We can now add back pain to the laundry list of side-effects brought on by the pandemic. Studies show that lingering inflammation caused by the virus is creating a ripple effect in neck and spine pain, months after the illness has run its course. That coupled with the WFH and ongoing desk duties many of us are still combatting as we navigate Zoom meetings, at-home sitting situations and an unfortunate weight-gain is causing many to dash to the nearest chiropractor for self-care and self-adjustments. New Brunswick back pain expert and chiropractor Dr. Blessen Abraham shares why we need to correct the problems now before the strain and pain becomes even more severe…
What are some of the major contributors and causes of back pain?
There are many factors that can cause back pain. A traumatic injury such as a fall or a car accident, inadequate stretching before working out, or even working out too hard can cause pain. Sleeping on the couch or sleeping on a bad mattress are also causes, but the most common reason for back pain is simply being out of shape. When you have excess weight, your posture is hindered, which causes muscles to work more aggressively to maintain us upright.
Have you seen any changes or upticks since the pandemic? Are more people sitting at their desks and putting more strain on the neck and upper back?
The pandemic has been eye-opening for many people. Since working from home we are either sitting behind desks, kitchen tables, or dining tables for hours on end. WFH also brings more opportunities for snacks and meals as we sit there quarterbacking everything from our desk. We are looking at computers sometimes with 2 to 3 screens, managing our family life in and leaning into our screens, not taking proper breaks or stretching, as a result.
Are back injuries more common as we enter the warmer seasons?
The seasons are similar but in the warmer months, more people want to work out and get in shape for swimsuits and become more active, as a result. If they are not in shape and not stretching properly, they are more prone to injuries and back pain.
Can weight play a role in causing back pain?
Weight is a major factor in back pain. As we gain weight or midsection, or lower half starts to lean forward because of the weight to keep upright. This is very abnormal and causes very immense amount of strain to our low back muscles and our upper neck muscles.
What are some of the most common complaints pregnant women face regarding back pain and are you able to treat pregnant women?
The most common complaints from pregnant women are pain in their lower back, which can shoot down the left or right leg. Rarely I will see the pain going down both legs, but it does happen. They usually will seek massage as a treatment, but it does not tend to hold or maintain the relief that is necessary. Specific techniques of chiropractic the pain can significantly reduce their pain.
Are you finding more people more reluctant to take pain meds and instead obtain holistic treatments, like chiropractic care?
There has been a shift in the past few years of more people turning away from pain meds and going to holistic treatment including chiropractic care. In addition to chiropractic treatment, there is also physical therapy, acupuncture, and yoga.
What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in your field over the last 5-10 years?
The biggest changes that I have seen is people being more aware and in a tune to their bodies, what is needed and what is wrong. In addition, we have noticed insurance companies being a little bit more open to covering holistic treatments.
How long have you been practicing?
I started practicing about 20-years ago with my father in Philadelphia. I learned many techniques and strategies on how to collaborate with patients with different kinds of pain and to work with other doctors to collaborate and coach treat patients in unison. I eventually brought what I had learned from collaborating with my father to New Jersey, as well.
What do you personally do to avoid back pain?
I try to stretch as much as I can or get stretched by someone before I know I must go work out or do any strenuous work.
by Dr. Robbi Ludwig
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