Is your back pain serious?

There are many different reasons people get back pain and many consequences for those experiencing it. In this blog I am going to look at if it is serious or not. 

First of all, what do we mean by serious?  Very rarely back pain can be caused by a sinister pathology. Things such as cancer, infection, and fracture can all affect the bones in the back and if this is the cause of someone’s back pain it needs immediate medical attention.  As I said earlier the vast majority of the time this is not likely to be the case… but sometimes it can be, so what are the signs and symptoms to watch out for to see if further investigation is needed. 

What could indicate a more serious cause of your back pain?

There is also a worksheet to fill out and help with this too which can be downloaded here

If it is not caused by a sinister pathology, which is more than 99% of the time, does that mean it is not serious? 

Just because back pain is not due to a sinister pathology does not mean it can’t have a serious effect. It can affect mood, social activities, work and have a big impact on quality of life. 

In fact when you look at the statistics they show just how much of a serious issue back pain is for society. Back pain has been the leading cause of disability in the UK (and the rest of the world) since 1990 and levels of disability are increasing! The reasons for this are complex and multifactorial but part of it is that some of our medical interventions have made things worse. Inappropriate use of opioid medication, over utilisation of imaging such as x-ray and MRI scans and too much surgery when not required.

Things are starting to change. We are getting a much better appreciation of the science and biology behind why we experience pain and the biology of back pain. This is leading to a greater understanding of things that help and also importantly things that don’t! 

Back pain is common and can affect anyone. The vast majority of the time it is not due to a serious pathology but that does not mean it shouldn’t be dismissed as there can be serious consequences of back pain in lost quality of life and as a cause of disability. Understanding pain is key so you can make the right choices. When it comes to back pain a multifactorial approach that also focuses on wider aspects of lifestyle and wellbeing is paramount to addressing it and stopping it having such a negative influence on your life. 

When is back pain more than just back ache?

This blog post is inspired by a few talks that were given at the Royal College of Chiropractors annual conference which I attended a couple of weeks ago. It is about a certain type of inflammatory arthritis (Axial Spondyloarthritis) that can cause back pain and stiffness in the spine. The talks focused on how Chiropractors can help identify these patients and enable them to get diagnosed earlier. They outlined the role Chiropractors can have in the management of patients with this type of inflammatory arthritis so they can be helped with Chiropractic care in our clinics.

Professor Karl Gaffney, Consultant Rheumatologist giving a talk
Professor Karl Gaffney, Consultant Rheumatologist

Continue reading “When is back pain more than just back ache?”

Walking to help ease and prevent back pain

Walking is probably the cheapest and most accessible form of exercise there is. Hippocrates called it “mans best medicine”. Find out below how you can use walking to prevent back pain.

Walking to prevent back pain

In 2018 The British Journal of Sports Medicine published a special edition that looked specifically at the health benefits of walking to mark the 21st Anniversary of a really important paper called walk to health by Morris and Hardman. What this paper did 21 years ago was shifted the focus of health benefit away from just vigorous activity in the form of structured exercise regimes, but instead highlighted the fact that benefits can also be achieved through moderate activity such as walking. The 2018 special edition was a review and update on this research and it essentially highlighted further that walking is brilliant for health, is cheap and accessible. In the conclusion they say it represents a “best buy for public health”

Video on the health benefits of walking

There is research that exercise helps with back pain. But what about walking? Can walking help prevent or reduce back pain, and if so how much and how often? Continue reading “Walking to help ease and prevent back pain”

What works best for low back pain?

If you have back pain it can be frustrating and is not a nice experience. It can stop you doing the things you enjoy and can also be quite worrying. It inevitably will lead you to having a lot of questions. You quite rightly want to know what works best for low back pain. What can you do to help yourself to get better and is there anything you shouldn’t do, that may hinder recovery.

However it can be annoying when you hear contradictory advice. And there are plenty of opinions and advice when it comes to back pain! Who do you believe? What should you do?

Continue reading “What works best for low back pain?”

5 step guide to recover from a new (less than 6 weeks) onset of low back pain

A bout of back pain can be extremely frustrating as well as worrysome. It is also very common with over 80% of people experiencing it in their lifetime.

What should you do if you have back pain? 

back pain

Recent research and guidelines suggest education about back pain should form an integral part of treatment. Learning about back pain- what causes it and the expected recovery times, as well as knowing the right things to do (and what not to do) can be really effective in helping you recover more quickly.

This back pain educational guide has been developed by Grantham Chiropractor Mark Jessop. It has been developed using the recent Lancet series publication on low back pain (published March 2018) which summarises all the best research to date about the prevention and treatment of low back pain.

This 5 step recovery guide is specific to a new onset of back pain which has been present for less than 6 weeks. It is also known as acute low back pain.

Continue reading “5 step guide to recover from a new (less than 6 weeks) onset of low back pain”

What is pain?

Pain is complex! Whether you are suffering from back pain, neck pain or getting issues with your shoulder, hip or knee joints, the mechanisms behind why you feel this pain is very complex.

In this video Grantham Chiropractor Mark Jessop talks about what pain is. It is the first in a series of videos that aim to help gain a greater understanding of modern pain science and neurobiology of pain. There is also an accompanying downloadable information sheet. Continue reading “What is pain?”

Exercises for back mobility

Back stiffness can result from having back pain or be a precursor to back pain occurring, either way some back mobility exercises are certainly useful. They can also aid your recovery and help you get the most out of any treatment you are receiving as well as help manage back issues and prevent flare ups.

The following are some back mobility exercises that I find very useful. They are easy to do and you don’t need any equipment. They should not be performed pain free. You can perform them as part of a warm up, or do them by themselves. Continue reading “Exercises for back mobility”

Chiropractor, its who I am not what I do.

What is Chiropractic treatment? 

I’ve just come back from the British Chiropractic Association conference held at my old University. There were a series of lectures, workshops and discussions around how to provide the best care and recent research. I always enjoy going to these events and come back with new ideas on how to improve treatment I give. Continue reading “Chiropractor, its who I am not what I do.”

8 Week Mindfulness based stress reduction course at Prime Therapy Clinic

Mindfulness has been getting a lot of positive press recently, and for good reason. There is more evidence coming out all the time about the benefits of mindfulness. In fact recently in the United States guidelines have been updated to medical doctors advising them to use mindfulness as a treatment option ahead of medication for people with Chronic back pain. This is a big deal and has caused quite a shake up! Continue reading “8 Week Mindfulness based stress reduction course at Prime Therapy Clinic”

Why not join the My Better Back Wellbeing Group?

As a member you will receive:

  • A monthly guide to better back health
  • Access to regular live health talks (plus recordings and notes)
  • Your invite to our supportive Facebook group
  • Priority access to future workshops and discounts on products

When it comes to reducing and preventing back pain many aspects of our health and wellbeing play a vital role. The Better Back Wellbeing Membership exists to give you the knowledge and support to make positive changes for:

Better Health, A Better Back and a Better Life.

Let's do this together!