Archive for category: Back Pain

Signs Your Leg Pain May Require Spine Surgery

Article featured on Arkansas Surgical Hospital

Most people experience pain in their legs at some point in their lives, whether it’s caused by an injury or wear and tear on the muscles and tendons. Usually, the pain goes away as the underlying issue heals or improves over time—but sometimes, spine surgery may be necessary to alleviate the pain in your legs. Here are some signs that you should see a specialist about your leg pain.

Types of Leg Pain Caused by Spine Issues

Common symptoms affecting the leg that are caused by spinal issues include:

  • Pain that radiates down your leg
  • Muscle weakness in your legs
  • Numbness, burning, or tingling sensations down your leg
  • Pain in only one leg
  • A feeling like an electric shock traveling down your leg
  • Difficulty walking

There are many reasons someone may experience these symptoms, so it’s important to see a doctor to determine the cause and if spinal surgery is needed.

Spine Conditions That Cause Leg Pain

Sciatica

If you experience a sharp, shooting pain in your leg that gets worse when you sit or stand, it could be sciatica. A herniated disc can cause this condition in your spine by pressing on the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down to the legs.

In addition to leg pain, you may also have tingling, numbness, or weakness in your leg. It’s important to see a doctor if you experience these symptoms because they can lead to more serious problems.

Spinal Stenosis

One of the most common causes of leg pain is spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of spaces in your spine. This can put pressure on your nerves and cause pain, numbness, or weakness in your legs.

If you have spinal stenosis, you may notice that your pain worsens when you stand or walk for long periods. Sitting down or bending forward may help relieve your pain. Serious cases of spinal stenosis may require surgery to widen the space where the nerve is being compressed. While this doesn’t always eliminate pain, it typically makes it more manageable.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Symptoms of degenerative disc disease can include numbness, tingling, and pain that shoots from the lower back down to your legs. If you experience these symptoms, consult a spine specialist for an examination. The specialist will use an x-ray and/or MRI to rule out a spinal fracture or other issues before diagnosing you with degenerative disc disease. Surgery may be needed if the cause is not detected early enough.

Treatment Options for Leg Pain Caused by Spine Issues

A few options are available if you are dealing with leg pain. Depending on the severity of your pain, you may find relief with over-the-counter medication, physical therapy, or steroid injections.

Spine surgery may be an option if your pain is severe and does not respond to these conservative treatments. Before pursuing surgery, talk to your doctor about your treatment options and get a second opinion from a spine specialist.

Surgery for Leg Pain Caused by Spine Issues

There are a few spine surgeries that can be performed. Some of the most common include:

  • Laminectomy, which removes bony growths from the spinal canal to relieve pressure on compressed nerve roots
  • Discectomy, which removes (and sometimes replaces) a herniated disc
  • Vertebral fusion, which stabilizes vertebrae in your spine by fusing them together

Is Your Leg Pain Caused by a Spine Problem?

If you’ve had leg pain for an extended period of time, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and speak with your doctor about the best treatment options for your condition. Spinal surgery might be necessary if your symptoms worsen quickly without relief or increase in intensity without any known cause.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, foot and ankle conditions, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic and podiatric surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:

503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Good and Bad Exercises for Low Back Pain


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, foot and ankle conditions, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic and podiatric surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:

503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Exercise and Back Pain

Article featured on Spine-Health

Back exercises are almost always necessary to rehabilitate the spine and alleviate back pain. A controlled, gradual exercise program that is tailored to an individual is usually the most effective.

While a typical response to back pain is to take it easy—either staying in bed or at least stopping any strenuous activity—resting for more than a day or two can actually undermine healing and worsen pain.

Benefits of Exercise

When done in a controlled, progressive manner, exercises for relieving back pain have many benefits, including:

  • Strengthening the muscles that support the spine, removing pressure from the spinal discs and facet joints
  • Alleviating stiffness and improving mobility
  • Improving circulation to better distribute nutrients through the body, including to the spinal discs
  • Releasing endorphins, which can naturally relieve pain. A frequent release of endorphins can help reduce reliance on pain medication. Endorphins can also elevate mood and relieve depressive symptoms, a common effect of chronic pain.
  • Minimizing the frequency of back or neck pain episodes, and reducing the severity of pain when it does occur.

A balanced workout should include a combination of stretching and strengthening, as well as aerobic exercise that elevates the heart rate.

