According to the National Institutes of Health, Americans spend $50 billion annually on back pain. Yes, that is Billions with a B! It is the most common cause of lost work but is second to headaches as the most frequent neural disorder.

A frequently overlooked cause of lower back pain is misalignment of the bones of the neck. While the mechanism is not well understood, it is postulated that the spinal cord is affected and the nerves to the lower back are compromised.

Some chiropractors specialize in correcting misalignments of the neck, especially the top two bones of the spine. We are called upper cervical (neck) chiropractors.

How do you know if your back pain is being caused by your neck? You don't. However, I can give you some reasons to be suspicious.

Headaches are also often the result of upper cervical misalignment. So, if you have headaches and back pain, you should see an upper cervical chiropractor and get checked.

Tightness and pain in the neck are also signs of neck misalignment. If you are having difficulty turning your head from side to side, looking up or down, or tilting your head right or left, your loss of motion could be due to neck misalignment. To check yourself, stand in front of a mirror. Tilt your head to try to bring your ear to your shoulder. You should be able to go to about 45 degrees. You should be the same in both directions. Next, stand with your shoulder toward the mirror. You should be able to turn your head almost to your shoulder to look in the mirror. Once again, both sides should be equal.

Frequent causes of neck misalignment are: difficult birth process, falls, sports injuries, and auto accidents. Often times the symptoms don't occur for years after the injury. If you have a history of an auto accident or some other jar to the head or neck, your problems could be stemming from your neck.

Chiropractic care to correct these misalignments is usually frequent in the beginning with diminishing need for care as your alignment becomes stable. Unlike the use of medications, most people will find their need for chiropractic care goes down over time and their symptoms will reduce in frequency and intensity.

Back pain and headaches are a major cause of lost productivity. Correction of neck misalignment helps many people lead more productive lives.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Affolter is a chiropractic expert. He has worked with an upper cervical emphasis for over 25 years.