Some facts about Back Pain

Human spine,computer artwork

Some facts about Back Pain                          

How common is it?

If you are experiencing back pain you are in good company. Around 80% or more of the population have at least one episode in their lifetime. Unfortunately it can be very painful and can interfere with your work and social life. The good news is that the cause is only really serious in less than 1% of cases, so most likely the chances are your symptoms are not due to anything dangerous. However it is a good idea to consult a healthcare professional to make sure this is the case. Osteopaths are trained for 4 years or more to recognise when your pain is related to serious causes and get you to the appropriate help if necessary.

What causes it?

Most back pain is caused by strain of the soft tissues surrounding the spine, such as muscles or ligaments. It can be related to a specific injury and commonly happens when we are run down, stressed, inactive or overdoing it. Sometimes your spine muscles can go into spasm to protect the area, this can be quite scary as even small movements can cause quite severe pain. The thing to remember is that the pain and spasm are there to protect you in the early phase of your injury, so try not to get too distressed and they should pass quickly. Only around 5% of people have sciatica type symptoms due to nerves in the low back being irritated by swollen discs, again this can be very painful, but with careful management this usually heals too.

What can I do about it?

In the first couple of days of an episode of back pain the best advice is to take it easy and manage the pain in a way that suits you. For some people this may be pain killers, a hot bath, relaxation techniques, acupuncture or manipulation. You should try to remain as mobile as possible and slowly increase your activity as the pain subsides. Bed rest for more than a day is not a good idea and has been shown to prolong your recovery time and can lead to persistent long term back pain.

If you can do your job safely then you should continue working or go back as soon as you can. You may have to change your duties or your workplace set up temporarily. Continuing with your normal life will keep your mind off the pain, make you happier and will reduce your recovery time.

How can I prevent it happening again in the future?

Taking care of your back is common sense and shouldn’t be too complicated. The most important recognised factors are:

Take regular exercise of a type you enjoy

Maintain a healthy weight

Eat a good diet

Sleep enough

Try to keep a positive outlook on life

Don’t overload your back or stay in one posture for hours

If your back pain is persisting or you are concerned about any of your symptoms please contact us at the clinic.

01273 600023 or clinic@brightonosteopathy.co.uk

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