Hi Guys and Gals 😊
Welcome back to Lifevolution! It is great to have you here.
Today we are going to talk about lower back pain and address a few of the myths that are causing you sleepless nights. In my next post, I will recommend pain management options and a few exercises that I prescribe to my patients helping them to manage pain, recover and get back to what they love doing.
I want to let you know that you are going to be ok!
Lower back pain is very common and is one of the things most of my patients come in to see me for.
Several things can cause lower back pain from physical and environmental factors to stress. For example, if you have a cold, are a builder with poor lifting technique and having poor sleep then it is possible that you may develop lower back pain but it does not mean that it is going to stay with you forever!
Lower back pain is normal and resolves over a few days or weeks. Most lower back pain is caused by strains and sprains of muscles and joints. A very small percentage of back pain is caused by a serious pathology so please don’t worry.
The body’s pain mechanism is in place to protect us from harm but often, the level of pain we experience is not always proportionate to what is happening in our bodies.
The Car Alarm Analogy – I like to use the car alarm analogy. A cat may brush itself against your car door setting the burglar alarm off. This may lead you to believe that your car is being stolen. You ran outside to find no one there. The body does the same thing quite often.
This can stop us doing things like exercise which are very important for keeping us healthy and mobile. This leads on to the next myth.
2. Rest is best! Exercise will make things worse!
Guys and Gals, rest is not best! Staying inactive can cause pain to last longer. Exercise and movement encourage increased blood flow, the release of endorphins and endogenous opioids which relieve pain. Inactivity can lead to muscle weakness and tightness leaving you susceptible to long term musculoskeletal conditions. A gentle walk or yoga work just fine. It does not have to be strenuous exercise.
3. Having lower back pain means there is a problem with my disc (e.g. slipped disc)
Your vertebrae are strong structures that support the weight of your body. In between each vertebrae are your discs which act as shock absorbers.
Yes, there are disc related and degenerative conditions which can be quite uncomfortable. Arthritis is a degenerative condition however it is a normal process of aging. This may cause you to lose flexibility and cause less cushioning between the vertebrae leading to pain however pain and stiffness can be managed with exercise, allowing you to live a good quality of life. Age is just a number!!
4. Lifting will damage my spine
Lifting is absolutely fine but your technique has to be right to prevent injury. Exercises like deadlifts can be helpful in strengthening the muscles in your back but must be done correctly.
5. An MRI or x-ray will diagnose my problem
Evidence has shown that individuals can have an MRI scan which shows changes in their spine however have no symptoms at all. It works the other way too. One can have significant pain and have no changes seen on an MRI scan. Scans can often correlate poorly with symptoms.
If you are experiencing back pain, please visit a physiotherapist for an assessment and treatment. Physiotherapy is very successful in managing lower back pain.
Remember that your back is strong!
Most lower back pain is mechanical in nature and is caused my sprains and strains!
You will get better!
Remember to live purposefully and be the best version of yourself!