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Millions of people suffer from back pain, it’s likely you’ve already sought treatment. Maybe your pain came back or perhaps never went away, so it’s possible your back pain could be the result of an unexpected source. A frequent cause is injury or simple prolonged overuse. In many cases, the exact cause can be difficult to determine. The root cause can be something unexpected and not typically associated with back pain. In some cases, these factors might make pain symptoms even more severe. Here are some unexpected factors: Smoking Studies have linked smoking and chronic back pain. Some patients with spinal disorders who quit smoking experienced a dramatic improvement in back pain, according to a 2007 study by doctors at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. A more recent study at Northwestern University found smokers are three times more likely than nonsmokers to develop chronic back pain. The results showed smoking affects the way the brain responds to back pain and “seems to make individuals less resilient to an episode of pain.” Sitting Many careers today depend on using computers and prolonged sitting can stress the spinal column. More relaxed leaning-back posture is better for the spine than the traditional upright seated position, according to an article in Science Daily. Long periods of sitting are linked to a range of health issues such as: Back and spine problems Soreness in shoulders Circulation disorders Weakened bones Colon cancer Muscle degeneration Misaligned hips and several other issues connected with chronic pain can all be associated with long hours of sitting. Reclining while working may not be an option for most people, so take regular breaks and even include some stretching exercises to reduce strain. Stress Stress and anxiety can be contributing factors in many types of illness or back pain. Diet Inflammation is a contributor to pain. Processed foods, saturated fats and especially fast foods provide fuel for inflammation that can occur in the cartilage along the spinal column and in other joints. A diet that is primarily plant-based can help prevent inflammation. Highly colored vegetables and fruits tend to be best, such as kale, spinach, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, cherries, berries, pomegranate, and watermelon. Many spices also have anti-inflammatory properties. They include turmeric, basil, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, garlic, and oregano. Other injuries Injuries or ailments can sometimes be the source of back pain. Pain in your knee can alter the way you walk, and that can then cause your back suffer. Pain in your ankles, knees, hips and even shoulders can end up causing pain in your lower back. Headaches or migraines can cause you to hunch or twist. Providing treatment Assessing and identifying the source of the pain is key in providing the most effective pain management. Injury-specific and individualized treatment options are available, including medications, therapies, injections, nerve blocks, radio-frequency ablation and even electrical spinal cord stimulation. If you are enduring chronic or severe back pain, an experienced pain management specialist can help diagnose the problem and get you back to doing the things you love.


Dr. Diane K. Carlson B.A., D.C., C.A.C. 

(928) 862-4333

(928) 862-4334 FAX

2530 W. State Route 89A, Ste B1 Sedona, AZ 86336

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