Back Pain Relief – What Can You Do About It?

ARE YOU FEELING PAIN WHILE BENDING FORWARD? IS SITTING PAINFUL? IS STANDING FOR LONG HOURS UNCOMFORTABLE? DO YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT TO DO YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES, TWISTING OR MOVING?

Did you know?

  • 80% to 90% of the adult population will experience lower back pain and it is a common condition seen in my clinic, so you are not alone.
  • 80% to 95% of people experiencing back pain have no pathological or anatomical cause for their pain. Believe it or not, this is a piece of great news!!! Even though your pain is real and not fun, we know that the majority of back pain is not caused by serious pathologies.
  • Most cases of lower back pain can be treated through conservative management which means seeing an Osteopath can help you find solutions to your problem.
  • Unfortunately, studies have shown that many people with lower back pain don’t get the right treatments.
  • Osteopaths are movement experts who treat lower back pain and improve quality of life through osteopathy techniques (manual therapies), education and prescribed clinical exercise.

If you don’t know what an Osteopath is, you should check our easy to read article here, where we explain why Osteopathy is so awesome and what it can do for you. Now, that we have got that out of the way, lets learn what to do when you are experiencing lower back pain.

Here are three things to do when you have back pain?

1- Get an assessment.

I can understand that suffering from back pain is not fun. I have been diagnosed with a disc bulge between L3-L4 after a motorbike accident in my 20’s. It was okay when I was young, but later down the track, my back pain came back and it was a nightmare. Sometimes, I couldn’t walk or get out of bed and I couldn’t go surfing like I used to. I lived with back pain for 3 years and it took me a while to understand what to do.

The problem with lower back pain is that there is so much information on the internet and usually, this serves to confuse and worry us more than anything else. Recent research has shown that most of the information we gather online does not reflect the best evidence-based practices. In other words, it is not reflecting the current state of back pain science. On top of this, everyone is different and everyone will experience different symptoms with their back pain.

2- DON’T GET AN XRAY OR MRI:

Going to the hospital to have an X-ray or MRI won’t necessarily help you to learn the cause of your back pain. However, it could help you if you had a significant fall, accident or unusual symptoms in your legs or your pelvis. The reason for this is because imaging is only recommended for people with severe or progressive neurological issues to rule out any serious problems such as cancers, infections or fractures.

Why? Because researchers found that there is little evidence of the relationship between your pain and imaging findings.

Yes, it is true. Many people who don’t have pain, have some spinal degeneration or disc bulge on their scans, which shows you how complex pain is.

3- MEDICATION – YES, BUT ONLY FOR A SHORT TIME:

Medication is not ‘bad’ as long as it is for a short time. As an Osteopath, I cannot give you specific recommendations about medication. But you need to know that pain killers are not a magic pill. They exist to support your rehabilitation program by decreasing your pain to allow you to keep moving and improve your recovery time. Many health recommendations suggest that medications should be used only for a short time, as there are no benefits past six weeks.

If you think that medications can fix your back pain, you will be mistaken because drugs have severe side effects for the long term.

And the list of side effects is long:

  • Increased pain level, depression and anxiety.
  • Increased blood pressure, heartburn and indigestion with other side effects such as stomach bleeding and kidney problems.

In fact, recent clinical guidelines suggest, if possible, not using them at all. So, if you feel that you have taken pain killers for a long time and you’re still experiencing pain, then you must review your medication with your local doctor or pharmacist and consider getting an assessment with an Osteopath for other solutions.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths around lower back pain which can confuse patients and let them feel worried and in pain.

So, what are the myths behind lower back pain?

  • Spinal manipulations (cracking your back) will put your back into place. It is a technique that I use in my clinic but many studies show that its benefits do not last in the long term. AND it is not the best method to treat back pain.
  • Getting a brace to support your back will help you to continue your daily activities. Firstly and lastly, there is no evidence that braces can help you with back pain.
  • Lower back pain is always caused by inflammation, degeneration of the spine or disc herniation. False. Many studies have shown that people with degeneration of the spine or disc herniation do not necessarily experience pain.
  • Rest is the best treatment for back pain. False. Our body loves movement and it is important to get yourself mobile as soon as possible. Osteopaths can help you understand how to safely, and with reduced pain, get you moving.
  • My back is out of place. False. This is a common sentence I hear a lot in practice. The truth is that your spine is attached with tendons, muscles, ligaments and other tissues surrounding it, and is incredibly strong, flexible and supportive. Scientific studies show that disc, bones and joints do not go out of place just by bending forward or twisting.
  • Surgery will fix the issue. Again only a small proportion of patients with back pain require surgery. It used to be a common treatment but after careful consideration and research, medical professionals realised that it wasn’t the best option for patients suffering from back pain. er getting an assessment with an Osteopath for other solutions.

 

What can an Osteopaths do to help with your back issue?

Osteopathy has a holistic approach to healthcare, which means that we look at all the elements affecting your back. We are not just looking at your back but are assessing your entire body to see how all the elements impacting your pain are connected to each other. On top of this, we do a thorough assessment of your lifestyle. Yes, osteopathic treatments are not only done on a massage table. We need to assess your sleep, diet, stress level, workplace or physical activities. All these elements work together and can be the source of your issue.

So what can you expect from us:

  1. LISTEN: Everyone is different so we need to understand how your back pain is affecting you by taking time to listen to your unique story.

  2. LEARN: We learn how back pain is affecting your daily activities and life.

  3. ASSESS: We assess your back issue using osteopathic, orthopaedic and neurological testing to build a thorough understanding of your condition.

  4. MOVE: We use a holistic approach to healthcare to get you moving as soon as we can.

  5. REHABILITATE: We create an exercise/movement program that fits your needs and your situation to make sure you have a sustainable solution for your condition.

  6. PLAN: We want to support you and we want you to get better, so we are working together to create a management plan that helps you in the long term.

Osteopaths do more than what you think, so give Osteo’s a go – BOOK ONLINE.

 

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