Understanding Back Pain
Most low back pain is mechanical in origin, meaning that it is the result of an abnormal force or mechanics that occurs in the tissue. If mechanical forces, such as movement, activity or positions caused your pain to occur, then mechanical forces may also help to eliminate your pain.
Exercise can have a rapid effect on pain intensity and location. Exercise that brings about a change in the location or intensity of pain is referred to as a mechanically determined directional preference. This has been shown to provide the most important guideline for exercise prescription.
Common Causes of Low Back Pain
Low back pain is the most common complaint seen in physical therapy. Low back pain can be constant or episodic in nature, and can significantly impact your daily life. Back pain can be the result of a number of different factors, but the most common cause of low back pain is postural neglect. Many of us spend most of our day at work or home with our back in a flexed or rounded position. Many people who consistently adopt poor posture remain unaware of the underlying cause of their back pain.
Here are some other common causes of low back pain:
- Sitting – Once back pain develops, poor sitting posture can perpetuate the problem. The longer you remain in a slouched or rounded position it can cause overstretching of the ligaments and pain.
- Working in stooped positions – Many activities around the house put us in a bent or stooped position – for example, sweeping, vacuuming, making the bed, doing laundry, gardening, etc.
- Lifting – Repeated or heavy lifting with poor body mechanics can cause back pain.
- Lying and Resting – If you are having low back pain only when you are lying down, or if you regularly wake in the morning with a stiff and painful low back that was not painful the night before, there may be something wrong with the surface that you sleep on or your sleeping position.
The McKenzie Method’s initial assessment provides your therapist a reliable pathway to accurately reach a mechanical diagnosis and produce an appropriate treatment plan.
Through a series of repeated movements and positions, your therapist will assess your symptomatic and mechanical response. Patterns of response for what makes your symptoms better or worse can be determined in order to prescribe specific exercises and advice regarding posture. Typically this can be achieved within three to five visits.
Our aim is to be as effective as possible in the least number of treatment sessions. Treatment that you can perform five to six times a day can to be more effective in a shorter period of time than treatment performed by the therapist two to three times a week. By learning how to self-treat your current problem, you gain valuable knowledge and ability in controlling your symptoms and minimize the risk of recurrence.
|Preventing Back Pain:
- Remember the importance of posture in looking after your back
- Compensate for periods of prolonged sitting by changing positions, standing and bending backwards a few times, or walking.
- The more active and fit you are, the less likely you are to have pain and the better you will cope with it if you do.
- Exercise regularly!
- When you start to increase your exercise, do so gradually.
By learning how to
self-treat your current problem, you gain valuable knowledge and ability to control your symptoms and minimize the risk of recurrence.
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