Don’t live with back pain!

Over the past 12 years I have seen so many people with back pain. Some are due to contact on a sports field and many are due to lifting something that little too heavy. However, the most common statement I hear is “There was no initial cause, I have had it for years and just learnt to live with it”. When I hear this my response is always, “Why”?

Most people when you speak to them believe that back pain is something that is common (which it is) and something you just live with (Which you absolutely shouldn’t!). I am not saying that just doing the below will completely solve your issue, especially as I haven’t looked at it. I am saying that if you do the below it can most certainly help.

1. Move
In the past the advice given by Drs has always been to rest, lie on your back and it should settle. This has now been disproved many, many times and the up to date research is that moving and gentle exercise can be hugely beneficial for back pain. Whilst running is always a “go to” for people, the impact as you run isn’t always the best option. Cycling, swimming, cross training or even gentle resistance training are really good ways of starting to increase your exercise and start tackling your back pain.

2. Do not avoid movements
There is always a tendency to avoid certain movements when your back is sore. One of the most common movements is flexion (touching your toes). Whilst I am not suggesting we all start repeatedly bending forward, I am suggesting avoiding a movement is bad. Gently slide your hands down the front of your legs and back up again a few times a day. You may find it starts to get easier. However, if you do find your pain getting worse then I would always suggest booking an appointment with a medical professional. The best rehabilitation programme is a unique one designed specifically for you!

3. Stretch
OK I know this is boring and everyone rolls their eyes at me when I say this. However, if you have very tight and sore hamstrings it will pull on where they originate at the base of the pelvis. This in turn can rotate the pelvis and cause back pain. Similarly, tight quads and hip flexors can do the same on the front. Spending 1 minute 3 times a day on both your hamstrings (the back of your thigh), glutes (your bum) and quads (the front of your thigh), can really help.

4. Foam Roller and Tennis ball
When you have treatment how often does the therapist push on your upper back, or push an elbow into your glutes? If the answer is “quite a lot” (which I suspect it is), then this is something you can do yourself. Foam rolling the upper back will mobilise through the spine and increase range of movement. This in turn reduces the pressure you put on your lower back and can decrease pain. Also sitting on a tennis ball and loosening your glutes can also reduce muscle tension in the lower back and help to reduce pain.

Please remember that whilst the above tips can help if you suffer from chronic low back pain due to stiffness and tightness, it is not suitable for everyone. You may need specific treatment and a full assessment of your issue. However, if this makes you realise that you should not continue to live with back pain, then that’s a great start.

If you are suffering from back pain and you would like more specific advice, please feel free to book an appointment.