Exercise as Prescription for Back Pain

An effective program of back exercises should be comprehensive, working the whole body even as it targets the back. Exercise can be thought of as any other health prescription: A qualified health professional will customize exercise based on a variety of factors. These factors typically include:

  • the clinical diagnosis
  • whether pain is considered mild, moderate, or severe
  • the pain relief necessary to tolerate activity
  • the frequency of prescribed exercises
  • the correct form and healthy posture needed for performing exercises

Maintaining the Exercise Program Over Time

Adherence to exercise is one of the most important factors for long term pain relief. However, maintaining exercise can be difficult for a variety of reasons, including worsened pain with activity, economic constraints, and low motivation. In one study, the most common reason for lack of adherence to exercise was increased pain caused by activity. When this is the case, an exercise professional can incorporate pain reduction and management as primary parts of the exercise program.

Personal preference also plays a role in adherence—for instance, if an exercise routine is too painful or not enjoyable, it is less likely to be done regularly enough to be effective.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, foot and ankle conditions, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic and podiatric surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:

503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Radiating Pain in Your Leg? Best to See Your Doctor

Article featured on Atlanta Spine Institute

Radiating Pain in Your Leg? Best to See Your Doctor

Have you noticed a sharp pain that’s been radiating down your leg? If so, you may be experiencing a herniated disc or damaged nerve. While it may be tempting to treat this type of pain on your own, it is in your best interest to visit your doctor as soon as possible. This is one of those symptoms that can lead to serious complications down the road if you decide to ignore it. Once you do visit a doctor for radiating pain in your leg, here’s what you can expect.

Physical Therapy

In the event the pain medication doesn’t do much, your doctor will recommend physical therapy sessions. These sessions can stretch and strengthen your muscles and eventually relieve your symptoms. You’ll go to a physical therapist on a regular basis and be responsible for performing their prescribed exercises at home.

Injections

If your radiating pain continues for more than a month or two, the next step will be a scan to pinpoint its root cause. You may also be referred to a pain management system. If your scan reveals a herniated disc that leads to a compressed nerve or compressed nerves due to aging your doctor will suggest spinal injections. The injections will deliver cortisone to your spinal column.

Surgery

Surgical intervention will be a last resort and only recommended if conservative measures don’t work. Your doctor will discuss the various surgical options available as well as the risks and anticipated outcomes of each so you can make an informed decision. Understand that you will need to try several conservative treatments before you even consider surgery.

So if you experience radiating leg pain, don’t ignore it. Consult your doctor who will design a treatment plan that is ideal for your unique case. You should also resume your daily activities as stopping them can weaken your spine and make the recovery process far more challenging.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, foot and ankle conditions, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic and podiatric surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:

503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Joints That Are Most Commonly Affected by Arthritis

Article featured on Healthgrades

Arthritis is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes joint inflammation. When you’re living with arthritis, a simple task, such as tying your shoe or buttoning your shirt can become a challenging one. Not only does the swelling and aching interfere with work and daily living activities, it can also be painful and sometimes debilitating.

There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, but the most common include rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease) and osteoarthritis (a “wear-and-tear” condition related to aging, injury or obesity). Both cause joint stiffness, pain and decreased range of motion, and can affect many different joints throughout the body.

1. Knee

The knee is one of the most common joints affected by osteoarthritis. This happens when there’s a breakdown of cartilage, which cushions the ends of the bones where they meet the joints. Symptoms of knee arthritis include stiffness, swelling, and pain, which can make it hard to walk and get in and out of chairs and bed. In severe cases, osteoarthritis in the knees can lead to disability.

2. Hand

When you have arthritis in your hands, it usually includes aching, stiffness or numbness in the fingers or at the base of the thumb joint, making it difficult to pinch or grip items. Small, bony knobs may appear on the middle or end joints (those closest to the fingernails) of the fingers, which can become enlarged and gnarled. This type of arthritis in the hands seems to run in families.

3. Hip

The hip is also a common arthritis site. You may have pain and stiffness in your hip joint, but some people also notice pain in the groin, buttocks, lower back, or front or inner thigh. Or they may have pain in only one of these areas. This type of hip arthritis can affect your ability to move or bend, and make daily activities a challenge.

4. Spine, Neck and Back

Arthritis in the spine usually results in stiffness and pain in the neck or lower back, but in some cases, it may not lead to any pain at all. Arthritis changes can also cause pressure on the nerves where they exit the spinal column, leading to weakness, tingling or numbness of the arms and legs. Since these symptoms can often seem like other health conditions, always check with your doctor for a diagnosis.

