Back Pain and Back Pain Avoidance

Back Pain: Important Facts

• Only 2-3% of back problems are caused by a single injury.
• Most back pain can be avoided by looking after your back.
• A person may have severe back problems but suffer no pain (the problem precedes the pain).
• Back pain comes and goes, but a back problem develops slowly, over a long period of time.
• Physical therapy may stop your back pain, but to get lasting results you must do your rehabilitation exercises (strengthening and stretching) after your treatment course, and keep doing them, even when your pain recedes!
• Activity and careful exercise heals, not bed rest and avoiding painful activity.

Common Misconception:

"My back was fine, then 'I put it out' lifting/turning/bending/sleeping etc.".

Back Pain is like heart disease in that it develops due to a cumulative effect of many different risk factors; the more you have, the greater your chance of developing back pain!

Back Pain Risk Factors:

• Lack of strength in the muscles supporting the spine (back muscles and deep abdominal's).
• Loss of flexibility and mobility in the spine (leading to poor spine health/circulation).
• Poor posture (head forward, shoulders ‘hunched’, chest ‘closed’, mid back overly curved and/or too much, or too little lumbar spinal curve) .
• Decline in physical fitness (lack of exercise).
• Stressful living and working habits, or depression.
• Faulty body mechanics (moving badly).
• Ergonomic Problems (eg. poorly designed work environment, lifting badly).
• Soft tissue (muscle and fascia) stiffness/tightness.
• Smoking and excessive alcohol & drug (including some prescribed drug) usage.
• Lack of rest/fatigue.
• Hyper mobility or instability of the spine.
• Standing or sitting in static positions for long periods of time (and not supporting your lumbar curve when sitting).
• Being overweight.
• Poor diet.
• Congenital defects (eg. Unequal leg length, Spinal Defects).
• Repetitive wear and tear.
• Traumatic injury.

The best way to avoid back pain is to avoid as many of the risk factors as possible. Keeping fit and doing a Pilate's class each week will dramatically reduce your chance of getting back pain (or having another episode of it).
Having a regular Remedial massage treatment is also an enjoyable way to keep your spine and joints mobile and healthy, helping to avoid back pain and osteoarthritis.

Which Complementary Therapies can help with Back Pain?

If the back pain has come on suddenly and you are in constant pain then Acupuncture, Osteopathy, Structural Rebalancing and Massage are useful to quickly alleviate this. Ear Acupuncture is especially effective at cutting off pain signals to the brain providing immediate relief. Once the immediate pain has been relieved it is important to address the underlying tension or problems causing the pain.

For this, or if the back pain comes and goes and you have had it for a while then the following therapies can all help: Acupuncture, Osteopathy, Massage, Craniosacral Therapy, Structural Rebalancing and Shiatsu. A lot of back pain is posture related and if this is the case then Alexander Technique can help you learn how to use your posture to prevent recurring back pain. For more information about each therapy please click on the therapy names.

Acupuncture Testimonial:

" It has been a great help with my localized pain - in my knees and back. With the back up of the Chinese Herbs, it has also helped my phlegm a lot".

L.Shimizu, Ashburton

For more information about Acupuncture please click here