Back pain is the most common kind of pain that people will experience at some point in their lives. Even though I am still young and quite active, I was surprised to find out that I was not immune to this type of pain.
Thankfully, I was referred by a friend to a physiotherapist. While most people resorted to just taking painkillers, now professionals in a new physio in Footscray have offered me a way to deal with this safely and efficiently. Because they are experts in the musculoskeletal system, they possess the skills and the clinical training to help me deal with back pain so that it will never come back again. This was what made me decide to go for it because living with chronic back pain did not just limit me, it drained me of all my energy and made me feel depressed.
Causes of Back Pain
During my first meeting with the physiotherapist, he gave me a good overview about back pain. There can be many reasons why the back is aching. Identifying the cause is very helpful in designing a treatment option. So during this visit, he asked me a lot about my lifestyle, as well as how I sit, sleep and stand, to try to pinpoint the reason.
The first possible cause is muscle strain, which happens when we lift things that are too heavy or when we have the wrong lifting posture. In fact, beyond simple back pain, this may even lead to injury. It is better to bend from the waist and not at the knees when picking up thing to avoid this problem.
The second cause is a ligament sprain. These fibrous bands are normally very strong, but they can be torn when they are stretched too far in a very short amount of time. It will then swell and hurt. This type of back pain is usual after a car accident or a similar sudden trauma.
The third can be bulging discs. When a part of this disc presses against any nerve in the spinal cord, it will pinch it and hinder its function. It will manifest in pain or numbness, or maybe even tingling or spasms.
The last possible cause is poor posture. Unfortunately for me, even my active lifestyle was not able to compensate for my bad sitting position at work. Because I spend up to 8 hours at work, this has really put a lot of stress on my spine, leading to muscle fatigue, overstretched ligaments, stretched discs and stressed spinal joints.
Of course, there are also many other causes of back pain, specifically medical conditions like osteoporosis. These can be diagnosed and physiotherapy treatment can also be a way to deal with the pain.
Treating Back Pain
The great thing about physiotherapy is that it is quite effective for most types of back pain, finally providing relief to those who have been suffering for a long time. To start the treatment, accurate assessment should be done as early as possible in order to avoid further damage. As in my case, identifying the cause was key in preparing my specialized treatment. This is the huge advantage of going to a physiotherapist. Though they have a standard list of therapies for back pain, each patient will still receive an individual assessment and approach to treatment.
The first goal of treatment is to deal with the pain, as well as treating any swelling or inflammation in the back. Several ways of doing this include cold or heat therapy, massage, dry needling, and electrical stimulation. Painkillers may still be prescribed, but this is only done in the beginning to ease any current suffering. The goal of the therapy is to provide long-term solutions without relying on medication.
After the pain is eased, the next goal is to restore the proper and normal strength and range of motion. Most likely, due to the back pain and its underlying cause, movement might have been restricted. Getting us back to our feet and at the same time, strengthening the core muscles will even help us move and bend better. This may be achieved through a Pilates program.
Once we feel better and move normally again, the next step is to change the practices that have led to back pain. In my case for example, I was advised how to sit in my office chair, even helping me choose the right type of chair and other items that can support me well so that I will no longer have bad posture. Plus, I trained myself to get up more often and stretch. This was key to make sure I would reduce the risk of back pain again.
My physiotherapy sessions have given me knowledge about back pain and even some useful exercises I can continue at home to keep myself strong and flexible. Because of this, I can truly say that my quality of life has been improved after I said goodbye to back pain, thanks to my physiotherapy clinic.