spine surgeon

The Risk of Not Going to the Doctor

Back injuries and putting undue stress on our spine isn’t just the focus of many safety meetings, nor is it just something our parents used to nag us about when always reminding us to “sit up straight.” Our back holds and protects our spinal cord, the nerves that send pain signals from different areas of our body to our brain also send the all the pleasant sensations too. When you don’t listen to the pain signals you run the risk of making any damage worse than it needs to be, a pinched nerve doesn’t just affect your back; it changes the way you walk, stand, and sit. Think of your back like the trunk of a tree: if the wind always blows hard from the same direction, soon the tree trunk and branches will start to grow the way the wind blows. If you avoid going to the doctor for your low back pain, and you change the way you move in an attempt to ease the pain, your body will react like the tree out of habit.

Diagnosis & Treatment

If you’re suffering from low back pain in the Houston area and are ready to seek treatment for improving your quality of life, we invite you to contact one of our friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced doctors here at ClickMD Patients. Our primary goal is to provide our patients with an understanding of what options they have to treat their back pain diagnosis, from therapy and spinal procedures to pain management for conditions that do not have a cure available. You don’t have to let your low back pain bench you from living a full life, and we’re here to help get you “back” in the game. For more information about how you can get relief for life from your low back pain, contact us at (713) 461-8555 or email info@clickmdpatients.com.

woman holding her back in pain

Lower Back Pain

According to the American Spinal Decompression Association, low back pain (LBP) affects at least 80% of us at some time throughout our lives. It is usually recurrent, and subsequent episodes tend to increase in severity. LBP is usually common in individuals who lead sedentary lives and in those who engage in manual labor. LBP can occur at any age but is most prevalent during the third to sixth decades of life.

The functions of the low back, or lumbar area, include structural support, movement, and protection of certain body tissues. Pain in the low back can be a result of conditions affecting the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area. Dysfunction in the sacroiliac joint, or SI joint, is also a large cause of low back and/or leg pain. The leg pain can be particularly difficult, and may feel similar to sciatica or pain caused by a lumbar disc herniation.

Less common causes of low back pain include Paget’s disease of bone, bleeding or infection in the pelvis, infection of the cartilage and/or bone of the spine, aneurysm of the aorta, and shingles. Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 2.16.49 PM

The diagnosis of low back pain involves a review of the history of the illness and underlying medical conditions as well as a physical examination. It’s essential that a complete story of the back pain be reviewed including injury history, aggravating and alleviating conditions, associated symptoms (fever, numbness, tingling, incontinence, etc.), as well as the duration and progression of symptoms. Aside from routine abdomen and extremity evaluations, rectal and pelvic examinations may eventually be required as well. Further tests for diagnosis of low back pain can be required including blood and urine tests, plain film X-ray tests, CAT scanning, MRI scanning, bone scanning, and tests of the nerves such as electromyograms (EMG) and nerve conduction velocities (NCV).

The good news is that LBP can be treated! As described above, the treatment depends on the precise cause of the low back pain. Each patient must be individually evaluated and managed in the context of the underlying background health status and activity level.

The outlook for low back pain absolutely depends on its precise cause. For example, acute strain injuries generally heal entirely with minimal treatment. On the other hand, bony abnormalities that are irritating the spinal cord can require significant surgical repair and the outlook depends on the surgical result. Long-term optimal results often involve exercise rehabilitation programs that can involve physical therapists.

For more information about how you can get relief for life from your recurring low back pain, contact us on (713) 461-8555 or email us at info@clickmdpatients.com.

SI Joint

Sacroiliac Joint Pain Causes and Treatments

Do you have stiffness in the lower back when getting up after sitting for long periods of time or pain in the lower back and/or hip that radiates into groin area? If so, you may be experiencing Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain. There are two SI joints in your body, located on either side of the triangle-shaped bone at the bottom of your spine where it connects to your pelvis. The SI joints are a shock absorber for your spine and provide stability for your body as you run, walk, or jump. Interestingly, the SI joints usually don’t move more than 2 to 4 millimeters themselves. Each SI joint contains many nerve endings that can cause significant pain if the joint is damaged or loses its ability to move properly.  Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.58.19 PM

Everyday wear and tear, arthritis, or a single injury can damage these joints, changing their normal movement and creating chronic and sometimes debilitating SI joint pain that often feels like generic low back pain.

Within the past couple of years, there has been resurgence in the recognition of the SI joint as a source of low back pain. In a recent study, Bernard & Kirkaldy-Willis found that the SI joint is a real, yet underappreciated pain generator in an estimated 15% to 25% of patients with low back pain.  Furthermore, 22.5% of patients with reported low back pain had SI Joint pain.

While it’s not clear how the pain is caused, it is widely considered by medical professionals that an alteration in the normal joint motion may be the culprit that causes sacroiliac pain. This source of pain can be caused by:

  • Too much movement (hypermobility or instability): The pain is typically felt in the lower back and/or hip and may radiate into groin area.
  • Too little movement (hypomobility or fixation): The pain is typically felt on one side of the low back or buttocks, and can radiate down the leg. The pain usually remains above the knee, but at times pain can extend to the ankle or foot. The pain is similar to sciatica, or pain that radiates down the sciatic nerve and is caused by a radiculopathy.

Othercauses of SI joint pain

  • Degenerative sacroilitis
  • Sacral disruption
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  •  Post-traumatic SI Joint disruption
  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Structural pelvic asymmetry
  • Tumor (pituitary or metastatic)
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Degenerative osteoarthritis
  • Ligamentous laxity (pregnancy)
  • Trauma Adjacent segment disease

Common symptoms of SI joint pain

  • Pain located on one side of lower back Pain radiating into the buttocks
  • Lower back and groin referred pain into the lower limbs (which can be mistaken for sciatica)
  • Difficulty turning over in bed,
  • Struggling to put on shoes and socks
  • Leg pain while getting in and out of car
  • Stiffness in the lower back when getting up after sitting for long periods
  • When getting up from bed Aching on one side of lower back when driving long distances

Diagnoses

During a physical examination, the doctor may try to determine if the sacroiliac joint is the cause of pain through movement of the joint. If the movement recreates the patient’s pain, and no other cause of pain can explain the patient’s pain and symptoms such as a disc herniation on an MRI scan, the sacroiliac joint may be the cause of the pain.Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.58.39 PM

There are several orthopedic tests that can be used in an attempt to reproduce the symptoms associated with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. As a rule, several positive tests that reproduce pain specifically located at the sacroiliac joint improve the probability of the diagnosis of sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Treatment 

Sacroiliac joint fusion is a technique used to stabilize the SI joint. The majority of patients can be treated through physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, or SI joint injections. However, some will require surgical treatment when conservative therapies have not improved symptoms.

One surgical technique is The Silex SI joint fusion system, which is intended for SI joint disruptions. In the Silex system, implants are placed across the SI joint, which provides initial stabilization and can offer significant improvement in pain.Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.59.01 PM

The device optionally incorporates a proprietary dual-pitch compression-thread design and titanium plasma coating to stabilize the SI Joint in fusion procedures.

For more information about how you can get relief for life from your recurring low back pain, contact us on (713) 461-8555 or email us at info@clickmdpatients.com. We also have a seminar coming up on May 21st, 2016 at the Briar Club, register online to secure your place today!