The back is an important part of our functional movement in almost every aspect of our day and when it isn’t moving as it should this can stop us in our tracks. Back pain is very common and affects most of us at some stage in our lives. Majority of back pain is not serious and will pass within a few weeks by itself. If you are getting back pain more regularly there may be an underlying weakness or stiffness that needs addressing with stretching and exercise. This is where physiotherapy comes in, when you reach a point where you are no longer managing the symptoms and need an extra helping hand.
Physiotherapy can look at your history of back pain, your physical ranges of movement and your pattern of symptoms to determine what is the root cause of the problem and how best to treat. Through manual therapy, acupuncture and home exercises will enable you to regain normal movement patterns and control over your symptoms. The aim of physiotherapy is to get you as a patient back to normal function and give you the tools needed to stay active and be able to self-manage your back pain.
What can I do to help myself?
The main things to bear in mind if its stiff move it and if its tight stretch it. Usually with office jobs and sedentary lifestyles we spend a lot of time sitting which isn’t the best position to be in for long periods of time and can affect our health and our postural muscles. Regular breaks and mobility of the spine help to prevent stiffness and if your unable to leave your desk try pelvic tilts in sitting and pushing back your chair bringing your chest down towards the floor and stretching out. Thoracic rotations and deep breathing exercises are also important to get that rotational aspect to offset stiffness. Safe use of heat ie. Wheat bag or hot water bottle are good to help ease muscle tightness and also lying on your back hugging your knees and rocking from side to side gently all help with mobility. Pace yourself and don’t do anything that causes increased pain but keep moving, walking helps to ease symptoms.
There is a proven link between back pain and mental health so if you find your suffering with mental health issues this can impact on your back pain. Seek help from your GP if this happens or try to incorporate relaxation and mindfulness into your every day to improve your mental health.
Although it is very rare that there are serious complications to back pain, here are some symptoms to be aware of, you should contact a doctor if you experience any of them:
- Difficulty passing urine or having the sensation to pass water that is not there
- Numbness / tingling in your genitals or buttocks area
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Impaired sexual function, such as loss of sensation during intercourse
- Loss of power in your legs
- If you are experiencing pain that runs down the back of both legs
- Feeling unwell with your back pain, such as a fever or significant sweating that wakes you from sleep