Physio

Managing Lower Back Pain

Shadow image bent over hand on lower back

Lower Back Pain

Thousands of people worldwide suffer with chronic lower back pain (LPB).

LBP is reported to be the number one cause of absenteeism from work and many people medicate daily for back pain.  A significant number of people will suffer an episode of LBP in their lives, but this is often resolved quickly and they carry on with life as normal.  However, for those for whom pain is chronic and often unexplained (even after many visits to experts and multiple x-rays and scans), the issue is how to manage the condition in a way that allows them to carry on with day-to-day life in as normal a way as possible and to avoid a lifetime of medication.

The Pain Experience

It is now known that pain is a very individual experience, and that what causes a significant pain experience for one person may not have the same effect on another person.  Also, the amount of pain an individual experiences with a chronic condition does not necessarily reflect the amount of damage (if any) to soft tissue (e.g. muscles and ligaments) or joints.

The central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) works to interpret pain.  The nerves send signals to the brain telling it that there’s a problem somewhere in the body.  The brain has to work out how serious the problem is and what the level of pain should be.  However, the brain’s interpretation of these signals can sometimes be muddled and it may continue to send out pain messages even when damage has healed.  Our brain can remember pain and cause us to feel pain on a particular movement, even after that movement should no longer be painful.  In addition to this, nerves can become over sensitive and send out the wrong messages to the brain.  All of this results in some individuals suffering unexplained and often severe pain.

Patient Activity.

Physical therapy treatments such as myofascial release, trigger point therapy and dry needling can all help to ease the symptoms of pain.  However, this needs to be combined with some activity on the part of the patient.

Activity and exercise can help to reduce chronic back pain just as inactivity can add to pain.  Through inactivity, muscles weaken and become less efficient over time, joints stiffen and fitness levels drop.  This causes a catch-22 type situation, an individual is less likely to take part in activities if they are experiencing pain. But, by not being active, the pain can be made worse.

So, how can someone with chronic pain start to manage their pain and take back control of their life?

By trying to add a little bit of activity into their daily lives, a person can start to improve their overall well-being.  The important thing to remember is to start slowly and easily, you may only be able to do a few minutes of activity to begin with, this can be built on as time goes by.

For information and advice on managing your back pain and exercise planning, please get in contact to make an appointment.

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