So you have woken up with back pain and you have probably also searched online to see what the best solution is for it. Some of the advice may have recommended for you to be active and keep moving. Following this if you have gone for a walk you quickly realise that your back pain is still there or even getting worse.
So what should you do? Do you keep walking and have the mindset of “no pain no gain”? Or do you take rest to stop the pain getting further worse?
There are a number of things that can cause low back pain. Until you find the source of the problem it’s difficult to provide specific advice for your current symptoms.
However in most cases if your pain is being aggravated, even by advice you have read from seemingly reputable sources online (or anywhere else) you must stop that activity. That pain is your body’s way of telling you that this is a crisis situation and that it must be addressed and resolved properly.
You must avoid anything that is aggravating your lower back pain, even if it is walking or moving. So get into a position that makes the lower back pain more comfortable. This allows the body to start healing those tissues, rather than further injuring and aggravating that problem.
If you’re finding yourself to be describing your symptoms as “constant low back pain”, that it is always there, then let’s check and see what the cause of it really is.
A lot of the time when we have pain or discomfort we often get confused and our bodies, brains and nervous systems get scrambled, and end up misunderstanding the signals they are receiving. They often get into a much more worried state as this is the worst thing that is happening to the body at this moment, and it can often misinterpret it for being constant, even if it may not be.
So consider what activities or movements affect your constant low back pain, that aggravate it and relieves it. Start making a list of what makes it worse and what makes it feel better. This will be really helpful to present to your health professional when you seek to have your constant low back pain resolved.
If you are suffering with constant low back pain, which is truly constant, meaning it will not even allow you to sleep – this is quite rare, for a pain to be so constant that it does not even allow you to sleep. Often in these cases, people are only able to sleep by taking heavy medication, which of course has other health implications too.
The other problem with constant low back pain affecting sleep is because it affects the quality of sleep, it means that the healing phases of sleep are never achieved. The healing phases of sleep are when the body is able to regenerate itself and recover from any tissue damage.
If you are suffering with constant low back pain my first (ironic) advice is to stop looking online for tips & tricks. If it really is that severe you must seek out professional health immediately. There is no need to waste any time and risk your condition becoming permanent if not handled correctly.
Causes of constant low back pain may include a fracture, a break in the bone. If this is the case, then you definitely what to get it checked without delay, because if it is an unstable fracture you can cause some serious damage and injury to the tissues and blood vessels around that area.
If you have been compressing a spinal disc for a number of years due to extreme lifestyle choices of spending long working hours sitting which can cause the spinal discs to pop, burst or bulge. This can lead to the disc pressing on spinal nerves. Combined with that you may have muscle spasm which is trying to protect the area from further damage. However the muscle spasm itself can often be so severe that it causes pain itself.
Please avoid asking loved ones who are not professionally qualified for what they found helped if they have suffered with constant low back pain. It’s just as easy to seek professional help to get the best treatment for your condition.
There’s a few things you can do. Before we get into what we can do to help your low back pain, we need to think about what your low back pain is.
See if we think about the definition of “low back pain” it’s a pain, a symptom and it is subjective – meaning that everyone experiences low back pain in different ways, and the meaning each person gives their pain is different too.
That makes it much more complex than simply saying “ah, this is the one thing to fix your low back pain.”
First of all we need to find out exactly what the cause of the low back pain is. In order to do that you need to go to an expert because unless you know what to look for, what to examine for, what to test for, it’s very difficult to determine what the cause of the pain is. There’s many different structures within the body that can cause the low back pain.
Low back pain may be caused by your organs, it could be some bones or joints, some ligaments that have been strained, torn muscles, bulging discs, pinched nerves and a whole host of other things in that area.
So the first step to determine which of these things are causing your low back pain you must first get a consultation. A diagnosis based on just an extremely thorough consultation alone is likely to be very accurate. When you then add tests and an examination to a consultation the accuracy of the diagnosis improves significantly more.
Once you know what that diagnosis is, it’s easy. You simply flip it, reverse what has happened, and that makes your treatment plan to resolve the cause of the low back pain.
It’s not just about getting rid of the pain, but to restore normal and optimised function to help prevent conditions coming back in the future.
The way to think about how to achieve relief for lower back pain is to think about a building that is on fire.
See if a building is on fire, the way you know about it is the smoke alarm is going off. The smoke or fire alarm is just like the pain that you experience in your body letting you know there is a serious problem here.
Painkillers act like taking the batteries out of the smoke alarm. You would never take the batteries out of a fire alarm to stop it beeping if the building was on fire.
We know that what you really need to do is find the source of the fire, stop that making things worse, whilst still reducing the flames burning the rest of the building.
So with your health you want to make sure you avoid anything that aggravates your lower back pain, such as any activities, movements or postures.
