If you’ve been diagnosed with lower back pain, or you suffer from a painful back you know how debilitating it can be. The piercing pain strikes at the most inconvenient times
- When you need to care for a child
- When the garden is calling out for attention
- When the household chores can’t wait any longer
- Even when you ar trying to relax on the lounge
While well-meaning advice like bending your knees when lifting, exercise regularly and even lose weight might be well intentioned but this type of advice isnt helpful at the moment when you are grimacing in pain.
Let’s explore some of the possible causes for your uncomfortable back, and maybe even provide some suggestions to get you on the path to reducing your pain.
Lower Back Pain in Australia
Back pain is a common problem, with one in 6 Australians reporting back problems in 2017-18. That’s close to 4 million people across the country. Fortunately, there are a variety of self-help things people can do, and there is a range of treatments available to Australians.
There are many things that you can do to live well, manage and even resolve your uncomfortable back.
Why do you Have Sore Lower Back?
Main-stream medical advice and even basic logic suggests you should start fixing your crook back by trying to understand why you have the problem.
Our modern sedentary lifestyle can be attributed to many back issues. Too many of us are stuck at our desks for hours on end every single day. Sadly, sitting all this time is really bad for our health and can lead to back pain from herniated discs and pinched nerves.
Sitting can also strain muscles and also cause stiffness in the lower half of the body. Taking regular breaks by standing or stretching is crucial when trying to avoid an uncomfortable back. The Waiter Exercise is highly recommended for helping to overcome the issues caused by too much sitting.
Regular exercise such as yoga, swimming, or simply just walking will aid greatly in reducing and even preventing spinal issues. Of course, if you’re concerned about starting an exercise program, feel free to discuss this with your health practitioner.
Many employers are happy for their desk-bound staff to do the waiter exercise regularly throughout the day because their employees will be less likely to take time off because of back pain.
Image: Musculoskeletal Australia
WIn each case, employee training on the correct way to lift can reduce the likelihood of suffering injuries, especially back injuries.
Occupation-Related Activities and Back Pain
If your occupation has you lifting, bending or otherwise moving repetitively, then you might be at increased risk of suffering back strain. Also, if your occupation involves long periods where you’re sitting or standing in one place, then you’re also susceptible.
Construction workers make up a large percentage of those who file for worker’s compensation every year. With heavy weightlifting, carrying, bending, and other activities that require repetitive motions, the construction worker is at risk of suffering physical strain together with chronic pain.
Nursing is another occupation that breeds debilitating back pain. Nurses are renowned for their hardworking nature—often taking shifts of more than twelve hours and working through the night.
In addition to handling long work hours (and a lot of heavy lifting), nurses must also move patients around, often during patient transfers or when it comes time to turn or reposition them.
All of these load, stress and pressure activities performed by nursing and other medical support staff can lead to severe lower back pain, induced by many different types of musculoskeletal conditions such as tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis, sciatica and intervertebral disc problems.
In the UK, 70% of all nurses will have at least one episode of back pain per year – and if you compare that to the general population having a 51% to 90% chance of one episode in their entire life, you can see that being a nurse is actually a contributing factor to spinal pain.
Landscapers and Warehouse Workers
These occupations involve moving and lifting heavy weights. While we now have the machinery to assist the workers in these and similar industries, its use can be inconvenient or, in some places of employment, not available. While employee training and a culture of injury prevention will assist many, there are invariably back-related injuries caused by poor weight handling knowledge and skills.
Another noteworthy occupation that requires long hours in a seated position is professional driving. Drivers who don’t take time to get out of their car or truck’s cab on a regular basis can end up with serious and lasting chronic back pain throughout their career. This occupation includes:
- Long-haul truckers.
- Delivery drivers.
- Personal chauffeurs.
- Taxi or rideshare drivers.
- Waste services
- Maintenance and utility workers.
In each case, employee training on the correct way to lift can reduce the likelihood of an injury and in particular back injuries.
Smokers are more likely to have chronic back pain compared to non-smokers. Smoking also increases your risk for osteoporosis, slower healing, and degenerative diseases. All of these conditions can lead to more pain.
Fortunately, programs to encourage smokers to give up the habit are slowly reducing the number of smokers in Australia and so the number of people at risk to its damaging impacts.
Older people Are More At Risk of Back Injury
As we age, we are more prone to suffer osteoarthritis and disc deterioration which can in turn lead to back pain.
When Should You See A Musculoskeletal Practitioner For Your Back Pain?
Australians are battlers, and soldier on. A couple of painkillers and off we go, but at some point we need to decide if there’s something more you should be doing about it. Consider these:
Severe Back Pain
If your back pain is disrupting your life or work then it is time to see your medical professional without delay. Continuing to ignore the pain or taking pain medication just to cope may be creating other problems in your body.
Persistent Back Pain
If your pain continues and lasts longer than 3 months, it’s normally considered to be ‘chronic pain’ and warrants attention by a medical professional
You Can’t Handle Everyday Activities.
If your back pain is such that everyday tasks are a chore, it really is time to get something done about it. Don’t put it off! Seek advice and treatment from a Musculoskeletal Practitioner. You will be so glad that you did!
BACK PAIN ?
Call Michael to discuss how we might be able to help you.
The Waiter Exercise – Do this for life!
The Waiter Exercise
Three times per day: Morning , Midday And Night:
1. Before starting, make sure your back is as straight as possible – Not arched!
2. Left foot forward about 35cm, foot flat on the ground and bend the knee so that you cannot see your left foot when you look down.
3. As your back starts to move, keep it in a straight line, angled forward.
4. Keep your right knee straight and keep your right heel on the ground.
5. Push your right arm straight up as high as you can go with 20% effort, with your right hand parallel to the ceiling and your wrist forward.
6. Hold for a slow count of 10.
7. Bring down the raised arm.
8. Repeat the procedure for the opposite leg and arm.
9. Do a total of 15 routines for both the left and the right sides.
In addition, if you are sitting for an extended period of time, after 20-30 minutes stand up and do 3-4 repetitions each side.
Photo Taken Before Treatment
by Michael Butler
Photo Taken 1 Hour Later After Postural Re-Alignment Treatment
by Michael Butler