How To Make Back Pain Better
Back pain is a common musculoskeletal problem which causes loss of function, confidence and severe pain.
80% of the population will experience non specific lower back pain which is pain that is usually felt in the lumbar spine but doesn’t affect the legs.
Things To Consider
Educate yourself or your loved one on pain and the brain.
Many people don’t take the time to learn the science about how and why we feel pain but its very important. Check out this page for education videos and this is important in understand that pain is an output of the brain and often doesn’t correlate with tissue damage. If you are concerned that your back pain maybe associate with severe tissue damage then this can make pain much work. Book in for your free discovery call because reassurance regarding your symptoms could get you on your way to recovery sooner.
In the modern world we are often so busy we forget the importance of sleep. Good sleep patterns are important for regulating our chemicals, improving our immune system and improving our decision making. You should aim to get 7-8 hours per night and understand that anything less that 6 hours is considered sleep deprivation and is likely to have serious health and mental health consequences. If you are experiencing back pain staying in bed for longer than 8 hours can increase your risk so stick to 7-8 hours in bed and don’t lie in!
Gone are the days that we go to bed and ‘rest.’ Having experienced severe back pain myself I know that when you’re in severe pain the last thing you want to do is move but its important you do. Even if its just small ‘wiggles’ or ‘sways’ of the pelvis to try and help the muscles to relax. One of the things that often holds us back is if we are scared to move because we are unsure if we will do harm or fear the pain. The best recommendation I can make is educate yourself and speak to a professional so they can guide you on the best course of action to recover.
In extreme pain diazepam is sometimes prescribed as muscle relaxant but as a physio I believe pain relief should be used in conjunction with physio. Too many people take very strong medication for too long when actually if they had support from day one they could have had confidence to move earlier and relieved pain through movement. Remember, sometimes we need these drugs to help us move but the key is to MOVE, the drugs are assisting you to do that. When taking low level meds like paracetamol and ibuprofen make sure you take them regularly. A course of one week can be very effective in helping you get over flare ups.
Heat and ice advice varies.
Heat can relieve muscle spasm in the right cases.
Ice can ‘numb’ area, slowing conduction of the nerve and therefore stimulus in the brain.
I usually recommend heat because ice can sometimes make the muscles tighten up. Jump on a discovery call for specific advice for your situation,
If your mattress is over 10 years old you may wish to consider changing it. I have seen people spend over £30,000 on mattresses with nil benefit and then have 3 session of physio which resolved it! So be careful don’t spend silly money before you have seen whether theres a simple alternative instead. People are different and you may have to play about the different toppers to see what suits you. A lot of companies allow you to return the mattresses if you don’t get on with it.
Yes, pillows can make a difference. We usually recommend 2 medium size pillows if lying supine (on your back) or on your side. Sometimes popping a pillow between your knees can help relieve pressure too.
For different types of back pain different positions can aggravate symptoms.
Sit to stand: If you’re getting pain from sit to stand the try to adjust your pelvic position. Avoid tightening before you get up. imagine your body like a chimpanzees and try to keep it really relaxed. Often the pain is made worse by tensing!
Sitting: If you’re getting pain in a sitting position try to adjust how you’re sitting. If you suspect a disc protrusion people often find relief from ‘perching’ This is where you sit on the edge of a tall surface like a table or against a wall . Its not ideal but trust me when you’re in extreme pain you’ll look for anything to give relief!
Standing: Try to perform 10 gluts squeezes. Make sure you’re not standing in a lazy position at end of range lumbar extension (lordosis). There are numerous back conditions that dislike standing and we treat them slightly different. For more info book a discovery call.
Turning in bed: This is the one I used to dread. Waking up and that first turn. The reason that back is painful is because its been stiff and in one position for a long period. It WANTS to move. So before you turn try to do little movements first to prepare the bag. Keep knees together and ‘log’ roll but be careful not to tense!
Things We Can Do
Physio is an excellent treatment for back pain.
Reassurance and ruling out sinister pathology allows people to move forward with their recovery. Our professionals go through a detailed assessment to pick up any reasons that you may need onward referral. If you do we send you with a letter to your GP/ A and E to give clear evidence of what has been found in your assessment and our recommendations.
Many people have been referred on to rule out rheumatoid arthritis, hyper mobility syndrome, suspected heart referral pain, osteoporosis and arthritis. Most people however will benefit from physio and we will provide a variety of treatments based on their presentation.
This may include
- Advice on pain management
- Education on pathology and time frames
- Advise on return to work and safe return to sport
- Soft tissue mobilisations and clinical massage
- Joint mobilisations
- Specific stretches
- Specific strengthening exercises
If you or a love one is suffering from back pain book in for a free discovery call today. This is a 30 minute call with a physio where we can work out whether we are the right fit for you. Sometimes we need the help of professionals to help us achieve our goals quicker.
Nicole And The Physio Crew Team