Back Pain – Not Again!

Did you know that low back pain is the number one cause of disability globally? Low back pain is the NUMBER ONE cause of disability globally and the prevalence of low back pain is reported to be as high as 84%. Low back pain is a complex condition with multiple contributors to both the pain and associated disability, including psychological factors, social factors, biophysical factors, co-morbidities, and pain-processing mechanisms. For the vast majority of people with low back pain, it is currently not possible to accurately identify the specific source of pain.

Factors contributing to low back pain

Lifestyle factors, such as the list as follows, are associated with occurrence of low back pain. However, about half of patients recover completely in 2 weeks and most people recover within 4-6 weeks.

What can I do to help with my back pain?

There are certainly strategies you could do to help you prevent and/or reduce your back pain. These may include:
  1. Break up prolonged positions such as sitting or standing. Ensure you try to change positions every 30 minutes - 1 hour. Safe Work Australia recommends using the "‘reduce and interrupt" method to help you with this. Click here to find out more.
  2. Ensure good posture. Try not to slouch and make sure that when you are sitting at the desk using your computer, the screen should be at eye level, one arm's length away.
  3. Keep moving. As mentioned above, poorer general health and low levels of physical activity can impact on back pain. Try to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines to improve your function.
  4. Consult a physiotherapist. Many people may not be aware of how their spine is moving when they go about their day to day activities. Sometimes you may be in excessive flexion/extension of the lumbar spine, which could likely be the cause of your back pain (movement control dysfunction).
There are many other ways physiotherapists can help with low back pain. These may include providing advice and education to help you understand your condition better; prescribing tailored exercises specific to tasks you struggle with; and using manual therapy and/or taping techniques to help you reduce your back pain.  

References

Department of Health | Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/health-pubhlth-strateg-phys-act-guidelines#apaadult Jan Hartvigsen*, Mark J Hancock*, Alice Kongsted, Quinette Louw, Manuela L Ferreira, Stéphane Genevay, Damian Hoy, Jaro Karppinen, Glenn Pransky, Joachim Sieper, Rob J Smeets, Martin Underwood, on behalf of the Lancet Low Back Pain Series Working Group†. (2018). What low back pain is and why we need to pay attention. Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark. Sitting and standing. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sedentary The One Thing You Should Do To End Your Back Pain. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/10/12/the-one-thing-you-should-do-to-end-your-back-pain_a_23240910/?utm_hp_ref=au-health-news&fbclid=IwAR223xfhTwq4HNajNAMdxr1f-vblfv2loROj1xEl03oN-uF5EI8zdGeWiV8
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