Back pain has been part of my life for the last 20 years. When I was 15 I fell from a horse whilst jumping and hurt my back (I had taken my body protector off because I was too hot). Since that day I had suffered with back and neck pain.I attribute the accident to the cause as I don’t recall having a problem before that day. Over the years I have had physio, seen chiropractors, osteopaths etc but mostly I just live with it.There are things that aggravate it:
- sitting down – which is why I try not to
- giving birth
- carrying children
Things that help it:
- hot baths
I’ve not fallen out with horses though!
Some days it is worse than others but it ALWAYS feels better after exercise. The worst thing for me is being sat still.
It is estimated that 80% of UK adults will experience back pain within their lifetime and the affliction has widespread social repercussions, including social isolation, withdrawal and damaged relationships.
Lower back pain is the number one cause of disability worldwide and costs the UK economy over £6 billion, yet alarmingly in the UK 90% of sufferers stop GP consultations after just 3 months despite three in four still suffering pain and disability one year later. These findings suggest millions of long term back pain sufferers feel limited help is available, and are struggling on in silence.
Most people’s long term lower back pain is described as ‘non specific’, this occurs when the pain doesn’t arise from any particular medical condition, for example a known disease, fracture, malignancy or slipped disc etc, but from the structures of the back. It is usually triggered by how we use and look after our backs, and many common lifestyle practices can exacerbate the problem.
Sound familiar to anyone?
Chiropractor Dr Steven Geanopulos gives advice on how to help alleviate this form of long term back pain, here are some tips:
Lack of regular movement can contribute to issues with the spine and degeneration of spinal joints, so physical activity in the form of regular exercise is essential to care for the back. Controlled movement of the spine can also help those suffering from long term non specific lower back pain; a new study suggests that a device called Kyrobak (www.kyrobak.co.uk) -which delivers a unique combination of Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) and Oscillation Therapy (OT) – significantly reduced pain scores in long term non specific lower back pain sufferers after just 10 minutes of use per day for 3 weeks.
Prolonged stress can lead to exacerbations of pain due to the release of the hormone cortisol and increases in muscle tension. Mental stresses are often best dealt with by addressing state of mind, and meditation – or simply periods of quiet reflection- can help with this. Engaging in activities such as yoga and Pilates which have been shown to help with stress and anxiety are also positive steps to take.
Watch your weight
Ongoing poor nutritional choices and carrying excess weight can damage health long term, and contribute to exacerbations of inflammation and lower back pain. Maintaining a healthy weight is therefore key. Opting for a nutritious, well balanced diet and eating small, healthy meals and snacks on a regular basis can mean you are less likely to let extreme hunger dictate what you eat, helping to avoid the high calorie, high sugar options which lead to weight gain.
How do you beat back pain?