22/04/2014 Gavin

Why Does Back Pain Come and Go?


David has had 2 bouts of lower back pain in the last 6 months, annual painful episodes over the previous 6 years, and the odd ache in between.  Sound familiar?  Whether it’s disabling pain lasting weeks, a pain that lasts a few days, or persistent dull aches, back pain does have a nasty habit of coming back.  Why?

Missed golf, less fun, “pulling sickies”, and frustration

David had had the right advice from his GP, he’d had good treatment, each of his bouts of lower back pain had resolved within 2 weeks, and yet it kept coming back.  He was pretty frustrated; not only was the pain getting him down, he’d missed out on golf matches, didn’t enjoy the last family holiday he’d had, and had to take the odd day off work – and no matter what people said to his face, he felt behind his back they thought he was a bit of a chancer, “pulling a sickie”.

David referred to his “bad back” and definitley felt there was some sort of ongoing problem that noone had managed to diagnose.  This feeling was reinforced by clinicians giving him different explanations of what was wrong with his back.  Maybe none of them were right – after all, the pain kept coming back, so they must have got something wrong or not finished the job in some way.  All in all, David was pretty frustrated with the whole thing.  So, what’s going on here?

Icebergs and advice

Given the above, it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that the single biggest predictor of future bouts of lower back pain is having had it before.  🙁  People have a tendency to focus on the things they were doing just before the pain started – a long drive, putting the shopping in the boot, sneezing, tying shoe laces.  All sorts of actitivites can precipitate a bout of lower back pain.  But sometimes it just comes out of the blue.  Why?

Well, all of the above activities are generally the “last straw on the camel’s back” (or your back in this case); they aren’t the cause.  Think of your pain as the bit of the iceberg above the water; icebergs are normally a lot bigger under the water.  This is where the real problems lie.  You need to identify all the things that predispose to lower back pain, not focus on the things you happen to have been doing before it started.

The truth is that David had been given similar exercises and advice by most of the practitioners that he’d seen (despite the differing diagnoses), but he’d stopped the exercises and gone back to his old habits as soon as the bouts of pain had resolved.  If you want a better back, it’s likely you need better habits.  Why pay for good treatment only to throw the advice down the drain?

The solution…

So, if you want a better back, don’t just listen to the advice you’ve paid for – follow it!!  You can get more info here on our website.  Perhaps start with our lower back pain quiz or my tongue-in-cheek “How to get more low back pain”  Give me a ring if you’d like specific advice, or drop me an email.

[email protected]


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