If you’ve had even one, let alone multiple episodes of back pain you will understand the impact it can have on your life. As a patient once said to me “I always thought those people with lower back pain should just stop moaning and get on with things, until I got back pain and realised the effect of it!”
Back pain can make you feel angry, low in your mood, snappy, fed up and lacking in motivation, not because you want to feel like that, it’s just because that’s how it makes you feel as a consequence.
Pain is tricky because other people around you can’t see your suffering. You aren’t in a bandage, you are not on crutches so it is difficult for them to understand what you going through. Even those close to you find it difficult. They feel a bit helpless too, because they are not sure how to help you.
Stretching exercises for lower back pain are often given and can be great at settling down symptoms. Stretches are helpful because they try to regain or maintain the mobility in the spine or around the hips. The soft tissue structures will like the stretches if you are doing the right things for your specific back problem. Remember every back problem is different because every person is different! But if your pain returns and the stretches aren’t keeping your pain away you need a Plan B.
Every joint and soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, tendons and joint structures) should should be mobile, but it should also have the capacity to cope with “stuff”. In other words our life and whatever demands that we place on our backs. Be that sitting, walking, lifting, twisting, running etc. The demands are different for all of us due to our height, weight, job and sports and hobbies.
We know that pain itself is enough to reduce back muscle strength. In other words pain leads to your muscles becoming weaker. The science is unclear whether that is a true weakness or just that your body goes into protect mode and doesn’t want to use it’s full strength. If you have pain for a few days or weeks or months though. The lack of using your full muscle strength will ultimately mean you are definitely weaker.
Let’s think of most professional sports injuries as an example, they have an injury, they rest up, the structural healing occurs all by itself (well done our amazing bodies!) but then they have to do the strength work to improve the capacity of the injured area to cope with the demands of their sport. When the capacity has improved and they are ready, they return to play.
Let’s take the average back pain sufferer. You have a pain episode or injury, you rest up a bit, the acute pain settles. You carry on with life. Pain returns at some point. And then the cycle begins again……….
So have you, like the professional sports person, strengthened YOUR BACK and improved the capacity of your back to cope with YOUR LIFE? If the answer is no then you may have just realised the missing key to the puzzle of “why does my back pain keep coming back?”
There are many things that can cause back pain and be reasons for pain persisting. This is an easy one to fix so if you would like help with knowing the best way to strengthen your back (remember we are all different) to get rid of your back pain for good why not give us a call.