Everyone Has Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common reasons we see patients in our office, and I would like to share with you a few thoughts and pain relief tips.
Lower back pain is the number one cause of missed work and disability in the United States. Most cases of non-specific low back pain will resolve on their own in 3 months, however many people experience these symptoms again. Almost everyone, 85% of Americans, experience back pain in their lives. It is a normal part of the human experience and doesn’t always mean something is drastically wrong or that you’ve injured something.
Pain is the check engine light of your body and pain is proportional to the perceived threat. If you experience repetitive sharp shooting pain you should temporarily back off that activity.
The longer we experience pain, the more sensitized we are to it and the earlier our body feels pain to a stimulus or threat. In general, the best thing to do is to use and move your body.
Exercise for Pain Relief
There are some simple yet highly effective exercises you can do if you have low back pain. The number one best thing you can do if you have lower back pain is to continue with your normal daily routine, activities, work and exercises. I have posted a few videos on our LeBauerPT YouTube channel showing these exercises and others that you can follow that will help you move your back safely and engage your core.
If you do not already have an exercise program, start with a brisk walk. Walking briskly for 30 minutes 5 days a week will help your back feel better as well as greatly reduce your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular (heart) disease. You do not need to start with 30 minutes; you can begin with 10 minutes of brisk walking. Once you do this 5 days a week add an additional 10 minutes each day. You can walk for 20 minutes or 2 separate times for 10 minutes, as long as your total walking time reaches 30 minutes in one day, you will reap the benefits. Brisk exercise releases your body’s own medications and hormones (endorphins) that help reduce pain and make you feel better.
Don’t I need to see my physician?
If you see a physician for your lower back pain, you will likely be prescribed pain medications, have an MRI, X-Ray or other imaging ordered, or likely offered surgery as an option. You are more likely to have surgery for low back pain if you have an MRI, and the chance that you will have an MRI, depends on your zip code.
An MRI should only be ordered if the results will change your treatment options. If you have an MRI and the results show disc findings, degenerative changes and herniations, please know those are normal findings for adults. 65% of pain free adults have these findings on an MRI. Discs heal. The main things to be concerned about are fractures, spinal cord compressions and tumors.
Physical Therapy 1st
For many people the first best option is physical therapy, and that is where you should start. Medications may mask your symptoms, can be addictive and have nasty side effects such as gastric ulcers or bleeding. Surgery is no more effective than physical therapy, but it comes with some heavy risk, such as sensation loss, infection and even death. These two avenues are much more expensive, for you as a health care consumer and for our government.
Physical therapy is a proven, safe, and less expensive alternative to injections, medications and surgery to help you stay mobile and active if you experience back pain. You have a choice regarding whom you see for physical therapy and in North Carolina, you do not need a physician’s referral to see a physical therapist.
If you have back pain and want to stay fit healthy and mobile without pain medications, injections and surgery give download our Free book “The 7 Secrets to Heal Your Back and Stay Pain Free” or call our office today, 336-271-6677, to speak with our back pain expert.