Back pain, whether it’s chronic or acute is absolutely no fun. From utterly devastating (meaning you can’t move), to the annoying niggle that you put up with because it is “just always there”.
Exercise Right state that 80% of Aussies will be affected by an episode of back pain at least once in their life….. yes, 80%. Which means that you can probably relate to some form of back pain. Maybe you’re experiencing it now. Perhaps you live with it every day. There’s every chance that either you, or someone you know, is in the position where back pain rules their life. It dictates all of the things that they can, and can’t do. There’s also a really good chance it makes you (or them) miserable.
Back pain can arise from a number of things such as an injury, chronic conditions or degeneration (which is a very normal part of aging) of the spine. However, more commonly, it is a product of the kind of environment we live in today. We spend long hours sitting, usually in front of a screen. We have an abundance of convenience, resulting in a significant drop in how active we are day to day. We probably also live high stress lives and lack quality sleep, which can contribute to our experience of pain.
Chronic pain is an incredibly complex issue. The human body is so very intelligent and will pull out every trick possible to keep us safe. Pain is the simplest way to tell us “stop what you’re doing”. Hence why we somewhat instinctively feel that movement and exercise is not “safe” if our back is hurting.
I’m here to tell you that exercise and movement is incredible medicine for back pain, niggles and stiffness. It is also one of the leading preventative measures for avoiding future back pain or reducing flares, especially when it’s prescribed by a professional who understands this and knows how to deliver safe exercise for every individual. There is more research now than ever before into the benefits of exercise prescription for the management of back pain (and pain in general).
As an Exercise Physiologist, there’s a few things I like to consider when helping you manage your back pain.
- Posture: what is your default posture, how could this be impacting pain levels?
- Deep abdominal control or “core activation”: are these muscles working as an effective team to support you?
- Glute involvement: do you have the strength for great everyday function?
- Movement patterns: do you move efficiently?
- Muscular tightness: are there areas of tightness making your posture poor or limiting good/optimal movement?
- Muscular weakness: can we improve any of the above by developing strength and endurance of muscles?
The final, but most important things that I consider….
What would you like to be able to do that you currently can’t do?
How would you like your back to feel?
How important is achieving these things to you?
Because at the end of the day, the value you place on having control of your life and being able to participate in active things like walking your dog, playing with the kids, overseas travel, playing sport, cleaning the house, feeling energized and comfortable throughout the day is the key factor in positive results.
If you have a cranky back and would love to experience some positive results, let the EP. EP. team support you on that journey.