Top Tips To Help You Manage Your Back Pain - Alba Physiotherapy
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Top Tips To Help You Manage Your Back Pain

Back Pain

Hands up if you have had back pain.

Here at Alba Physiotherapy our most common condition seen is back pain.

Back Pain is experienced by over 80% of us during our lifetime.

As time passes we are getting a greater understanding of the dos and donts of back pain and some of the evidence may be surprising.

This article is inspired from some research by UK and Ireland's back pain experts.

Top Things to know about back pain:

One of the biggest healthcare costs is for the ongoing treatment of back pain. In fact audits show that back pain treatment costs twice as much as cancer and diabetes combined.

Back pain is not due to there being something out of line in your spine or your pelvis being out of place. This is a common report from clients Alba Physiotherapy that they have been told the above. In very rare cases there may be a change in spinal alignment but this is very infrequent. Quite often people attend clinicians for adjustments or manipulations and this can lead to symptoms relief. The relief is often due to a reduction is muscle spasm rather than structures being out of place and realigned.

Back Pain is very common and often causes a lot of worry for people. As mentioned previously back pain can occur in over 80% of the population. Circa 85% of people will feel an improvement in back pain after an acute episode in the first two weeks and circa 85% are fully recovered by 3 months after they seek help. To avoid risk of longer term back pain early management is key. Here are some basic tips to help that you might not have known.

  • DO NOT Rest up in bed. This was the old style management we now have a clear understanding that this is not the best management. Keeping as mobile as is possible and carrying out even the most simple of household chores is a big benefit in preventing compensatory mechanisms and staving off bad habits. Research shows that staying in bed can in fact have a negative effect and increase pain and prolong the recovery time.
  • Did you know that not getting enough sleep can influence back pain? This can be linked to not getting enough sleep before we have an episode of back pain that can lead to us being stressed and tense increasing our risk factors for back pain. Also when we have an episode of back pain this can slow down the recovery process of we are not getting enough sleep which is another unknown implication for recovery
  • GET MOVING. Exercise is ok. Quite often we see fear avoidance from those who are suffering from back pain. Exercise is now known to be one of the best ways of managing back pain. Keeping the muscles conditioned and the general feeling of positivity associated with exercise is known to assist with positive outcomes. One thing we would say here though is to get the RIGHT exercises and advice. We see patients that are so keen to not let back pain take over their life that although they have the right attitude, direction with regards to what they should be doing makes all the difference.
  • MRI scans are rarely needed. Reassureogram is the term we use in the profession and the key consideration for me before sending someone for a scan is will it change the management. 5% of scans show a truly significant result. A good physiotherapist like those at Alba Physiotherapy should be able to advise you of the most likely cause of your pain and guide you on the need for a scan or not.
  • There will be abnormal findings on your MRI scan result!!! Results explained in a poor manner can increase fear avoidance and leave folk often thinking there is something more seriously wrong with their back than is actually the case. It is normal to find the following. – Bulging Discs 52% – Degenerative Discs 90% – Herniated Discs 28% – Arthritic Changes 38%. Abnormal Findings do not necessarily mean pain
  • More Pain doesn’t always mean more damage. As odd as it sounds there are quite a number of factors that influence back pain. Stress, perception of pain, fear, fitness levels. Quite often what can happen is the nervous system can become system to pain and lead us to experience more pain than someone who perhaps has never had the symptoms before. Again perception of pain is the key here. Pain levels can increase but that doesn’t necessarily correlate with more harm being done.
  • Rarely is surgery needed to manage your back pain. This is a common fear amongst those attending our clinic at Alba Physio with back pain but we make sure to explain that its uncommon for back pain to lead to surgery. Reviews have shown that the outcomes with non surgical management is similar to the surgical management in the medium to long term.
  • We may never find the perfect sitting posture. To sit up straight or not to sit up straight. There is mixed news out there about this one. The general understanding is that various postures suit varied sitting positions. They now believe that the key component is the ability to transition from one posture to another and not spend hours sat in a flexed posture at a desk
  • Its ok to move, lift and bend. We all know someone who says I cant do any lifting because my back will go. These are the fear mechanisms that can delay people recovery from back pain. Quite often it may have been lifting that was the initial incident when the symptoms presented but this does not mean that you should avoid these in the long term. Returning to normal movement is a key part of the recovery.
  • The good news- Long Term Back Pain can get better. People often just accept that they will have back pain in the long term if they have had a couple of flare ups and the pain persists. A good physiotherapist will look at all of the potential influencing factors to your pain BUT also look to the cause to really get to the root of the problem. Being given a couple of stretches of having a massage is not always the answer and looking at lifestyle, fitness levels, stress etc etc can help the management.

If you would like to find out more or even speak to a physiotherapist CLICK HERE We also offer FREE DISCOVERY VISITS where you can come to discuss whats wrong and see if physiotherapy is the right direction for you without any obligation. We often see people who have been assessed by lots of people and have had conflicting advice as well as NO improvement. Find out what you could be doing today by calling the clinic on 01463 240 597

Brid Walsh

Brid Walsh

Brid qualified in 2004 with a BSC Honours Degree in Sports and Exercise Science from the University of Limerick, Ireland. In evaluating her future path, she spent a summer in Alaska with the Hope Foundation supporting disabilities of various sorts. Her further work experience in the Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin convinced her that Physiotherapy was the direction she wished to specialise in. In 2007 she subsequently qualified from the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen with an MSC in Physiotherapy.
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