Low Back Pain
September 13, 2018 at 7:01 PM
Low back pain is thought to affect up to 80% of the population throughout the course of their life. Many people do not have any preceding events to cause this back pain, although specific injuries can initiate their symptoms. Low back pain constitutes almost half of all chronic pain. This has a huge effect on quality of life and people with low back pain tend to have more time off work and higher medical costs than those who do not have symptoms.
Your back is made up of a number of different structures that work together to achieve the required movements needed to perform daily activities. With such a complex combination of tissues and joints, aches and pains can be caused by any number of structures. Keeping the muscles and joints of the spine strong and healthy can have a remarkable impact on pain levels regardless of the specific structure causing symptoms.
Most often, low back pain is caused by non-specific factors such as sedentary lifestyles, increased body weight, poor posture, stress and ineffective sleep. Back pain can strike suddenly or build up slowly over a period of time. Many people report sudden and severe onset of back pain from a seemingly innocent movement. Others find that their back aches towards the end of the workday and follows a regular pattern.
Do I Need an X-Ray or MRI?
There are some cases where your medical professional will suggest that you have imaging such as an x-ray or MRI. While imaging can be helpful in ruling out serious injuries, the results of your scan need to be linked to your low back pain symptoms, as it is possible that people with no symptoms of low back pain can have can have changes in the appearance of their spines such as disc bulges/protrusions, which are all a normal part of the ageing process.
What Can I do About my Low Back Pain?
One of the best things that you can do for your low back pain is to keep active as the structures in your back like to move. Gentle exercise such as pilates, swimming, walking, cycling and yoga are all beneficial. Your pain can often feel worse during certain activities or positions due to the increased load placed upon them. This is when most people feel fear that they will re-injure themselves, however, if you gradually increase your activity with exercise you will find normal activity will be less painful and your general strength and mobility will increase.
You may have been told by others that you should avoid certain activities such as bending and lifting as they put too much load on your back and make your back pain worse. Words to this effect cause fear and can make you become more focused on your back pain thus increasing your pain levels. Bending, lifting and twisting are safe to return to once you have recovered from your initial pain. The key is to build up your tolerance to bending and lifting and adjust your weights or loads as you practice these movements.
Other ways to help reduce your low back pain is to spend time with people that make you happy, return to work as soon as possible and try to get a good quality 7-8 hours of sleep a night (so put that device down a good half hour prior to bed!). At Cairnhill Physiotherapy we recognise that pain is a personal experience and can be complex, so our experienced physiotherapists will be able to assess you and help understand where your pain is coming from and then recommend appropriate exercises to help guide you on your recovery.
Harley Matthews and Anlo van Deventer are both Physiotherapists at Cairnhill Physiotherapy and are able to help guide you on your recovery from low back pain. To book an appointment with them click here or call us on 09 631 5991.