Low back pain is a common problem that affects most people at some point in their lives. In many cases, after a few weeks the pain settles and activity levels return to normal. Some people, however, continue to experience pain and limitation as the problem persists, invading more and more into daily living.
Chronic back pain is a significant problem with great personal cost and suffering as it pervades all aspects of life: home, work and sports. Chronic back pain is a problem for men and women as well as children.
How does back pain become chronic?
There are a number of reasons why back pain persists. These include: prior episodes of back pain (and often these become closer and closer over time, often increasing in severity — known as kindling or priming), insufficient recovery, over-worrying due to misunderstanding pain, stress, poor general health, a lack of mobility, returning to sport too soon, adaptations within the nervous system and immune system that maintain protection, and the wrong messages given early in the episode (e.g. ‘you should not bend’; ‘take bed rest’) that trigger the wrong choices and behaviours. You will notice the diversity of the reasons, hence why a detailed conversation about the pain, how it arose, the context and the story are all vital in providing me with a picture of your pain and suffering. This creates the opportunity for change and overcoming the pain and returning to activities.
A typical treatment, training and coaching programme would run like this:
Explain the story that you have told me so that you understand your pain and what is influencing it; perhaps a few videos and some reading material.
Begin treatment — desensitising and mobilising treatments that ease tension, stiffness and pain; and show you how to do the same at home (it is not enough just to have this in the clinic).
Confidence building exercises and movements if you are worried about moving your back. It has to move to be healthy! This is for blood flow and to nourish the brain (there are maps of the body in the brain that needs movement). This is on the back of your new understanding of pain.
Specific training and exercises — the sense of your body often changes when we have had pain for a while and this must be re-trained for normal movement. The guarding and protection via muscle tension and overactivity must be normalised. Persisting tension hurts and continues to alter movement patterns.
Mindfulness — to do anything well and with focus we need to be able to concentrate without intruding thoughts, especially negative ones, hijacking our performance. Mind training puts us in the best mental position for training as well as tackling stress and anxiety that both cause tension and pain. What we choose to do and how we behave depend upon our thinking, which is why we need to understand our pain so that we can make healthy choices.
Pain coaching techniques — as well as being coached, and this means optimising your potential and consistently looking for ways of improving, you learn to become your own coach. To be your own coach means to be able to make clear decisions based on facts and logic so that you can keep moving forward. ‘You are with you’ all the time so you need to know what to do, when and how.
Blog post ‘Back pain myths’ — click here
Call us now to begin your treatment, training and coaching programme to overcome your back pain: 07518 445493