How should lower back pain (LBP) be viewed?
Let me explain further by thinking about this comparison. When we experience a gradual onset head ACHE and feel some pain, we don’t call it a head INJURY and certainly we do not rush off to the doctor, receive some strong medications and get some scans of our brain. We generally think about what the triggers of that headache are and try to address them. It may be drinking more water, getting more quality sleep, having improved nutrition, being less sedentary, taking some exercise or decreasing the stress in our lives.
Written by Michael Bushell, Senior Physiotherapist
Why then when we experience some gradual onset low backache and feel some pain, we don’t call it a low back INJURY however some of us will rush to the doctor, receive some strong medications and get some scans or X-rays of our lower back. We generally will not think about what the triggers of that backache are and try to address them. It may be drinking more water, getting more quality sleep, having improved nutrition, being less sedentary, taking some exercise or decreasing the stress in our lives.
LBP should be viewed similarly like tiredness, sadness, headaches, constipation or stomach upsets. They are not fun but very common experiences and predicaments of life that most of us experience from time to time.
So, try not to worry the next time you experience some gradual onset LBP. For the majority of cases having a better understanding of the causes and influences and getting some expert guidance from your physio you can fully resolve the problem.
“In most cases of LBP imaging in the form of scans and X-rays are not needed. In fact, getting scans and X-rays unnecessarily can actually increase the experience of pain in some clients! Did you know that 1/2 of all over 30 y.o’s and 2/3’s of all over 40 y.o’s will have degenerative changes in their lower back seen on imaging. If you’re over 60 y.o’s it is uncommon to not have degenerative changes! When unnecessary scans or x-rays are performed the presence of degenerative changes are often misleadingly blamed for the cause of an episode of LBP when they have no influence whatsoever. The anxiety and fear created regarding the presence of these degenerative changes can sensitize our nervous system and we can increase our experience of LBP. This is unhelpful!”