Low Back Pain

It is a fact that 2 out of 3 of us will experience low back pain in our lifetime. The important thing to remember is that the majority of back pain is self-limiting and does resolve. Most back pain is not dangerous and only in 1% of cases is something serious going on. Many people have central or one-sided low back pain, and in some cases it may refer into and down the leg as far as the foot. For 90% of us back pain is a common experience. 

Keeping fit and healthy  is key to looking after your back generally. Research is showing  that  posture, sitting and lifting technique are not as important as the reason for back pain starting as we previously thought and most back problems have a wider range of causes. 

General Back Facts:                                                                                                                                                                 

  • Discs do not slip in and out and backs do not go out of place.
  • Backs love movement
  • Backs like to be strong 
  • Backs like good sleep
  • Backs don't like to be too stressed
  • Backs are designed for bending and lifting

What to do if you experience back pain:

  • If you have a very acute onset of back pain, rest can be useful for the first 48 hours and then it is better to start moving. An increase in pain is rarely a sign of damage. You're sore but you're safe!
  • Medication is helpful in this stage and should be taken  as prescribed.  Simple analgesia and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories have shown to have no less of an effect than stronger options.
  • You may find heat packs or ice packs helpful. Use whichever works best for you - both one after the other can also be helpful - just be careful not to burn yourself . 
  • Once you are over the very acute stage, it is advisable to be either up and about walking or lying down. When lying on your back try putting 3 pillows under your knees. Try to avoid sitting for all but essential needs initially.
  • Walking helps to loosen up the back. Try to keep active and stick to your normal routine as much as possible.
  • Movement is medicine  - motion is lotion! Start with gentle exercise and stop any activities that aggravate you just for a short while.
  • Stay Positive. When you're low you hurt more easily. Tension makes things more sensitive.
  • If you get repeated episodes of back pain it is often helpful to seek professional advice from a medical practitioner, like a physiotherapist, to advise you on a specific exercise routine that is suitable for your back.