22 March 2019
Is back pain taking control of your life?
Many people experience aches and pains in the back and neck on a daily basis. Going to bed with pain and waking up stiff and achy the next morning becomes common place when day to day activity dictates prolonged static postures, such as desk based work, driving jobs and hairdressing or prolonged repetitive activity such as shelf stacking, massage therapy, plastering and decorating.
Whether a person is suffering from frequent acute episodes of back pain or a long history of persistent back pain, knowing which pathway to take for recovery is not always clear cut. Many people will consult their GP as the first port of call. Often the preferred treatment plan is to firstly avoid the aggravating activity, use over-the-counter or prescription pain relief/ anti-inflammatories; and then if symptoms persist after 6 to 8 weeks, a referral to a physiotherapist for prescription exercises may be available.
If a person decides to go privately the decision of whether to see an osteopath, physiotherapist or chiropractor can be confusing. In private practice there are more similarities than differences between the three disciplines. The aims of the treatment plan will be the same; to reduce pain, increase mobility by reducing the stiffness and to prevent/ reduce the occurrence and severity of further episodes. A common misconception is that each discipline deals with a different apsect of the musculoskeletal system, but this is not the case. Osteopaths, physiotherapists and chiropractors are trained to diagnose and treat spinal, muscular and joint complaints, unless they have chosen to specialize in a different area or field.
The treatment types given may consist of soft tissue work and manipulation or mobilization of the joints. Some practitioners may use acupuncture needles, ultrasound and taping techniques as an aid to recovery. It is also essential that advice and guidance be given on how to manage the pain at work, home and during activity. It is common place to be given exercises to do at home to help speed up recovery. However the treatment type should be decided on an individual patient basis.
Anxiety and stress can play a big part in slowing down the recovery process and in some cases increase the amount of pain a patient can feel. Many people get anxious about their back problem, especially when they don’t get better as fast as they expect. This anxiety can also be fueled by uncertainty and conflicting advice from family, friends, and doctors. The way we help our patients manage their anxiety is by remembering that serious damage is rare and the long term outlook is good. By putting fear and worry aside, the focus is then put on the road to recovery.
However all that being said, making the decision to book an appointment can still be a worry for some, the fear of making the condition worse prevents many people from moving forwards. Myself and my team are always on the other end of a phone or an email if you would like to discuss your condition with us first. So please feel free to contact us.