What Is Back Pain?
Sarah Whiteley | May 17, 2023
Back pain can mean many things…But the most common reasons as to why someone may have back pain are a pulled muscle, sciatica or arthritis. There are lots of muscles in your back, whether that be upper or lower back, that can be overworked for lots of different reasons. It’s very important we work out why those muscles have been strained to reduce the risk of it happening again.
Sciatica is a pain that runs along the line of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back, into the hips and down into both legs. Sciatic pain normally occurs when a herniated disc puts pressure on the sciatica nerve.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the back and this usually happens due to normal wear and tea
What Causes Back Pain?
1. Working from home
Due to the pandemic things have changed within our work life and a lot more people are working from home. A lot of people are sitting uncomfy at a desk with back pain that seems to have been going on forever. Everybody always talks about the ‘perfect’ posture. There is actually no such thing as a perfect posture, for example if you are suffering from lower back pain when sitting up straight, then don’t. Relax & slouch. It’s always been drilled into us from a young age to sit up and stop slouching when in fact this could actually be making your back pain worse.
When sitting up straight, if you imagine clenching both your hands as tightly as possible, this is what’s happening with the muscles in your lower back. They are working too hard and we need to help allow those muscles to relax whilst letting other muscles in the body work a bit more. Constantly sitting at a desk can put a lot of pressure on your lower back muscles especially if you aren’t standing up to walking around every hour to alleviate that pressure.
2. Constant heaving lifting/bending
There can be many reasons as to why someone has to constantly lift/bend down during their day. It might be that they have children and are always having to pick them up or it could be they have a physically demanding job. If you are one of these people, as a therapist we can’t tell you to stop lifting or bending down because it’s something you have to do on a day to day basis. Therefore it’s really important that we find out why lifting or bending is an aggravating factor for your back pain.
For example, at the front of your body you have your abdominal muscles and then at the back, your lower back muscles. Both have to work equally, therefore abdominals have to work at 50% and lower back muscles have to work at 50%, if the back muscles are working at 80% which is usually the case for people with lower back pain that means the abdominals only have to work at 20%. As you can see the lower back muscles are working way too hard and need to relax, and we need to teach the abdominals a little harder to take the strain off the lower back. Now this is only one example and it will not be an explanation for everybody, it might be other muscles in the body not working efficiently enough, meaning the lower back has to work harder than normal.
3. Previous injuries
Previous injuries can play a massive part as to why someone may have back pain. The injuries you have sustained previously can put a big impact onto other muscles and joints in the body. This is because when you are in pain the body will naturally want to find a way to try and get out of that pain, this means other parts of the body may then have to work a little harder to help compensate. This therefore means that those muscles/joints that have taken the compensation have more load going through them than normal, which can then lead to them also becoming injured.
For example, Josh ruptured his left achilles a couple of years ago and spent a long time in a boot. He only did a small amount of rehab at the beginning, he does have a couple of niggles from the achilles every now and again but he can do day to day activities without any issues. Josh came to visit the clinic about a left knee injury that has been ongoing for a couple of months, he doesn’t know how it started, it’s just got worse over time. The assessment showed that Josh has limited range of movement is his left ankle compared to the right and is struggling to use the muscles around the left ankle. This means that since the achilles rupture, the muscles around the left knee have been having to work a lot harder because the muscles around the ankle haven’t been working as efficiently as they should, and overtime causing the left knee to be painful. Josh is now having treatment to restore strength within the muscles around the ankle but also making sure that all the muscles in the lower leg are all working together and equally.
This is why it’s so important that when you have an injury you seek the correct advice and treatment. If your injury is treated correctly straight away then it reduces the risk of it having an impact on the rest of the body.
If you feel that you fit into any of the above then now is the time to get your pain free life back!
We are currently offering free assessments to those people who are in pain and want to do something about it.
To book your FREE assessment today give us a call on 01484 443173
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