I’m always reading about low back pain, new advice, new thinking, etc, to keep an open mind on how to try to deal with this huge issue.
Backpain is still a leading cause of disability world wide so how can we start to move away from what sometimes feels like a never ending circle of pain, then okay, then pain, then okay.
We’ve all suffered from back pain at some point in our life times and firstly this is normal because sometimes we push too hard, we get tired, we are not sleeping well, we just do something ackwardly. You cannot expect your body never to have any aches and pains.
When you’ve had an episode of back pain. What do you do?
Do you rest more?
Do you take pain killers?
Do you see a physio, chiropractor, osteopath?
Do you automatically think that the back is the problem?
Any yes answers to those questions?
Yes, well you are not alone. The majority of the population tend to go for pain killers first, then seek manual therapy and want answers to why their back hurts but also what they should do to treat it and here lies the problem because there isn’t always an answer but there should be advice available on how to take action yourself.
I’m a member of the Back Care Organisation and have taken my level 4 back care qualification, which doesn’t mean I know everything about backs, and doesn’t mean that I agree with all the methods I have been taught. What it does mean is that I treat every person’s situation as unique who might be experiencing back pain. Now obviously in a group setting this is tricky but a lot of the moves we do in our pilates classes are geared to helping release tension in your body.
Why do I do this? Well because holding too much tension and possibly in the wrong areas of your body does not help you get away from pain.
Do you ever think of pain as a messenger telling the body you need to take action to help it repair its self rather than a bringer of doom and gloom?
The pain site doesn’t necessarily mean that that is where the problem lies so be careful if you get advice that targets the pain site. For me, it has to be a whole body approach for your recovery.
You know what it feels like to push on a bruise – uncomfortable, painful so to get therapy that is going to place pressure on a tender site, for me personally, I’m not sure is the right move.
Pain is a survival mechanism because your body perceives a threat so it will tense up for a start. We need to find ways of releasing that tension but ways that you can do yourself.
Perception is a big player in how we deal with our body and pain and the messages it sends us.
What does pain mean to you?
I’ve had a few injuries, and yes experienced pain but very differing degrees of pain.
What did I do? In most of the situations I kept moving, even through what some might call a painful stage so here as I said above we have to start determining pain don’t we.
Actual danger signs when it comes to back pain:-
· Difficulty going to the toilet
· Any loss of bladder or bowel control
· Loss of sensation in the pelvic area
· Loss of power in the legs
· Any fever, sickness whilst experiencing back pain
· Numbness in pelvic area, buttocks
· And obviously any excrutiating pain that prevents you moving at all
Any of these issues need to be dealt with immediately and most of these would required immediate health practitioner assistance.
Given you food for thought? Let’s leave it here for today and I will talk next week more about pain but in the meantime, here is some advice from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy:-
10 things you need to know about your back:-
1. It is normal to experience back pain at some time
2. You rarely need a scan – wear and tear is normal
3. Don’t rest but do avoid the activities that aggravate your back
4. Don’t fear picking things up
5. Exercise is vital for nourishing the joints but build up gradually
6. Painkillers are not the way forward
7. Surgery is rare
8. You’ve got to get sleep and good quality is vital
9. You can have pain without damage
a. through being over protective and avoiding movement
b. through fear of damage, stress
c. through being tired as mentioned, run down, overweight, not enough activity,
d. social stresses – problems work, friends, family, etc
e. pain is real but it can be dealt with
10. Don’t worry if it doesn’t clear straight away, but do seek help in your recovery
We’ll talk pain and perception next week but if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.
Have a great week.
Sources: InTouch (The Journal of Physiotherapists in Private Practice)