5. Foot and Ankle

Arthritis can also cause swelling and pain in the foot and ankle. It most often affects the joint at the base of the big toe, which can make walking difficult. The swelling can also lead to bunions on the toes, which can sometimes make the pain and deformity of the foot worse. With rheumatoid arthritis, the same joints on both sides of the body (such as both feet or both ankles) are usually affected.

6. Elbow

Joint inflammation can also be to blame for elbow pain or loss of function. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the elbow, and if one elbow is affected, the other likely will be, too. While elbow osteoarthritis is more common in weight-bearing joints, such as the knee and hip, it can also occur in the elbow, and is often the result of overuse or an injury, such as in the case of a tennis or baseball player.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, foot and ankle conditions, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic and podiatric surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:

503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

3 Hamstring Stretches to Relieve Lumbar Herniated Disc Pain

Article featured on Atlanta Spine Institute

3 Hamstring Stretches to Relieve Lumbar Herniated Disc Pain

If you suffer from a lumbar herniated disc, you may be experiencing radiating leg pain. The most effective way to relieve radiating leg pain is stretching on a daily basis. These three stretches will help take away some of the pressure on your sciatic nerve in your leg. They’ll also aid in loosening your hamstrings and improve the support in your lumbar spine.

Standing Hamstring Stretch

To perform this stretch, start by standing with your legs straight and feet together. Next, bend at your waist, while keeping your knees straight. Once bent over at the waist, place your hands on your hips or thighs. Inhale, slowly, then exhale, and hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Once the 30 seconds is up, maintain a flat back while you stand up straight.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

This stretch is a better option than the standing stretch if you have limited mobility or if your hamstrings are extremely tight. For this stretch, you’ll need a firm chair with a straight back and another item that has a similar height as the seat of the chair such as a stool or bucket. For this stretch, sit upright on the edge of the chair with both feet flat on the ground.

Straighten one of your legs in front of you and place the back of the heel on the top of the stool. Then, lean forward at the waist towards your straightened leg until you start to feel the stretch near the back side of your thighs. Hold the position for 30 seconds, then switch to stretching your opposite leg.

Towel Hamstring Stretch

This stretch can be performed while lying down and with the aid of a towel. To start, lie on your back on a flat surface. Put your left leg flat on the floor and raise your right leg up in the air. Wrap the towel around the ball of your foot on your right leg, and hold the two ends of the towel, one end in each hand.

Try to push your right heel up towards the ceiling and keep your rig leg straight until you feel it stretching your hamstring. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, and then switch to the other leg. Repeat this stretch 3 times for each leg.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, foot and ankle conditions, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic and podiatric surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:

503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Acute Mechanical Back Pain

What is acute mechanical back pain?

Acute mechanical back pain is a common medical problem. Acute pain is pain that has been present in your back for less than four to six weeks. Mechanical means that the source of the pain may be in your spinal joints, discs, vertebrae, or soft tissues. Acute mechanical back pain may also be called acute low back pain, lumbago, idiopathic low back pain, lumbosacral strain or sprain, or lumbar syndrome.

What causes mechanical back pain?

A precise cause of your acute mechanical back pain can be identified only 20% of the time. Sometimes, a specific accident or hard activity may cause the pain you’re feeling. However, 80% of the time, the specific source of the pain is not found. Fortunately most people recover in a relatively short period of time with simple treatment.

Mechanical back pain implies the source of pain is in the spine and/or its supporting structure. The surrounding muscles and ligaments may develop reactive spasm and pain.

What are the symptoms of mechanical back pain?

Most people with mechanical back pain experience pain primarily in their lower back. The pain may radiate (spread) to your buttocks and thighs. Many people may also experience spasms with mechanical back pain. The symptoms of mechanical back pain are generally more noticeable with flexion of the back and when lifting heavy objects.

How is back pain diagnosed?

A careful evaluation of your medical history and a physical examination will help your healthcare provider determine if you have mechanical back pain. He or she will then work with you to create an appropriate treatment plan.

If your healthcare provider has determined your back pain is mechanical, additional testing is not usually necessary. If your symptoms or the examination suggest the possibility of infection, malignancy, or a pinched nerve, additional tests may be done. Additional testing may include blood tests, x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or nerve conduction studies.

How is back pain treated?

Non-surgical treatment with limited rest and over the counter pain relievers is sufficient treatment for most patients like you. In some people, a supervised physical therapy program for ongoing mechanical pain may be recommended. Talk to your healthcare provider to see which treatment is right for you.

