Suffering with lower back pain effects people in different ways. It can be isolating, restrict activities, very frightening and deprive us of sleep – which always makes everything worse. What do you understand about your condition? Learning how to take a fresh look and gain understanding about these things can be very powerful in how you move forward with managing your back and your pain. So read on – here are some useful things to know about lower back pain.
Beliefs about Your Back
Have you ever stopped to think about what are your beliefs about your back.? Do you see your back as a strong and safe structure that you can trust? Or do you worry that your back is weak, at risk and easily damaged? Beliefs about your back may have caused you to stop doing certain activities and have an unwelcome impact on daily life, work and play.
The truth is the back is one of the strongest structures in our bodies. It is built to withstand loads and forces of daily life and can adapt to many different ways of moving. Pain doesn’t mean that your back is weak. Your back is adaptable especially when you gradually increase stress and load. Spines change with age, these are NORMAL and are not always predictors of pain. It doesn’t mean your back is weak.
Pain and Damage
Starting to view your back as strong isn’t easy when you’re experiencing – it’s scary! We strongly connect pain with damage and fear that the more pain we have the more damage there is.
Beliefs around pain and damage are strongly impacted by MRI or other imaging results. It is there in the radiographers report – the bulging disc, arthritis etc.. It is useful to know that MRIs are highly sensitive and will pick up all changes to your spine – even the changes that have no connection to your symptoms. Research into MRI scans on patients who HAD NO PAIN revealed many changes to their spines, including bulging discs. Imaging is important when it comes to ruling out any serious pathologies. But remember for most people it is going to show something – whether they have pain or not! Changes or ‘damage’ doesn’t necessarily correlate to pain.
You can have pain without any damage. People who suffer with migraines experience severe pain but understand that there isn’t any damage. Ever had brain freeze when eating a cold ice cream? How many times have you heard of someone who has had an MRI only to be told that there was nothing wrong with their scan and yet they still have lower back pain.
I’m Frightened to Exercise
Fear of movement definitely is a big problem especially in a more acute phase. Bending over to tie shoe laces or picking up heavy objects like bags of shopping may seem too risky. But as symptoms reduce it isn’t a good idea to keep avoiding movements. Remember the pain you experience during exercise is highly unlikely to be causing damage. It can be safe to move even with pain. If your back injury happened more than a couple of months ago the tissues will be well on the way to healing – even if you are still experiencing pain..
The best way to get back to movement is to start gradually. A short walk is a good strategy or exercises prescribed by your therapist. Over a period of time you can gradually start to increase the time, speed and load of the exercises you are doing. Foundation Training is an incredible progressive movement system that leads you back to confidence in your back and how you move on a day to day basis. This return to moving and exercise may have set backs but you can learn how to manage your symptoms.
Understand How You Effect Your Pain
When it comes to pain EVERYTHING IS RELEVANT. There is huge benefit in understanding how you effect your own symptoms. It is really easy to get caught up in the search for the bio mechanical cause but as I’ve explained earlier pain doesn’t mean damage. Working through your story and experiences can hep to unravel all of the factors that may be influencing your pain. Peripheral drivers of pain include:
- Poor sleep
- Low job satisfaction
- Reduced movement
- Not being able to do previously loved activities
- Fear of disability
None of this is to suggest what you are experiecing is imaginary or ‘just in your head’. Our life experiences have an impact on our minds and bodies by how they effect our central nervous system. Experiences that move us into the stress response dial up our pain levels, just as the movements that help us to relax may reduce symptoms. Some of these peripheral drivers are going to be easier to tackle than others. It’s not always so easy to get a new job. Look for the easier ones to start with, going for a short walk, guided meditations, eat a little better, less alcohol or even a good chat with a good friend.
How Can I Help You?
If you are struggling with lower back pain would you like to build confidence in your back and how you move?
I use a combination of manual therapy and movement education to help you start to feel better. Soft Tissue Therapy helps to reduce tension and can be really comforting especially in more acute phases.. Foundation Training gets you moving again. Motion is the very best lotion and gives the longest benefits, It restores confidence and gives you strategies if you have a flare up.
How Can You Work With Me?
I offer face to face appointments for soft tissue therapy and Foundation Training in my clinic in Rainham, Kent. I teach Foundation Training group classes and one to one sessions online via Zoom. Group classes are only for those who have completed the introduction course or have previous experience. You can either give me a call on 07811388339 or contact me here.
I’ve got your back!