Things to Remember

Most people with back pain do not have any structural damage to the spine. Their problem is usually due to the lack of movement to specific joints caused by muscle tension.

Very few people have back pain due to a prolapsed “slipped” disc. For those that do, if diagnosed correctly and treated in good time, recovery can be speedy and effective.

Many of the X-ray and MRI findings in the back are the normal degenerative changes, which occur with age. However, it is important to relate such changes to a clinical assessment of your problem.

In many people it is not possible to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem. The good news is that most pain can be attributed to the mechanical way in which your back works or more precisely doesn’t work! If this is the case the important thing is to get your back working properly.

Although stress is rarely the cause of the problem, it can increase the amount of pain or maintain the problem that you already have. Tension from stress can cause muscle spasm and the muscles themselves become painful. It can be important and productive to address this element of your life.
People who are physically fit generally get less pain and recover faster if they do get back pain. So it is important that once you have had back pain, you try and get back into better physical condition. With sensible, controlled exercises, which suit you and as far as possible can be enjoyable.

The old fashioned treatment for back pain was prolonged rest. Research has now proven that bed rest for more than a day or two is not good for your back because:

  • Your bones get weaker.
  • Your muscles get weaker.
  • You get stiff.
  • You lose physical fitness.
  • You get depressed.
  • The pain feels worse.
  • It is harder and harder to get going again.

It is not surprising that this approach to managing back pain did not work.

Current advice is that regular exercise is useful and gives you

  • Stronger bones.
  • Fit and active muscles.
  • Helps maintain flexibility.
  • Increases your fitness.
  • Gives you a better feeling of wellbeing.
  • Releases natural chemicals called endorphins, which reduce pain.