How to assess and help treat your own back pain according to an osteopath

This is part two in our series about back pain.

Make sure you go back and check out part one here to read about what mistakes you should avoid making and common misconceptions in treating and diagnosing the true cause of back pain. 

This article will tell you what you need to know about diagnosing the true cause of your back pain and some simple things you can do to help recover for good and live life to the fullest. If you think this could help you, read on.

From our experience, the following 3 steps will put you in the right direction for recovery: 

  1. Getting an accurate diagnosis of your back injury.
  2. Eliminating reliance on medication for pain relief.
  3. Understanding where you’re at in the back pain/injury cycle and how this impacts your treatment.

Hearing patients talk about their long, complicated and frustrating history with backache has inspired us to help everyone overcome their back condition once and for all. We are sick of people getting bad advice and poor treatment that only masks symptoms or patches them up. This will never help the person to have a stronger and more resilient back.  

There is no reason why people can’t make a full recovery from their back injury so they can live their life to the fullest.

Taking action now makes it easier to help you overcome your back injury compared to waiting until another relapse. This means you should not wait until your back flares up again to seek professional treatment and find out the true cause with an accurate diagnosis. 

1. Getting an accurate diagnosis for your spine

In order to find the most effective solution for you, there needs to be a clear understanding of what exactly is causing the problem. ‘Back pain’ is merely a symptom of something else going on, and the best place to start your recovery is finding out what that is. 

At Premier we pride ourselves on creating an individualized approach to treatment, based on the person in front of us and not a generic program given out to everyone. Taking a wide scope to a person’s body and looking at more than just their back allows a bigger snapshot into how their particular body moves and functions. Your body moves as a complete unit, so it does not make sense to just look at one piece of the machine. This also includes looking at how your body moves and assessing it from a functional perspective so that we can identify other factors contributing to the cause of your problem. 

Your practitioner may ask you to go through a series of movements to help identify particular muscle imbalances, weaknesses or unhelpful movement patterns or techniques that help formulate a diagnosis and guide the treatment program- without the help of xrays or MRI’s. 

2. Eliminating reliance on pain medication for relief

Pain medication is one of the most commonly prescribed medications by GP’s, it can have long-lasting side effects on many aspects of our health and is a heavily addictive substance that many end up relying on for life. Despite this, medication does have a place in some peoples recovery when used appropriately and timely.

The pain signal is vital in warning us of injury or danger, it is a key survival instinct. Pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks becomes a little more complicated than a simple nerve signal, after this period of time our body becomes confused by the pain signal and begins activating it at moments that do not present danger or injury. Our body becomes sensitive to the signal, and simple everyday tasks like bending over to tie up your shoe cause us discomfort. 

With this knowledge, we can understand why short term and early use of pain medication is the most effective. With acute inflammation and pain, medication can provide a window of opportunity to help someone function and begin the steps to recovery. As a long-term solution to chronic pain (pain lasting longer than 12 weeks), medication will only mask the pain signal and do nothing to improve your body’s response. Specific rehabilitation can help retrain your body’s nervous system to only fire when appropriate, helping you recover from your pain without medication. 

3. Understanding what stage you are at in the back pain cycle.

If you are someone who has been suffering from back pain for a long time, you probably feel like you have tried everything.

  • You have been given exercises that have either had no effect or made you feel worse. 
  • You’ve received treatment such as a massage that has put you in more pain.
  • Your back has been cracked but still feels stiff with no relief or movement.

These strategies are all proven effective in treating back pain, so why don’t they appear to help? If your practitioner has not identified the cause of your pain, they cannot identify what stage of recovery you are in. Different techniques are only effective if performed at the correct time. For example, trying to strengthen muscles that are too tight will just cause them to seize up more. Similarly, if you are trying to massage and stretch muscles that are weak and sore, they remain inactivated and become even more painful with movement.

 

As you can see, it is vitally important for you to receive the correct order of treatment based on your individual needs. This is something that needs to be assessed by your back pain specialist to target problematic areas with the right solution, at a particular point in time. The use of a written treatment plan helps your practitioner guide you through the processes, identifying what needs to be done when and giving you an accurate time frame for recovery. It helps the patient stick to the plan in order to get the results they want fast! 

Our multidisciplinary team at Premier means that you can see a combination of the right health practitioners for whatever stage of recovery you are at. It means a seamless, easy and straightforward approach to holistic healthcare.

If you’d like some more information about getting started to a pain-free life without back pain, call our wonderful reception team on 9481 7794 or BOOK NOW! 

 

 

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