Back and neck pain affects about 80 percent of people in the U.S. at some point in their lives, and often, pain is caused by issues such as overuse, strain, poor posture, and even ill-fitting shoes. Sometimes, though, pain can be caused by more serious issues including arthritis, herniated discs, and other issues related to the nerves and soft tissues. Back and neck pain can also occur as a result of slip-and-fall accidents, sports injuries, and car accidents where whiplash can be a major cause of chronic and acute neck pain.
Whiplash occurs when a sudden force like a rear-collision car crash causes the neck and head to snap back and forth violently. Soft tissue injury is a common consequence of whiplash which may often result in nerve-related symptoms such as shooting electricity-like pain radiating down the arm.
Sciatica is a term used to describe symptoms that occur when the sciatic nerve, a very long nerve which runs down both legs, becomes compressed where it exits the spinal column. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc, which bulges out of its normal confines and presses against the nerve. Sometimes, a disc can rupture and the gel-like interior can seep out, increasing irritation of the sciatic nerve. People who sit or stand for long periods of time are more likely to have sciatica as well as are people who are obese or very overweight. Sciatica also tends to occur more frequently with age.
Many types of back and neck pain can be successfully treated using conservative approaches that help promote the body's natural healing responses. Osteopathy uses hands-on approaches including osteopathic manipulation and massage to relieve inflammation and promote healing circulation. Gentle stretching and strengthening exercises may also be used to help promote pain-free range of motion and improve flexibility to reduce the risk of pain in the future.
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