Back pain: is it frustrating you?

You’re certainly not alone if back pain is getting in the way of your day to day life - whether it is playing with children or grandchildren, sleeping, or simply lifting something.

What is causing my pain?

85% of low back pain is classified as non-specific. This means that there is no underlying disease or pathology causing symptoms. There are some cases where it is clear that a disc (they don’t, can’t and never will slip anywhere!! – more of this rant shortly) is causing pain. In other cases, it can be clear that a joint is leading to pain.

What about non-specific low back pain?

This is where it can get tricky…very tricky. The joints of the body all work in a relatively coordinated way with some slight differences between people, but in some cases, for example a stiff right hip can lead to a painful left low back.

For other patients I see their own thoughts and feelings about what is causing their back pain can make their back feel worse. I have seen people who have been erroneously, incorrectly and JUST PLAIN WRONGLY been told that if they bend their back a disc will physically slip leading to them spending their days in a wheelchair. This incorrect information made these individuals scared to bend their back- and guess what? Their backs hurt even more. The answer to this was giving people the correct information, building their confidence and getting them moving again in a sensible, gradual way.

Stress and a lack of sleep can make backs feel worse. If you miss two consecutive deep sleep cycles on two consecutive nights research has shown that your symptoms can feel anything up to 25% worse.

What is the answer?

A thorough assessment of your symptoms, your back, hips, a controversial joint called the sacroiliac joint and possibly your nerves is the first step. If you are concerned about hurting your back with normal activities, giving you the right information on why backs can hurt and how to move is also crucial. Finally - taking a look at sleep, stress,diet and activity will also help. Maximise these elements and your chances for resolving back symptoms improve dramatically.

NB: discs don’t slip. It’s an inaccurate phrase that was first coined in the 1920's.

If you would like us to help you with back pain please call and make an appointment on 0118 976 7189.

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