Top Five Causes of Back Pain
Pivotal Motion’s Top Five Ways to Blow your Back
1. Weekend Warriors
A classic mode of injury, weekend warriors make up a significant portion of our back injuries and clinic visits. Whether it is slogging through the long, built-up to-do list or smashing out a weeks’ worth of exercise in two days, this much stress over this short a time is often a major catalyst for back injury.
How to Stop it?
Surprisingly the best way most people can successfully combat back pain is to exercise; but through manageable exercise loads broken up throughout the week. Look to develop core by introducing an exercise ball to fitness regimes or as a chair at work or home.
If you do need a long day in the gardens make sure you stretch before and during, allowing breaks throughout to relieve pressure on the spine. Ensure you have good posture throughout, avoiding a curved back, focus on bending through hips and knees so that you don’t end up like our good friend here…
2. Poor Lifting Technique
You’ve heard it, you’ve tried it, you’ve ignored it. As much as we harp on about this and #3, the odds are you will be bent over, guaranteeing injury by the time I get to this full-stop. You have our number, we’ll be here. This is easily one of the most common causes for injury that us health practitioners see. But unfortunately, it seems to be as natural as it is wrong.
By bending over and curving our lumbar or thoracic spine we place huge shear forces through those vertebrae and ligaments. This is regularly causes lasting and debilitating injuries which can be a hindrance far beyond the foreseeable future.
Oh what to do?
Shock-horror the fix is as simple and easy as it should be. To prevent injury from poor lifting technique us good lifting technique. If you are picking something up, keep your back straight. Bend from your hips or
knees if possible. If it is heavy squat down and get someone to help you lift it.
Like always, you can really decrease your chances of injury by regular exercise and a good focus on developing core and lower back strength. The biggest thing though is, and always will be, to pay attention whilst lifting to make sure your body is in a good, strong position to minimise injury.
3. Poor Posture
The most obvious, annoying and common cause of back pain, poor posture is rapidly becoming an epidemic. You live a sedentary life, you sit at work, sit in the car and sit as you eat dinner watching the Bachelorette
or some equally terrible nightly television. But everyone does it, so can it really be that bad?
Research has shown that it in fact is, especially for that lumbar twinge, or as we like to call it, a developing ruptured disc/world of pain. As a general rule in our society, when we sit or stand and do work, our attention is directed below eye-level, meaning that we lean forward and down, causing that curved back that makes us look like the wicked witch.
This position places uneven strain and so wear on our vertebrae, and as they are fluid filled structures this compression causes bulging at the open end – what we call ruptured discs.
Make it stop?
Though simple, this fix can be difficult. To correct posture you need to pay close attention, strengthen your core muscles and work on lower back stabilisation.
Using an exercise ball as a chair is a good start but make sure you focus on engaging your core muscles at all times. To minimize issues during work, lift your screens or paper up to eye level as this allows you to maintain a neutral spine and reduce pressure on your back and neck.
Though not our biggest cause of LBP, inattention can often trigger lower back episode and flare existing injuries. It is important to pay close attention to how we handle the smaller, more spontaneous activities of daily living.
It is easy to forget how quickly we can place our spine in a vulnerable position, with something as simple as picking up a pen can cause hugely adverse effects. By not paying attention to our movement we can easily cause a variety of pain and re-trigger an existing issue or cause an event.
As simple as it sounds the best way to prevent these episodes is to think before we do something. If you drop a pen, use correct form to pick it up, even if it seems unnecessary.
Consider what you could do and execute it well, an easy lift is no excuse for terrible form. Take into account how we handle issues 2 and 3 and work hard to prevent these, after all practice makes perfect.
The silent killer, belly-sleeping can cause a range of issues as it places added pressure on bones, joints and muscles. Though not a primary cause, this can often contribute and add to injuries.
The preferable solution is to sleep on your back or side. This is of course difficult for habitual belly-sleepers, so whilst we ask you to trial it, you can also place a pillow under your hips when sleeping, which will reduce the pressure on those areas of difficulty. We advise the use of a medium mattress rather than firm or soft, as research indicates that this can help to slow the progression of symptoms.
If you are experiencing back pain contact the team at Pivotal Motion Physiotherapy today. Our experienced team has provided the physiotherapy Brisbane communities have trusted for years! Contact our exercise physiologist on 07 3352 5116 or book online.