  • Bed rest: Short-term bed rest may be recommended for you if you have severe back pain and muscle spasms. Bed rest for more than 48 hours is rarely recommended.
  • Physical activity: In some cases, healthcare providers recommend early physical activity to promote rapid recovery from back pain. For moderate to mild back pain, you may be encouraged to maintain a near-normal schedule from the onset.
  • Ice and heat application: Applying heat and ice alternately to the lower back is helpful to relax the muscles and decrease muscle inflammation. In general, you are encouraged to apply heat for 20 minutes, and then apply ice for 20 minutes. If you find that one application is more helpful than the other, then use only that application. Generally, heat and/or ice should be applied two to three times per day.
  • Medications: If you have muscle spasms, a muscle relaxant may be prescribed for a short time (three to four days). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen are available without prescription and may be used to reduce pain. Stronger prescription pain relievers are rarely required.
  • Physical therapy: In a few cases, physical therapy may be an essential part of acute back pain rehabilitation. It is important that you work with a physical therapist trained in this exercise approach to promote rapid healing. Active physical therapy can help shorten recovery time and return you to work and leisure activities as quickly as possible. Active physical therapy is an exercise program that may require home exercises as frequently as every two hours while you are awake. The exercises generally take about five minutes to do and do not require special equipment, nor do you need to go to a gym to do them.

What is the outlook for people with back pain?

The prognosis for complete recovery is excellent. Most people with acute mechanical back pain respond very rapidly to treatment. About 90% of people with acute low back pain are symptom-free in one to two weeks. Many of the remaining estimated 10% recover within three months.

Recurrences of back pain are common. Continuing your home exercise program may help reduce your risk of another episode.

When can I return to work?

It’s usually recommend that you return to work right away. If you cannot do your regular job, it is in your best interest to return to some kind of modified duty (light or restricted duty). Your healthcare provider can give you a prescription for a limited period of modified work duty.

It is very common to be afraid to promptly return to work and other activities because of fear of re-injury. However, if you are receiving proper treatment, your risk of re-injury should be limited. It is in your best interest to return to a normal lifestyle promptly. Early mobility has been found to directly result in a more rapid recovery. Maintaining a positive mental attitude is also imperative to a quick recovery.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, foot and ankle conditions, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic and podiatric surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:

503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Back Pain Treatment in Kids and Teens

Article featured on Spine-Health

Treatment of back pain in children will be dictated by the underlying diagnosis of the cause of the pain. Surgery is considered for patients who do not respond to several weeks of nonsurgical care or those with a medical emergency.

Nonsurgical Treatments

Mainstream treatment options for kids and teens with back pain include rest from aggravating activities, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and/or wearing a back brace.

For most conditions, some type of physical therapy or exercise program is usually prescribed, such as:

  • Physical therapy. The goal of physical therapy in children emphasizes posture correction and core strengthening. Flexibility of hamstring and hip abductor and flexor muscles are also typically checked and treated for shortness or tightness.
  • Yoga. The treatment of chronic, nonspecific back pain through yoga can help improve the back and abdominal muscle functions in kids and teens. Yoga has shown positive outcomes on both physical and psychosocial aspects for children and teens with back pain.
    Some patients may benefit from acupuncture and massage therapy for the back, to help improve blood flow and improve healing in the affected tissues.

Nonsurgical care may be needed for several days to weeks depending on the severity of the underlying cause. Resuming physical activity and sports under a doctor’s supervision is advisable.

Psychosocial Intervention

A family history of lower back pain or smoking, or psychosocial stress in the family, may cause lower back pain in children and teens. Children can be stressed due to problems at school or home, and the type of response and support they get from family members and caregivers can play an important role in their perception of pain.

Counseling with a pediatric psychologist could help evaluate the child’s response to back pain. These trained medical professionals ask child-friendly and age-appropriate questions, including “What color would you assign to your back pain?” “If your back pain was an animal, what would it be and why?” “What do you do to lessen the pain?” “What can we do to help your pain?”

Psychosocial stressors typically exacerbate an already-existing back pain from a different cause. Psychosocial intervention is generally considered a supportive and alternative treatment approach for back pain in children and not a primary treatment option.

Surgery

Surgery may be recommended to address certain conditions that cause pain, such as a herniated disc, disc degeneration of the adjacent spinal segment, spondylolisthesis, or a spinal tumor. Surgery may also be considered in cases of spinal deformities, such as scoliosis, Scheuermann’s disease, or ankylosing spondylitis.

