Back Pain

Lower back pain effects around 80% of the world’s population and around 400,000 people in Ireland suffer with some form of lower back pain at some point in their lives.  A recent survey by Chronic Pain Ireland found that as many as 250,000 people in Ireland suffering from nerve-related back pain do not seek medical assistance for their condition because they do not believe it is “serious enough” to warrant treatment. This is in spite of the fact that chronic pain of this kind can impact greatly on people’s quality of life, as well as their personal and professional relationships. Not to mention the fact that people suffering from chronic back pain take an average of 11 days off work and their productivity is affected for an average of 26 days. According to The Journal of Pain, the annual cost to the exchequer is approximately €5.34 billion.

Unfortunately, one of the main issues facing sufferers is that back pain is frequently either over-diagnosed, under-diagnosed or mis-diagnosed. Some patients get a misdiagnosis that induces excess levels of fear and anxiety, this fear alone can worsen symptoms. Others who do actually have an issue that needs addressing may try to sweep it under the carpet and avoid seeking help from a medical professional. Remaining active is positive, the problem lies in the fact that the types of activities people often do are not targeting the areas that need attention in the right way. We find that people are initially reluctant to get treatment because they fear it will interrupt their training schedule or disrupt their lifestyles. However, it’s important to stress that the majority of lower back pain can be treated very effectively and early intervention plays a key role in the recovery process. The old regime of total bed rest is definitely not the answer. Research has unquestionably shown this. In the majority of cases total rest can often lead to more pain. If muscles are not used and joints are not moved they become deconditioned and stiff leading to further problems.

Without going into too much detail, the back is a very complex structure. The average human spine undergoes a lot of stress, absorption of pressure and twisting and turning, which can lead to lower back pain. In some cases, lower back pain can be down to repetitive injuries occurred over time, resulting in micro-traumas. Other times it is due to a sudden movement or easily recognisable scene often involving lifting or twisting awkwardly. Our Chartered Physiotherapists will trace your steps back to the mechanism of injury to guide best treatment.  Often with back pain and injuries to the lower back it boils down to one thing. Your back was not conditioned enough to tolerate what you have been asking it to do. Your muscles and joints were not strong enough or moving efficiently enough to cope with what you were asking of them. The medicine for this? Appropriate exercise guided by a health professional who can identify what you need to do.

At JT Physiotherapy, we successfully treat lower back pain by helping clients strengthen their posterior chain, (namely the back, gluteal and hamstring muscles). We develop a tailored programme of resistance training that focuses on the whole body and typically includes squats, deadlifts and a large number of other free weight exercises. We sometimes use reformer pilates as an introduction to these exercises depending on what is appropriate for you. We spend a lot of time making sure your technique is correct and once you’re ready, we look at slowly but steadily progressing your exercises in a safe and effective manner. Equally, strengthening the abdominal muscles, para spinal muscles (running along the spine) and pelvic floor muscles can help relieve any stress and pressure on the lower back. We combine this approach with a range of proven and effective physiotherapy treatments including massage, acupuncture, Pilates and yoga – all non-invasive treatments that allow you to continue with your life.

Living with chronic pain is not something anyone should put up with, so what I would say to anyone suffering from lower back pain is to go for a consultation to get the advice and treatment you need.

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