Moving away from back pain – Part 2
So I’ve been talking about back pain, when it is important to seek help and the present information being published that physios feel you should be aware of when it comes to your back.
In the articles I have been reading, there has been debate about the effectiveness of just having manual therapy and sticking to possibly old fashioned methods of treatment, depending on therapist, that are generic rather than shaped to what you need.
From the articles came a resounding strength of feeling that any patient care should be holistic, person centred care, where each person is an individual and generic exercises/therapy should not be applied.
It is suggested that the clinician should see beyond data (and bear in mind that a lot of the data/protocols, methods used today are based on information in some instances that is at least ten years old). By seeing beyond data, they are then in a better position to empathise, listen, empower, develop a relationship with the patient and communicate the right kind of information that the patient needs to hear.
I regularly hear client frustrations at the lack of information they are being provided with and we know that the NHS is struggling to cope generally, and appointments for back issues will go way down on the action listen.
How is it useful to have a consultation over a month after you began experiencing pain?
Why isn’t there a better process to help you start taking action immediately instead of having to wait for appointments that take months?
For me personally, I won’t wait to take action and I strongly encourage you to do the same but in order to move away from pain, you have to go through everything that is going on with your life.
This doesn’t mean I am saying your pain is not real, it means that stress can manifest in all sorts of ways that will ultimately affect how your body operates and where you might have had an injury initially, you are now holding pain for longer than really you should.
In some investigations, pain has been found to be a weak connection to the actual injury and more of a connection to your whole body.
When we misunderstand pain, it is easy to make the wrong decisions. Pain is subjective and as I said above poorly related to tissue state/damage.
When starting to put together a lifestyle questionnaire to assist dealing with pain, it really means delving deep into your beliefs about pain.
Were you taught that any discomfort in your back = pain?
It could be that you have just used back muscles and there is an ache but having that belief that your back should never experience discomfort could mean you react in panic, or you start to move less efficiently because now you are worried about your back.
The back is a very strong part of our body. The spine is built to help hold us up and the lower back itself is very thick and geared to not allowing too much motion in our centre where we need to be most stable. The back can take a lot of work.
Some people thinking bending over if your back aches is bad for your back. It’s a natural movement so we have to carry on with it, however now there is fear, we begin to bend more stiffly and create more tension in our body. Flexing your spine nourishes your discs, however flexing and loading your spine is where we have to start being more careful about what we are doing.
Getting away from pain is learning how to reinterpret information. Learning what movement aggravates your back at this time, and adopting a different way to do the same task. You have to tune into what movement makes your back feel good, rather than dwell on the movement that aggravates you.
You also have to see back pain as something that can come and go but that shouldn’t stop you getting on with your life.
Focus on what elements of your lifestyle you can control – attitude, decision making, actions, and start moving forward by focusing on what you can and are getting done. Seek assistance on gentle movement initially to help keep your joints nourished. Lack of movement for any musculoskeletal issue will not help you move away from pain.
And hugely important is if you have started to move away from pain and the exercises are helping you – why stop doing them? This is an ongoing maintenance programme now. We are not getting younger and our body likes to move so don’t stop doing the things that have made your body feel better.
Pain is definitely a real thing, but we are all able to take action ourselves. Don’t wait, don’t think pain killers will do the trick, give yourself a body MOT at home. Just lay on the floor and assess where are you holding tension, how can you release that tension. Do some gentle mobility work and it may be that you will experience some discomfort moving but unless agony, generally movement helps.
We give our cars an MOT and service virtually every year so that the car runs well and doesn’t break down so why oh why don’t we do this for ourselves?
We expect a lot more mileage off this body so give it some attention and care and even if you are not experiencing pain, keep moving, keep active and be preventative.
Have a great week and see you soon.