Every annum, one in three of us will suffer from low back pain. Typically, low back pain lasts a few days or weeks, or continues for many months or even years. Back pain can affect your mood, your daily activities, your sleep patterns, and your ability to work.
Unremitting low back pain is pain that persists for more than three months. Often, the cause is difficult to determine. Acute low back pain lasts from a few days to a few weeks, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Commonly, most acute back pain is caused by a back injury or a degenerative condition such as arthritis.
Although back pain tends to be a general complaint, middle-aged people are more likely than younger and older individuals to have back pain that’s related to lifestyle. By the time one reaches middle age, bone strength, muscle elasticity and muscle tone have started to decline, the NINDS says. The discs in the spine become dry, brittle and less supple, making them less able to pad the vertebral column. The degeneration also can make the spinal canal — the duct that carries the spinal cord — narrower.
Low back pain can occur as a result of the following:
- Weight: Extra weight around the mid-section pulls the pelvis forward creating stress on the lower back. People carrying extra pounds also may experience sciatica and low back pain from a herniated disc or a pinched nerve caused by compensating for the weight.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of exercise can cause or worsen back pain because of increased stiffness and weakened muscles.
- Sitting posture: Sitting in office chairs for hours at a time can cause low back pain or worsen existing pain. Sitting forward or slouching down in a chair can overstretch the spinal ligaments and strain the discs and surrounding structures in the spine. Over time, incorrect sitting posture and poor workplace ergonomics can contribute to or cause recurrent episodes of back pain.
- Stress: Most people who are under stress and don’t manage it effectively tend to sleep poorly, have a poor diet and get little exercise. Add stress-related muscle tightness to the mix and back problems can result.
- Lifting techniques: Whether you lift every day or occasionally, knowing how to do it properly — especially if you’re out of shape or overweight — can reduce your chance of hurting your back.
- Smoking: Smokers are almost three times more likely to develop low back pain than nonsmokers. The nicotine in cigarette smoke thickens the walls of the blood vessels. This restricts blood flow through the large and small blood vessels of the lower back and increases the amount of time for healing and recovery if you have a back injury.
Whether your back pain is persistent or sharp, it’s possible to find some respite. All back pain can’t be eliminated, but by being proactive you can make painful experiences less frequent and less painful. After an episode of low back pain has lasted between two and six weeks, or if there are frequent recurrences of low back pain, physical therapy is often recommended. Some spine specialists consider physical therapy sooner, particularly if the pain is severe.
In general, the goals of physical therapy are to reduce pain, boost function, and provide instruction on a maintenance program to prevent further relapses. In most instances of lower back pain, the problem may settle within a few weeks. However, many people are still affected in some way by their pain 12 months down the line. Also, flare-ups are very common. So, whilst you may get better doing nothing about your back pain, to ensure the quickest and best outcome you should seek assistance.
Physiotherapy can help you overcome an episode of low back pain, restore pain free movement and help you maintain this improvement over the longer term. At TriBeCa Care, our physiotherapists use a range of modalities to achieve these goals. These can encompass things such as hands-on type treatments, exercise therapy, dry needling or electrical modalities to name a few. Our experienced and certified physiotherapists provide rehabilitation services at the comfort of your home with skilful expertise and an in-depth understanding of the subject and your specific healing mandates. TriBeCa’s team of physiotherapists have a great deal of specific clinical experience in the treatment of back pain and back injuries. They assess your condition and find the most appropriate treatment for your pain and will aim to educate you about your back so you can best understand the benefits of the treatment and how to manage it long term if needed.
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