It’s back pain awareness week this week and to improve understanding of back pain we’ve put a bit of information together.
Let’s start off by saying it is completely normal to experience back pain from time to time, by this I mean an ache or pain that lasts a day or two, usually following an unusual activity or perhaps increased levels of an activity e.g. sitting at your computer while you write your dissertation or after a sports tournament or a spell in the garden.
What isn’t normal is if this lasts longer than a day or two or causes increasing level of discomfort and additional symptoms – you DO NOT have to live with it.
What causes back pain?
There are a whole host of causes for back pain, it can originate from the joints within the spine, the muscles and soft tissue overlying it, the nerves or spinal cord, the discs or even be caused by a nearby region e.g. the hip.
How do I know what IS causing my pain?
Well, often you won’t know but that’s where physiotherapy comes in. We have extensive training in assessing and treating musculoskeletal conditions. We also work closely with your GP and if necessary, consultant should we have any concerns. We'll aim to have a thorough assessment followed by appropriate treatment to get your pain under control and get you back to normality.
A course of physio will incorporate a series of exercises designed at improving your bodies load tolerance. The reason for this is that over the centuries we have become increasingly sedentary and our bodies actually need resistance and loading to maintain a healthy happy balance, we may even suggest a sport or activity they would benefit you in the long term. What we also now know is that activities such as weightlifting or bending with weight are not bad for our back. Multiple studies have researched this and actually shown advantageous effects in people who appropriately train these movements the problem occurs when one isn't physically capable of the task– after all the only bad exercise is the one you aren’t prepared for!
It's all about load tolerance!
My GP hasn’t recommended physio?
Your GP doesn’t have to have referred you to have physiotherapy with us. They may also have encouraged you to use analgesia in the initially stages as the majority of back pain does settle with this. Other things that can help are heat and gentle regular movement e.g. walking. Remember if your pain isn’t settling either return back to your GP or seek a physiotherapist.
How do I manage my back pain?
Here is some general advice:
- Keep moving – it’s rare we would advise you to stop all activity. If you feel unable to keep moving then seek advice sooner rather than later.
- Maintain a healthy relationship with activity/sports!
- Seek advice if you have suffered for longer than you think – you’ll be surprised what we can do!!
- Achieve 8 hours of sleep (Even if you think you can cope on 5 hours – your body will thank you)
- Nutrition – everything in moderation
- Remember there isn’t a one size fits all approach – we are all different, what works for someone you know may not work for you so don’t panic. Get appropriate advice.
As always any questions or concerns then do get in contact.