Let’s face it, back pain is a normal experience for lots of people in every day life.
Back pain and neck pain are common complaints with 80% of adults expected to experience such symptoms within their lifetime.
Cause of back and neck pain
The causes of back and neck pain can vary. Sometimes injury results from direct trauma that may occur when lifting a heavy object, after a fall or from direct impact, such as a road traffic accident. Other times it may result without obvious cause or from a fairly innocuous movement.
The good news is that serious disease or injury is very rare with the spine which is inherently strong and difficult to damage. In fact 95% of spinal pain is diagnosed as ‘non-specific’. Therefore X-rays or imaging of the spine are not generally necessary as they will not highlight the source of pain or change how we treat you. In the majority of cases it is likely that a ligament sprain or muscle strain has occurred which cannot be detected with scanning.
Managing your back or neck pain
Back pain can either be described as acute with only a few weeks duration or persistent with repeated episodes.
In either case it would be appropriate to be assessed by a physiotherapist to help advise you on the best way to manage your symptoms.
The therapist may use a wide variety of techniques to help their patient but usually in the beginning it is important to educate the patient on the best way to move, pace their daily activity and improve their posture.
The following are some of the treatment methods that may be used:
‘The aim is to help relieve pain and restore normal movement’
Prolonged bed rest or avoiding activity tends to worsen symptoms. However appropriate guidance on how to become active again will help considerably. Learning how to manage your own back pain will be the quickest way to recovery! It is important to develop a positive outlook and way for coping with your symptoms. Remember that the level of pain does not equate to harm!
Painkillers and anti-inflammatories
Painkillers can be useful if they help you to move better and improve your activity levels. However, they will not cure your pain! As you start to move better the need for them will generally reduce. It may be best to consult with your Doctor on the appropriate medication for you. Although numerous painkillers can be purchased at most pharmacies or supermarkets.
As mentioned, imaging is rarely required for back pain and should never be carried out as a formality. Occasionally a scan will be performed under the guidance of a consultant but serious pathology is thankfully very rare! It is most likely you will be referred back to your therapist following imaging to continue with treatment.
If you have any questions and want to know how to help your back or neck pain – then you can contact us here at The Physio Clinic.
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