Suffering Back Pain. What Should You Do?
While lower back pain is commonplace, the diagnosis of the cause of your back pain is specific to you, and therefore, the treatment or investigation pathway varies for each case.
A spinal health care professional can assist you with a prompt diagnosis, early referral, acute and chronic back pain relief, plus long-term self-management or back pain prevention strategies specific to you. You should feel confident that your practitioner has screened you for particular pathologies that require urgent medical attention. They should assess you for neurological deficits such as:
- loss of bowel or bladder function,
- leg muscle weakness,
- loss of sensation,
- diminished reflexes,
- and day-to-day operation.
A thorough assessment will determine whether you have radiculopathy or stenosis. This diagnosis is essential since treatment usually differs from NSLBP or radicular pain.
Please consult a musculoskeletal physiotherapist or another spinal healthcare practitioner for specific recommendations.
You probably already know that back pain has a nasty habit of returning within a few months of the initial injury. Research has shown that you have an 80% chance of recurring back pain within 12 months of the first episode. The good news is that you can reduce your chances significantly if you do the right thing early.
What Should You Do When You Suffer Back Pain?
The latest research recommends that you only spend a day or two resting in bed. More extended periods cause muscle weakness, making repeat back pain more likely.
Ice or Heat?
We recommend ice treatment for 20 minutes every 2 or 3 hours for the first 48 hours. The ice should help reduce your pain, swelling and back spasms. After a few days, you are safe to use heat packs. We usually recommend avoiding heat (and heat rubs) in the first 48 hours. Heat packs encourage bleeding, which could be detrimental if used too early.
Should You Use a Back Brace?
A back brace can help you to get back on your feet or allow you to return to work sooner. We don't encourage long-term use because research has shown that your stomach and back muscles will weaken as you become reliant on the brace.
What Medication Should You Use?
Your Doctor or Pharmacist may recommend pain relief in the form of paracetamol or an anti-inflammatory. You are best seeking their advice as certain drugs can interfere with other health conditions.
When Should You Commence Physio?
In severe cases, when the slightest movement causes unbelievable pain or spasm, it may be best to wait a day or two to start treatment. This delay will allow the majority of swelling to settle. Slight niggles or "my back feels out" sufferers can usually commence treatment (and maybe fixed) on the day of injury. If you are not sure what to do, please call us for advice. We'll happily guide you in your time of need.
What About Core Stability Training?
The current physiotherapy and fitness training trend is 'core stability training' (back and abdominal muscle control).
What If You Do Nothing?
"Back pain is something you could be suffering needlessly". Research tells us that symptoms lasting longer than three months become habitual and are much harder to solve. The sooner you get on top of your symptoms, the better your outcome and the quicker you'll get back to living your life.
What Results Should You Expect from Physiotherapy?
Not only will your physio diagnose the cause of your pain and give you the "peace of mind" associated, but they'll also help you to:
- Relieve your pain quicker
- Cope better with your pain using proven strategies and tips
- Get you back to work and play faster through improved healing rates.
- Loosen and strengthen your back with individually prescribed exercises
- Prevent future bouts of back pain via our holistic back pain management approach
Think about it. Back Pain is Something You Could be Suffering Needlessly.
Please use our expert advice to guide you out of pain quicker and for a lot longer.
If you have any questions regarding your back pain (or any other condition), please call us now to discuss your situation. You'll find our friendly staff happy to point you in the right direction.