For disc and bone problems, lumbosacral fusion is the most common type of surgery performed in children. For kids with spondylolysis without disc degeneration and grade I spondylolisthesis or less, a direct repair of the vertebral defect may be considered. 1

A multidisciplinary approach works best to treat back pain in kids and teens. In this approach, physical, psychosocial, or occupational factors are addressed by a multidisciplinary team, including pediatricians, neurologists, neurosurgeons, and pediatric psychologists.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, foot and ankle conditions, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic and podiatric surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:

503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

How to Crack Your Back

Article featured on WebMD

Whether you’re stuck in an uncomfortable seated position behind a desk or spend most of your days completing strenuous tasks, chances are that your back is experiencing the brunt of the pain and discomfort. If you find yourself wanting back relief, you’re not alone. The CDC reported that nearly 40% of adults had back pain in 2019. Cracking your back, when done safely, can help you experience major relief and help remove built-up tension and pressure from your spine. Keep reading to learn more about what causes back pain, if cracking your back is a safe method of relief, and how to crack your back safely.

What Causes Back Pain?

It’s important to understand that there are varying levels of back pain, and although some back pain can be diminished by cracking your back or stretching, more serious and long-lasting back pain should be addressed with your healthcare provider. If you are experiencing back pain that can find relief from simple movements and cracking, chances are that you are experiencing pain and discomfort due to your lifestyle. Some of the common causes for this type of back pain include:

  • Sitting in a single position for long periods, especially with poor posture
  • Obesity, which can cause excess pressure to be placed on the spine
  • Completing strenuous tasks like exercising, lifting something heavy, or pushing and pulling without proper back support
  • Being older than 45, which is when these pains become more common

The back is made up of several different structures in the spine that rely on each other to support your body’s everyday movements. When one of these structures is not properly supported, it can make completing daily tasks increasingly difficult. Before you decide to give cracking your back a try, assess your back pain and confirm that it is not due to an injury, as cracking your back could cause further damage.

What Happens When You Crack Your Back?

Hearing your back crack and pop can be alarming the first time around, as the sounds can make you feel as though you are doing damage to your spine. However, understanding where this noise comes from can reassure you.

When you begin to feel the urge to crack your back, it’s because your back is experiencing a certain level of pressure between the vertebrae, which are the interlocking bones of the spine that help support about half of your body weight and give your body the strength and flexibility to move the way that you do. Pockets of fluid surround each vertebra, and when pressure is built up, gas forms within this fluid. When you move or stretch in a certain manner, this pressure and gas are released from the fluid, which contributes to the cracking or popping you hear.

Once this gas is released, there is less tension and pressure buildup between your spine. This is what allows you to feel relief following a good back-cracking session.

Is It Safe to Crack Your Back?

For most, back cracking and popping can unintentionally happen with certain stretches and movements. Although natural back cracking is typically considered to be safe, intentional and continuous back cracking should be avoided. Forcefully cracking your back may not have repercussions the first time around. However, a back cracking habit can lead to concerning injuries, including:

  • Pinching a nerve
  • Inflammation of your joints
  • Muscle strain
  • Blood vessel injury
  • Joint instability
Overall, back cracking should not be a painful experience. If you are experiencing pain, speak with your doctor about an underlying cause and rule out a possible injury.

Chiropractors are a great alternative if you are wanting to realign your spine, pinpoint the pain site, and get relief. This also ensures that you are not moving in a way that may cause further injury. If you are wanting to take matters into your own hands and have tools for back pain relief in your daily life, consider doing some of the following stretches that might provide that natural back-cracking response:

  • Sitting rotation. Sit on the floor with both legs stretched out in front of you. Bend one leg and cross it over the other. Slowly twist your upper body toward your bent leg. One arm should be behind you for support and the other should be on the side of your bent thigh for a deeper stretch. Hold this position, slowly release, and alternate.
  • Cat and camel pose. Begin this pose in a tabletop position. Slowly alternate from arching your back and tucking your chin into your neck to gazing up and dropping your stomach toward the floor.
  • Kneeling back extension. Begin this pose in a tabletop position. Tuck your chin into your neck, arch your back, and push your hip back towards your heels.
  • Knee to chest. Begin in a lying-down position. Slowly bend one of your knees, and, holding onto your shin or knee with both hands, bring your knee to your chest. Hold this position for a few seconds, then do the same for the other leg.
  • When doing these gentle stretches, you may experience the natural cracking and popping of your back. This is normal and should not be a cause for concern unless they are accompanied by pain. Continue these stretches to relieve any pressure and tension in your back. Tell your doctor if you keep having pain and discomfort.

The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, foot and ankle conditions, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic and podiatric surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:

503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Back Pain in Teens & Kids


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, foot and ankle conditions, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic and podiatric surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:

503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm