If people have a major trauma, like a car accident or a fall, they can point to the event that caused their pain. It makes sense to them. Something happened. They had an injury.
Other times, patients tell me they were not doing anything unusual when their pain started.
Maybe they bent over in a movement they done a hundred times before, and came up with the pain that suddenly felt debilitating. Sometimes they may have “felt something snap,” but many times they were just going about their normal day. The only difference is that now, they are in a lot of pain.
This kind of injury is caused by – micro-trauma. These are injuries caused by everyday things we do in ways that can cause long-term problems. Chiropractic can help.
Causes of micro-trauma
You may have heard of overuse or underuse injuries. Maybe you’ve heard of repetitive motion injuries. It can happen to anyone in any profession.
Think of someone at the Ford Plant moving car parts day in and day out, putting a constant minor stress on parts of his back. He can handle moving incorrectly for a while, but every day his back is strained. Someone else spends a lot of time working at a keyboard. For them, the act of sitting and slouching, or using the right hand only for the mouse, might over time make their spine sit in a fixed position that’s not symmetrical.
Those two people, doing very different jobs are subjecting their bodies to daily micro-traumas. They have developed a habit of not moving in the way our bodies were designed to move. They pull the muscles and the alignment of their spines in unhealthy ways. Over time, both of these people may find they are getting into problems with their spine. They could wake up one day and be experiencing pain in a new way, or it could be the 898th time they bent over and felt something “snap,” even though they had done the same motion in the same way so many times before.
Harder to heal
These kinds of micro-traumas are often worse for us than major traumas because we don’t realize what we are doing to our spine as we engage in an unhealthy motion repeatedly. While everyone’s body is unique, the typical presentation for these kinds of traumas is that the pain will come and go, and come and go, and then it will stay.
Micro-trauma can also take a longer time to heal because we have been doing the same stuff every day and we have reconditioned our body to move that way. It is the kind of thing our body can handle every once in a while, but when we do it a thousand times we’re going to experience wear and tear, especially if we are not doing something to balance out the motion. Our bodies, which were not built to move in these unhealthy ways, have been trying to adapt. In order to realign the spine, it may take time, because we not only have to align the spine, but also work to retrain the muscles to hold the spine properly.
Worth the work
The time is worth it though. When the spine is back to working property, the pain from micro-trauma can go away, we can re-learn how to properly move to protect our spine, and the nervous systems of the body can work the way they were meant to work.