Back pain is so common that most adults will experience it at some point in their lives, but this reassurance doesn’t help when you actually need back pain relief. Lower or lumbar back pain can heal on its own, and most back pain can be prevented through strengthening the back and practising good ergonomics. But what do you do when something goes wrong, and just how do you diagnose a problem in something as complex as the back? At Super Health Chatswood Medical Centre we are committed to helping our patients get relief from back pain, and assisting them in preventing future injuries.
Just How Common Is Back Pain?
Pain in the back is so common that it is the leading cause of days taken off work in Australia. It can be debilitating and interfere with your quality of life. It can come on suddenly, as the result of an injury, or be a persistent or recurring problem.
The pain is called sub-acute or short term when it lasts between four and 12 weeks. Pain in the back that lasts for 12 weeks or longer is termed chronic back pain. It is possible for acute pain to develop into chronic pain if the root cause is not detected and treated.
What Are Some Of The Causes Of Back Pain?
Back pain can be caused by a number of factors, including
- Strains of the muscles and ligaments of your back
- Structural and physical problems
Risk factors or susceptibility to pain in the back can include
- Overweight or being obese
- Not exercising
- Sitting for extended periods of time
- Bad posture and ergonomics
- Your choice of footwear
The type of work you do and the manner in which you perform it.
What Are Some Of The Signs And Symptoms Of Back Pain?
Because the back is so complex, pain can take different shapes and forms. The type of back pain relief that works best for you will depend on the type and cause of your pain.
It can include:
- Stiffness (especially in the lower back)
- Dull or aching pain
- Muscular spasms
- Hip pain
- Problems straightening your back or walking fully upright
- Sharp shooting pains
- Weaknesses in your legs or feet
Diagnosing The Cause To Get Lasting Back Pain Relief
Your first consultation with a physiotherapist or GP is generally diagnostic in nature. You will explain your symptoms and have a physical assessment where your physio or GP will assess your ability to walk, move, sit and stand. You will give a full medical history and also chat about your daily ergonomics at work and at home.
According to the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA), x-rays are only required if a serious condition is suspected. During your consultation with your doctor, you can expect to answer questions like
- How and when did the pain start? What were you doing at the time?
- Have you ever experienced this kind of pain before?
- Is there anything that makes it better or worse?
The answers to these questions can help your healthcare professional eliminate the likelihood that the problem is caused by something more serious.
How To Get Back Pain Relief?
You can relieve back pain by working closely with a physiotherapist to treat acute and chronic pain in the back.
Relieve Back Pain That Is Acute
Using techniques such as heat and cold therapy with hot or cold compresses and a combination of physical activity and exercise.
Using pain medication and antispasmodics, however, caution should be exercised in terms of how long you use these medications for.
Debilitating or prolonged pain should be discussed with your healthcare professional because, as mentioned above, acute pain can become chronic pain if it is not monitored carefully.
Chronic Back Pain Relief
Chronic pain may require a combination of therapies in order to relieve back pain. Some of the the treatment options may include
- Pain medication
- Nerve stimulation
- Pain interventions
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
When To Seek Urgent Medical Assistance
There are some instances where you should get immediate medical help. These include
- If your pain is sudden, deteriorates rapidly or prevents you from being able to walk
- If you have recently lost weight
- If your pain comes on as the result of a fall or injury
- If you experience weakness, numbness or tingling in your arms and legs
- If you experience problems with your bladder or bowels
Making Changes To Your Lifestyle And Habits
It is important to note that bed rest may very well work against you, rather than help you to heal from back pain. In fact, being able to maintain fitness and continue to exercise during bouts of back pain could help to accelerate healing and recovery.
Be sure to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise, however, as this can put unnecessary strain on your back and make it worse. Working with a trained professional is really the eBay way to find a balance, and ensure you do not allow your back muscles to weaken during your recovery period.
Strengthening exercises, stretching exercises and gentle workouts can help to strengthen your back gradually and help to prevent injuries from recurring in the future. Exercise programs such as yoga and Pilates may be beneficial but it is important that you only attempt exercise under the guidance and supervision of a professional. If you want to relieve back pain and prevent it from recurring in the future, you must work at strengthening your back structure.
There’s no need to suffer. Contact us for an appointment: (02) 9159 6903