Some Important Information
About Low Back Pain
Low back pain (LBP) is thought to affect up to 60 to 80% of
the Western population throughout the course of their life. Many people do not have any preceding events
to cause this back pain, although specific injuries can also initiate their
symptoms. Lower back pain
constitutes almost half of all chronic pain.
This has a huge effect on quality of life and people with LBP tend to have more time off work and higher
of medical costs than those who do not have symptoms.
Sedentary lifestyles, increased body weight, reduced physical
activity and poor postures are all contributing factors to LBP. Obesity rates in the western world have
never been higher, and this is known to cause greater rates of musculoskeletal
pain than ever before. Back pain can strike suddenly or build up slowly over a
period of time. Many people report sudden and severe onset of back pain from a
seemingly innocent movement. Others find that their back aches towards the end
of the workday and follows a regular pattern. Thankfully, more and more
workplaces are advocating for better ergonomic set-ups in order to
pre-emptively reduce the incidence of LBP amongst employees.
Dealing with back pain is complicated as there are many
treatments to choose from.
Unfortunately, there is rarely a miracle cure that works for everyone.
What research tells us is that effective and timely advice, thorough professional
assessment and a tailored exercise program shows the best outcomes in the long
There are some cases where your
physiotherapist or doctor will suggest that you have imaging such as an x-ray
or MRI. While imaging can be helpful in ruling out serious injuries it is
important to realise that if everyone
was to have an MRI of their spine, it is reasonable to expect that most people
would have changes in the appearance of their spines, even if they don’t have
any pain or other symptoms. The take-home message is that scans do not always
paint an accurate picture of what is happening within a person’s back.
The back is made up of a number of different structures that
work together to achieve the required movements needed to perform daily
activities. With such a complex
combination of tissues and joints, aches and pains can be caused by any number
of structures. Keeping the muscles and joints of the spine strong and healthy
can have a remarkable impact on pain levels regardless of the specific
structure causing symptoms.
If you are suffering from back pain, speak to your
physiotherapist for advice on how to best manage your symptoms. While no one
can prevent back pain with 100% certainty, keeping active, avoiding smoking and
maintaining a healthy relationship with alcohol and heavy labour, can reduce
your chances of having low back pain.
None of the information in
this post is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a
medical professional for advice on your individual condition.
If you’d like further information about how to overcome back pain then click