What we need to consider is why has that problem occurred and why has it occurred NOW? This is an extremely important question I ask myself when working with a patient to help me determine the source of the problem.
What is the best solution to get rid of your lower back pain?
Well let’s think about this logically. See a lot of people nowadays are talking about back pain as if it were a disease or condition in itself. Often they claim to have a cure for lower back pain.
Back pain, or any pain for that matter, is not a condition, it’s a symptom of the condition. So by removing or reducing the symptom does not mean you have removed the cause.
The way to remove the cause is to create a healthy environment in which health can thrive. Optimal healing allows the body to heal itself.
There are a number of things in the body that could cause lower back pain. The most common is the musculoskeletal system (i.e. the muscles, joints, nerves, ligaments and tendons).
Organs can also cause pain in the area.
One of the first things that a professional chiropractor or osteopath will do is conduct a detailed case history. This helps find out the story of how the patient got to this point. It also gives some detailed information about the nature of the symptoms, which all add up to providing valuable clues into why these symptoms have started.
If suitable,then the patient may require some special clinical tests to determine what specific parts of the body are causing the symptoms (notice how we’re still only talking about symptoms, not the condition yet).
It’s also extremely important to consider WHY those tissues have been affected in that way. It may be that there are some lifestyle choices that patients have made, which has gradually led them to this point.
That is the only way you can naturally create optimal function in the body, allowing it to heal itself and achieving true health. This is my definition of health: “The body’s ability to heal”.
The better the body can heal, the better it can be in it’s optimal function.
Most people tend to have a scoliosis. So why is no one talking or doing anything about it except me?
A scoliosis is a sideways curvature in the spine. The degree of curvature depends on each individual and how much it is affecting their function. You can find this out by visiting a professional, such as a chiropractor or an osteopath.
Not a single one of the patients that have visited my clinic have ever had a perfectly straight spine – irrespective of their symptoms.
If you are going on a ski trip, you need to make sure that you do this exercise to prepare for the break but also for when you are out on the slopes.
When skiing you have to wear these chunky ski boots. The muscles that operate your foot and ankle do not get used very much during skiing due to the stability that is provided by the ski boots. This means that those muscles may waste and weaken, which increases the risk of injury to the area.
To help counter this muscle wasting, stand on one leg, and gradually increase the time you spend standing like this. Swap sides so both legs can get trained up. Ideally you want to start this a few weeks before your ski trip and continue whilst enjoying the vacation.
This will activate or reactivate those muscles to maintain their strength and function.
If you are pregnant, know someone who is pregnant, or trying to become pregnant this is for you.
I see a lot of patients who are either pregnant or have happened to become pregnant whilst under our care.
The adult human body changes the most, in the shortest period of time during a pregnancy than at any time. The spine of an expectant mother really goes through a huge transformation. A lot of weight is gained in just 9 months when creating an entire human being!
Aside from weight gain there are a lot of other changes that occur during pregnancy.
One of the biggest changes is the production of a hormone called Relaxin. It’s role is to soften the touch ligaments of the pelvis to prepare for childbirth.
See when we look at the spine and pelvis, it doesn’t take very long to realise that the space in the pelvis for a baby to pass through during natural delivery is far too small. Relaxin will help add laxity to the touch pelvic ligaments, to allow a little extra space from the baby to pass through the birthing canal. Also to help further, during the birthing process the baby’s skull bones will squeeze just enough to be able to pass through – it really is an amazing process!
However Relaxin being a hormone, it is transported in the blood, so this means it’s affects do not end up being specific to just the pelvic area, but affects ALL the soft tissues in the body. All the other ligaments in the rest of the body also then have increased laxity in them. See, ligaments are great at helping you to prevent injury. If they are not able to function correctly, you can be prone to more injury.
In my experience, the expectant mothers I have see at AVID Clinic have had their muscular system take over the role of some of those ligaments. Muscles require a lot more energy to contract, so doing this for a longer period of time than they are meant can increase to the aches, pains and discomfort.
It may also lead to more pinching on nerves, further adding to unnecessary discomfort and less than optimal function, all whilst growing a new human baby.
Without professional spinal care, e.g. by an Osteopath or Chiropractor, to ensure the body is functioning optimally, all these because a lot more difficult than it needs to be.
It also helps to prepare for life after having the baby. Sleep patterns for the parent(s) will be disrupted with feeding and napping patterns. Posture during breastfeeding, hauling the pram in and out of the car, twisting awkwardly to put the baby in the car seat all have further impact mechanical on the body.
Breastfeeding posture can be quite a slouched position, often for long periods of time. Relaxin hormone continues to be produced in the mother until they stop breastfeeding.
The beauty of Chiropractic and Osteopathy is that they are natural and safe. Chiropractors and Osteopaths don’t put anything new in the body or take anything out, meaning we find where parts of the body are not working optimally and get them to function at their peak, helping the baby, the mother and the family.