What is referred pain?
Referred pain is pain that is triggered in a specific part of the body, but you feel pain elsewhere, rather than at the local site of the triggering point.
When it comes to the spine, certain back and neck problems may cause referred pain to other parts of the body. This is different from radiating pain, as the latter tends to occur more closely to the trigger site and manifest alongside nearby nerves.
The most common referred pain areas are the upper and lower limbs, as well as the head. That is why leg, arm and shoulder pain, as well as headaches can sometimes be attributed to back problems.
What causes back pain to spread to other parts of the body?
Localised back pain and referred pain can occur together, and as such it is not uncommon to suffer from both acute back pain and leg pain at the same time, for example.
Some back problems and medical conditions that may cause both local and referred pain, be it acute or chronic pain, include:
- Sciatica and pinched nerves, which may be caused by spinal discs that press against them, as well as spinal compression.
- Facet joint issues.
- Degenerative changes in the spine caused by the wear and tear process, such as arthritis or loss of water content from the spinal discs.
- Injuries to the bones of the spine or the soft tissues along the back, such as the muscles or ligaments.
- Spinal stenosis, where the canal through which the spinal cord passes becomes narrower, and certain nerves or even the cord itself may become pinched, triggering pain sensations.
- Disc problems, such as disc herniation, disc prolapse, or degenerative disc disease.
In a large number of cases, back pain, as well as back problems are only temporary and tend to go away on their own as time goes on. However, there are also cases when the pain persists, or when you simply want to speed up the recovery process. There are several approaches that you can take to manage and relieve referred pain, including:
- Working with a physical therapist to engage in physical therapy that helps re-mobilise the spine and correct any stiffness or postural issues that may be causing the pain.
- Taking pain medications for a short period of time to temporarily relieve inflammation and pain.
- Resting and avoiding activities that may worsen the pain.
- Using a special orthopaedic device that decompresses your spine in order to remove any physical stress that is placed upon your spine, releasing any trapped spinal structures in order to relieve any pain that is referred to other parts of the body.
Backrack Spinal Decompression Device
How to relieve referred pain with the help of spinal decompression
Spinal decompression therapy is a treatment modality that restores the natural space in-between your vertebrae, stretching out your spine. In order to understand how decompression therapy relives back problems, it is important to first understand the operating mechanisms of the Backrack.
The device itself is made out of several wooden rows, with 2 wooden nodules on each row. As you lay on the rack, your spinal column fits perfectly in between the two nodules on each row, and your vertebrae and rib cage fit in the spaces between each row.
Because of this precise placement of your spine on the device, when you perform any sort of exercise, the nodules on the device massage the exact place where your back problem occurs.
For example, when a nerve that was previously trapped due to spinal compression is now released as a result of this treatment, you may find that both local and referred pain will disappear. In other words, if your referred pain is due to back issues, when you fix the problem with your back, the referred pain shall disappear as well.
Apart from relieving the pain, the Backrack is a tool that can be used in preventing back pain, as well as referred pain from returning in the future.
Author: Spinal Backrack