Back Pain: The Chain of Command
Your spine is essentially the chain that forms the ‘backbone’ of your entire body. Without it you would be a loose pile of muscles, organs and soft tissue piled on the floor.
Your spine commands respect because it is the pillar that supports your body, allows you to walk, stand and sit, as well as touch and feel; because it forms the canal connecting the nerves from your body and limbs, to your brain. While your heart may be the vital organ that keeps you alive, without your spine you wouldn’t be able to move.
There are three natural curves in your spine that give it an “S” shape when viewed from the side. These curves help the spine withstand great amounts of stress by distributing your body weight. Between the bony vertebra are spongy discs that act as shock absorbers. The lumbar spine (or lower back) connects the thoracic spine to the pelvis, and bears the bulk of your body’s weight.
Your spine is not rigid though. It is designed to allow movement through the intervertebral joints connecting the bony vertebra. These joints allow you to twist, to bend forward and backward, and from side to side. Large groups of muscles surrounding the spine, pelvis, hips and upper body all interact to allow for movements like walking, running, jumping, and swimming.
However, there are also muscles deep in your body that work constantly just to maintain your posture when you’re sitting and standing. It is essential that all elements of the spinal ‘chain’ work harmoniously together to ensure fluid movement without overloading structures resulting in injury and pain.
Any link in the chain that becomes ‘stuck’ will not only affect that spinal level but also the movement and strength of the chain above and below it. If the muscles around the spine are lacking in strength and/or length (flexibility) this too can affect the ‘chain’, altering how it moves and behaves.
Taking care of your spine now, will help you lower the chances of experiencing back pain later. Prevention is always better than cure. Many of the steps you can take to improve the overall health of your spine involve nothing more than practicing better body mechanics, or how you move and hold yourself, when you do daily tasks and activities. This means exercise helps back pain and regular exercise reduces back pain.
Taking Care of Your Spine
Pay attention to early warning signs or pain. Although back pain is very common and nearly every person will experience at least one episode of back pain in a lifetime, it is essential to address any symptoms promptly.
It has also been shown in studies that early treatment and rehabilitation can prevent recurrent bouts of back pain and prevent the development of chronic lower back pain which can be very debilitating, stressful and depressing. It can affect your ability to work, play sport, socialise and sleep, all of which can further compound your pain cycle.
Your back pain could be due to inflamed ligaments, damaged intervertebral discs, nerve irritation, bony formations on the spine, muscle imbalances such as weakness or a lack of flexibility, or muscle strains, to name just a few. Even the way we move (or don’t move) at work, home or sport can all be an underlying cause to the current pain.
How Physiotherapy Can Help with Back Pain and sleep
Your physiotherapist can treat the pain or stiffness experienced from back pain using massage, soft tissue mobilisation, spinal manipulation, education, advice and most importantly tailored exercises. Passive treatments such as electrotherapy (eg ultrasound) are really ineffective with treating back pain. Acupuncture has limited benefit but can help reduce pain to allow you to move and perform the exercises which will ultimately help your recovery. If you don’t have a rehab plan for your back pain you need to see another physiotherapist.
It is important that you, together with your physio work through a rehabilitation programme (specific exercises and stretches) to correct underlying muscle weaknesses, flexibility issues, and improve the way in which the muscles around your spine work. A physio can also give you advice on correcting posture / technique for work and sport allowing you to get back doing what you love as quickly as possible and stronger than before.
Should you need referral to another professional your physio can also help with this, for example, a dietician to counsel on a meal plan to achieve a healthy body weight. Being active can also help prevent as well as cure back pain.
Chat to us today about what we can do to help find the solution to your problem. We treat lots of people with back pain every day as it is such a common complaint. It affects 8/10 people so you are not alone. We understand how it can affect you. It can feel disabling and extremely painful. This makes you feel, fearful and frightened of exercise or someone touching your back. This is absolutely normal. We understand how you feel and will explain the process as we go along so you know how we will help.
Anyone who suffers from back pain knows how hard it is to get a long, restful night’s sleep. Most of us toss and turn and when morning arrives, we feel more exhausted than when we went to bed, and spend the next day feeling drained and irritable.
Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve put together a unique, interactive guide to help you banish your back pain at night, without the use of any sleep medication or painkillers. The first thing you need to do to resolve your back pain is decide to stop suffering and start by getting an assessment and specific, tailored plan for you r pain. We regularly treat back pain and we need you to be prepared to work consistently to help accelerate your recovery. We can help reduce your pain with some manual therapies but we can’t do the exercises to make you stronger and more resilient to prevent the pain from returning and to help you get back to doing the activities you love.
So why not book an appointment online today and start your recovery. We are locally based with physiotherapy clinics in Newton Mearns and Largs.
Back Pain and Sleep Issues
One of the most common issues back pain sufferers experience is sleep disruption so we have put together an interactive Back Pain and Sleep Guide to help you banish those sleepless nights and wake up feeling refreshed.
The free guide includes:
- 6 Strategies for Improving Your Sleep
- 8 bedtime stretches to relieve back pain (with video links)
- Sleeping positions that will help relieve pain (with links to videos)
- 7 Yoga Poses that will help cure most back pain issues
- A morning stretch routine that will help ease pain from a restless night (with videos)
Click this link to find out more and download the guide
Please feel free to pass this on to friends or family who you feel would also benefit.
Disclaimer: This information is intended as general guidance and information only and should not be relied upon as a basis for planning individual medical care or as a substitute for specialist medical advice in each individual case. Our physiotherapy clinics are located in Newton Mearns, Glasgow and Largs, North Ayrshire.