Confused About Back Pain? Here’s what you can do.
Back pain is very prevalent in society. You’ll hear statistics like 80% of the population will have back pain at some point in their life and 40% of that 80% (30% of the population, give or take) will have chronic back pain meaning the back pain remains as a part of their life. However, the numbers don’t mean much until your own back hurts. Then, you really start to pay attention!
When your back hurts, it’s usually instinctive to be more careful, to take a break, to make it feel better, and failing all that to go see someone for care. But know what to do and when to do it can be part of the problem.
The first thought may be to ignore it or work through it, thinking that it will go away on its own. And it often does. The pain may improve, the soreness may dissipate, but the problem could stay in some form of dysfunction or poor adaptation waiting and lurking to wreak pain and havoc at some point in the future.
The next option is some form of self care. You should always take care of your own back, yes. However, once a problem comes, knowing how to take care of your own back may not seem quite as easy as it sounds. Does it need stretching, strengthening, stabilizing, unlocking, anti-inflammatory efforts, stimulating currents, poking, rolling, heating, cooling…you get the idea. As a healthcare provider, I find it challenging that people even suggest self care options for a back pain or ache without consultation or examination.
Giving advice for what is an asymptomatic or seemingly “ok” back is one thing, and probably a good thing when trying to avoid back problems and pain. When the back is already problematic, sore, or displaying signs that it’s changed from how it was in the past, to me is an indicator that it’s time to get some guidance or help.
Who should you see? The situation should be such that you could walk into any regulated health professionals clinic or office and get a good consultation and examination. Furthermore, each regulated health professional can probably also help in most cases of back pain. That may not sound helpful, but it’s reassuring that you have options and that none of the options are detrimental.
I fully believe and support that seeing multiple providers and/or a provider that can cover multiple areas that address the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, etc.), the joints, the connective tissues (ligaments, sheaths, etc.), and the functional aspects (nervous system, coordination, firing patterns, etc.) is ideal. In this way, each component of the back pain or problem (and there is always more than one component involved…if not all involved…in each case) can be assessed, addressed and restored to ideal as much as possible.
Sounds like a daunting task? Maybe even a bit of overkill? Understand that the statistics with back pain are so high because there is a lack of maintenance in society when it comes to back pain. In fact, there’s a lack of health maintenance or prevention of health problems period. So by the time you get or have a problem, it’s probably already been there for too long. That means a disproportionate amount of care for something you may feel or think is so simple…”It’s just back pain!”
Stay tuned for the next article that ties together some of your care options and what each one typically, but not exclusively, tends to offer.