“I haven’t done anything different! It just started hurting!
What do I do to treat it? And how do I stop it coming back?”
This is something we hear all the time in our clinics from patients who come for help with back pain and have no idea why it is there.
It may have come on slowly or perhaps they woke up one morning and were unable to move with the pain. Either way they cannot think of anything they did that hurt or injured their back. Yesterday was a perfectly normal day. So why is it now so painful?
Or maybe they have repeated episodes of back pain. It goes with time or pain killers but soon returns and they have no idea what caused it or how to stop it coming back.
They may get painkillers from the GP, do some stretches or have some treatments. These may help in the short term but it gradually comes back and they make another appointment with their GP.
As private physiotherapists we get very frustrated
with the tick box, short term, and dismissive attitude to back pain that seems to exist in many areas of the NHS. Yes, we know that tens of thousands of people every year suffer with back pain. Does that mean we should accept it as part of life and just suffer?
‘It’s your age, your job, your weight etc. is often the explanation given to patients, suggesting there is nothing else that can be done. Accept it, change jobs or lose weight and you will be fine.
We are often told patients feel worse after seeing someone they thought would help them. They feel more frustrated and powerless and don’t know where to turn to get some help or relief.
So is there another way? YES!!
Many things that can be done to help you and your back pain and at Physio-Answers Private Physiotherapy Clinic we do all we can to free you of your pain and stop it coming back.
Physiotherapy with us has helped many people over the years, young and old, active and sedentary to not only treat their back pain but also to understand it so they themselves can continue with their own recovery and prevention programme.
Many of the patients who we see with back pain at Physio Answers come to the clinic with back pain for ‘no reason’ as far as they can see, They had no accident or trauma or have done nothing different recently to explain it, even with a pain that is sudden and severe and won’t improve.
When we think of an injury to our tissues we think of a sudden singular event-lifting badly, twisting or falling.
And an overuse injury is due to repetitively moving something in the same way as in tennis or running.
But an injury can be much more subtle than that and can be caused by too little movement as well as too much.
Basically our body tissues become injured and cause pain when they are put under more stress than they can cope with so they start to fail and become damaged. This causes inflammation and pain.
This stress maybe sudden as in a football injury or a fall but often it is slow and builds up over time with only the odd twinge as a warning
Pain also has the effect of ‘switching off’ our deep supportive (core) muscles and so the cycle continues. The aches and niggles may slowly increase until they really affect what you want to do. Or the onset can be sudden and severe.
You may be standing one day with no problems and your back suddenly ‘’goes’ and you can’t even stand or walk. Either way you have no idea why your back is hurting, it has not been a problem before.
When something is very heavy people tend to take more care and remember the ‘rules’ of how to lift correctly. But what about the repetitive light loads, or awkward pulling and twisting? It doesn’t hurt at the time; it is not a great strain so it must be OK?
However, the repeated twisting with the small loads may be causing an accumulation of problems that don’t show until something ‘goes’ like a disc. It was the repeated stresses on the structure that made it fail rather than one big event.
The muscles holding you in once place eventually become tired and fatigued and extra stress is put on other structures, discs, ligaments, joints etc. These cannot cope and start to cause pain and discomfort.
An episode of back pain then usually leads to a trip to your GP. They tell you that most back pain resolves after a few days or weeks, they give you some painkillers and maybe a sheet of back exercises. Which may or may not help.
Then what? ? Hopefully after a while the pain goes with the medication and you return to normal-with no advice, explanations or changes to your normal routine. But what has changed? What will stop the pain returning-and gradually getting worse as the tissues become more affected and stressed? The Answer is –nothing.
Unfortunately that is the ongoing cycle of back pain many people suffer from-sometimes for years.
We are experts at treating and empowering those with back pain and have helped very many people over the years become painfree and get back to the things they want to do.
We often hear from patients that ‘You are the first person who has properly explained what was wrong and what will make it better. No one has taken the time before.’
Many types of therapy can help back pain in the short term but we believe physiotherapy also looks at the bigger picture.
So what will your treatment plan with us involve?
Research shows that people recover better from any medical problems if they are empowered and involved in their recovery. We use models of joints and spines, diagrams, exercise APPS and postural ‘selfies’ to show you what the problem is, give you lots of information and also the opportunity to ask us questions so you have clear goals and expectations about your treatment.
We give you a written treatment plan explaining what and how we will treat your back pain and schedule regular reviews to see if things are going to plan.
Our priority is to help the pain as it stops you moving normally or using the muscles correctly so recovery cannot take place until you are comfortable.
We may use massage, joint manipulation, dry needling (acupuncture needles) kinesiology taping and some specific exercises to immediately relieve the pain.
Normal movement actually helps your recovery, preventing the incorrect stresses on the tissues and allowing your muscles to strengthen correctly and keep you supported in the right position.
Muscles can get out of balance-some are too tight and some weak and loose.
We use hands on therapy, acupuncture needles and stretches to loosen the tight parts and show you how to correctly strengthen the others safely and correctly.
The good core muscles will not be working as well as they were before the pain so long term management looks at bringing them back to their normal function
What happens when the pain is gone and you are feeling great?
Your lifestyle, including:
Then give you advice, exercises, strategies and knowledge so YOU a re in control of how to prevent your back pain.
So if you are frustrated, fed up and in pain and not finding the answers you want then make an appointment to see one of the expert physios at our Physio-Answers Physiotherapy clinics.
There are so many things that we do to help back pain and we would be very happy to help you with yours!
Call 020 3538 3808 to make an appointment or speak to one of the team. Or make an appointment online through the website.
We look forward to seeing you and giving you the opportunity to feel in control of your back pain and do the things you love
If you would like a free, 10 minute physiotherapy ‘pre-assessment’ and discussion with the physiotherapist to see if physiotherapy is the right treatment for you; visit our pre-assessment page here
Contact our Lewisham clinic based at Anytime
Fitness Birdwood Avenue Lewisham SE13 6UR.
Visit our physiotherapists based at our Leyton clinic -
300 High Road, Leyton, E10 5PW.
Find us at 36 Eastern
Esplanade, Southend, Essex, SS1 2ES.