Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people go to the doctors or miss work, and it has become a leading cause of disability worldwide. With most people experiencing back pain at least once in their lives.
Although it is very common, the mainstream medical world is often unable to identify the true cause of the pain, when there hasn’t been a direct and obvious cause (eg a fall or accident), and so in many cases, they refer to this as ‘non-specific back pain’.
This is because modern medicine training views the body as a machine and when there is pain it means the machine is broken. Scans and X-Rays are used to identify what is broken and then treatment is given based on ‘fixing’ that. Back surgeons know that surgery only works in twenty percent of the cases.
At The Hannon Clinic, we look at all possible causes for back pain, including Neurophysiological causes (ie stress or anxiety)
Areas of Pain
Back pain is often divided into regions of the back and identified as:
These can include:
- Shooting or stabbing pain
- Muscle ache
- The Feeling of stiffness or tightness
- Weak feeling in the muscles
- Pain that radiates down the leg
- Pain the worsens when bending, lift, walking or standing
Acute back pain is sudden pain and lasts no more than six weeks. This can be caused by heavy lifting, a slip or a fall.
Back pain that lasts longer than three months is referred to as ‘chronic back pain. Where there is no obvious cause, such as an accident, then stress may be the contributing factor.
Common conditions causing back pain include:
- Muscle strain
- Bulging or ruptured disc
- Ligament strain
- Skeletal misalignment
- Spinal Stenosis
- Gluteal sag or drag
- Neurophysiological - Stress or Anxiety
Quite often we can do a lot to help reduce the risk back pain or prevent its reoccurrence. These include:
- Exercise – Regular low impact aerobic activities aimed at building strength and endurance, such as swimming and walking. Also, abdominal and back muscle exercises for core strength and flexibility stretched for the pelvis and hips.
- Warm-up the muscles before any activity by stretching.
- Stay active – avoid sitting for long periods.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Take care when lifting.
- Reduce stress or anxiety in your life.
A treatment plan is developed once the known cause of the pain is identified. To do this we look at the person’s life in full, this can include details of all past accidents, falls, types of seats most used, shoes are worn, stressors or work carried out.
Treatment can include:
- Re-alignment of the skeletal structure – this is done in a very gentle way with no cracking or forced manipulation of the bones.
- Medication – painkillers and anti-inflammatories can be recommended where required.
- Physical therapy – massage or manipulation of the muscles.
- Stretches and exercise plan to aid recovery
- Stress relief methods – tools and techniques to help you reduce stress and anxiety.
- For long term or chronic pain – teach you how to move on from pain mentally as well as physically.