Mastering your pain, it starts at the begining.
I’ve always believed in any endevour you take on if you start well you have a better chance of finishing strongly and with the best result.
Trying to get on top of low back pain, or any persistent pain for that matter, can be a fustrating experience. Often leading to many visits to various proffesionals with results that may not reach your expectations.
The purpose of this blog is not to give you the one “secret exercise” or “magic bullet” cure to that nagging back pain that is getting the upper hand in your life.
However i hope this blog will give you a necessary understanding of what you should expect from your chosen health professional to get you the result you deserve.
An all too familiar back pain story
If you’ve had or have back pain for a period of time you may be familiar with the following scenario. You go to see a Dr/ Chiro/Osteo/Physio etc about it and had a 5 minute chat and given a diagnosis that involves one of the following statements;
- You have a bulging disc there’s nothing you can do.
- It’s arthritis , there’s nothing you can do, maybe try swimmimg.
- You’re out of alignment thats why you have a bulging disc, you’ll need to see me every week for ad infinitum.
- You just need to strengthen your core, stretch your hamstings ,etc.
It’s a fustrating story to hear and what adds to this fustration thing is that the first version you hear about your back pain seems to be the version you stick with.
It’s a back pain story seen by many
To quote Stuart McGill ;
“A good back specialist will ask very specific questions, whereby the answers help interpret the triggers to hone in on a specific mechanism of pain.
Once triggers are understood, the objective is to avoid them. Adapt new ways to sit, tie your shoes, sleep, brush your teeth, lift your children, walk, etc.
Nearly all back pain can be controlled and altered.”
Is it any wonder the 5-10 minute assessment didn’t really get to the source of the problem.
Where should we start in assessing your low back pain ?
The most important information we may get is not from a scan or x-ray you have. It’s from the story you tell about how it happened, what makes it worse and how it affects you. Thats not to dismeiss the scans but they need to be taken in context with the history and nature of the condition.
To be fair to you we usually get the full story after 2 or 3 sessions due to a few lightbulb or face palming moments along the way. Sometimes that gut feeling you have or “it sounds silly but ” comment can really offer alot of insight.
Why is your back pain story so important ?
Quite simply we need to know how your symptoms behave and how it is impacting you and what you want to be able to do. This is crucial to work out what we need to look at and test and also to forward plan your treatment.
What makes your back pain worse & what makes it better helps guide your best treatment.
Our next objective is to identify what are the drivers or triggers of your low back pain. Drivers / triggers are the activities or situations that keep the pain going. They fuel the fire so to speak.
They may be mechanical in that they are related to;
- Static or dynamic postures we adapt during the day.
- Specific movements or activities.
- Lack of “fitness” of our back to carry out repeated tasks.
Or they may have a non-mechanical driver;
- Fear of movement or postures that you need to be in.
- Fear of the pain and avoiding certain activities that might flare it up.
- A belief that the pain you feel is doing you damage.
If we can identify the drivers behind your pain we can establish a solution to reduce their ability to keep the pain going. This can be as simple as stopping a certain activity or modifying how you do it. Then the task is to make you resiliant to them, bullet proof you so to speak.
Creating a back pain plan that is built for you
With the story you tell plus the information we get from watching you move we can create a foundation for your return to pain-free activity and hopefully more.
Not everybodys back pain is the same. Some people need to get fitter, some need to move better, some need to be stronger or more flexible and some just need a nudge and some encouragement.
It’s likely we all need a little bit of everything, but in different quantities.
Armed with this information we can establish YOUR goals and where we need to start you on your journey back to full fitness.
This is a summary of our treatment philosophy Arana Hills physiotherapy regardless of the condition you are struggling with.
Your back pain is as individual as you and as such needs an individualised approach. To do this we need to get to know your story to get the best result.
Maybe not everyone can be pain free but everyone can be better than they are and be able to do alot more than they think.
Find out more here about what we can do for you.
Oh yeah and it has to be fun, “because if s*^t is fun then s*^t gets done”