Almost everyone gets lower back pain
One of the most common reason for people visiting our clinic is to get help with their back pain, and I would like to share with you a few thoughts and pain relief tips.
Back pain is the single leading cause of disability in the world, and one of the most common reasons people visit their doctor in the UK. Over 4 out of 5 of us here in the UK will experience back pain during our lives. Most cases of non-specific low back pain will resolve on their own in 3 months, however many people experience these symptoms repeatedly. Since almost everyone will experience back pain at some point in their live it should be considered normal and doesn’t always mean something is drastically wrong or that you’ve injured something.
“Hurt does not always equal harm.”
When you experience pain over a longer period, your body can adapt to pain and start to send pain signals early. We call this becoming sensitized to the pain. In general, the best thing to do can be to keep moving to help prevent that sensitivity building up. If you experience repetitive sharp shooting pain, you should temporarily back off that activity.
Pain is like the parking sensor in your car, it can come on to warn of danger before you hit the wall. So, pain is your brains way of letting you know the perceived threat from an activity.
Exercise for Pain Relief
There are some simple yet highly effective exercises you can do if you have low back pain. These have been clinically shown to reduce pain. It’s important to continue your daily routine, including your work and exercise although these may need to be adapted. Some pilaties, physio or rehab exercises can all help you move your back safely and engage your core.
If you do not already have an exercise program, we usually recommend starting with a brisk walk. Not a full power walk but walk briskly so your using your arms a little for 20 minutes twice a day. This will not only reduce your back pain but also burn calories, help keep your heart and lungs healthy and boost your circulation and immune system. Exercising like this will releases your body’s own pain killing medications to naturally help reduce the pain and make you feel better.
Should you go to your GP?
When you go to your GP most GP’s will just prescribe pain medications. They may order a scan in the vast minority of cases. Scans should only be used if they are going to change your treatment options like if a surgical intervention is being considered. A trip to A&E is recommended if you have numbness in the saddle region or a loss of bladder control.
Scan results can be frightening, the worrying results are fractures, compression on nerves and tumors. The general findings “disc degeneration, herniations” are normal and about 65% of the population that are pain free have disc findings. Just because you have disc changes doesn’t mean you will not heal.
Get physiotherapy and rehabilitation first!
For many people the first best option is physio and rehab, and that is where you should start. Waiting weeks to get medications isn’t always a great option as pain medications may help to mask your symptoms. These medications can be addictive and can have nasty side effects as they can be harsh on the stomach lining and cause gastric ulcers or bleeding.
Surgery is no more effective than physiotherapy for most causes of back pain. Surgery might seem like a quick fix but it’s often a long painful recovery and comes with risks, such as sensation loss, infection and even death. Therefore, surgery should only be done when necessary.
Physiotherapy is a proven, safe, and less expensive alternative to injections, medications and surgery to help you stay mobile and active if you experience back pain. If you have back pain and want advice or would like us to help you, call me on 07517421800