The Up’s and Down’s of Back Pain

How come your back can feel great one day and not so great the next!

If you are in your 40’s, 50’s or 60’s and have suffered with back pain, then you will probably have experienced the up’s and down’s of back pain. Some days your back can feel fine and the next day, you might feel like you have just come off the rugby pitch in a 6 Nations match….  sore and stiff. 

Why does this happen?

How can your back go from feeling great to bad, even though you may not have done anything different from the norm or exerted yourself physically.

The answer does not have to have anything to do with damage or injury to your back, as this does not have to happen for pain to occur.

What can cause back pain?

When people think of back pain, they will very often think of words such as disc, disc bulge, disc degeneration or a trapped nerve. 

Sure this can contribute to pain but is not the big factor that people think. 

Many studies have been done with MRI machines on people who suffer with and without back pain. 

Interestingly, the MRI scans showed lots of people who had NO back pain to have things such as disc degeneration and worn discs and yet reported having no pain. 

In the people who did have back pain, the MRI scan didn’t show up anything that definitive in the majority of cases.

In fact, 90% of these people who had back pain were referred to as having NON-Specific low back pain. Basically meaning, there is nothing obvious or medical that an MRI scan can see, that is definitely causing the persons back pain.

Less than 5% showed more serious problems that would require more invasive action such as surgery.

This means that there must be other factors going on that can influence someones back pain and these can result in the person feeling good one day and not so good the next.

Factors that can influence how your back feels

Here are some factors that can influence how your back feels. 

How you move will have a big effect on how your back feels. If you are holding a lot of tension in your back muscles, then it will have the effect of your movement feeling restricted and stiff. 

If this tension is compressing a disc that might have a bit of wear and tear, then that disc will start to feel more sensitive than it needs to be, which will more than likely result in pain.

When you don’t move well through your hips or your upper back then there will be more movement required of your lower back which can lead to stiffness and pain. . 

Also, if there is an imbalance or weakness in your legs then your back muscles may have to compensate when your bend and lift, which will probably result in them getting tired, stiff and a sore back for you.

How does this change from one day to the next

We have to remember that everyone’s back problem will be unique to them in how they feel it and what influences it. 

So even though you may have a back problem like your friend, the solution to help relieve it might be completely different. 

The stressors or challenges of YOUR everyday life will influence the tension in the tissues around your back .Stressors such as work, relationships, lifestyle, emotions, beliefs, thoughts, fears, sleep and past experiences will all have an influence on your body.

They can make your body more sensitive than it needs to be, meaning a mild movement that would normally be fine, can result in you feeling a lot of pain

Sometimes, even a bad nights sleep can be enough to leave you waking up with a stiff back the next morning. 

This is why at Midlands Physical Therapy understanding the persons story as to how their back problem came about and what sets it off is so important. 

Combine this with a movement assessment and we can get a very good idea of what the stressor or true cause of your back pain is and why it can feel good one day and not, the next day.

Keep calm and don’t be afraid to seek advice

It is important to not panic if all of a sudden your back gets tight and sore. Think if you did anything different that day or the days before. 

Maybe you had a very busy day at work, a lot of walking or a tough day with the kids that has caused your body to become more sensitive than usual. 

If you are not sure and would like some advice then ask a healthcare professional or give me a call at my clinic. I get calls all the time from people looking for advice and help and am happy to offer advice and help over the phone. 

Often, it may just need some hands on treatment to help calm the body down or some specific exercises to get some muscles working better. 

Very often help can be found by someone more qualified than your next door neighbour, who has back pain. ?

If you are struggling with back pain that is not going away and you would like some help with it, then you can apply for a discovery session, to find out what we can do to help. 

We only offer a few each month and you can apply by clicking the box below

Click to apply for a free discovery session

Or call the clinic on 09064 66761

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