Could you be to blame?
Back pain can be completely life changing, and is caused by a collection of seemingly unavoidable, innocuous and sometimes contradictory sins! Activity, inactivity, working, childcare, driving-you know, all the things that it is almost impossible to avoid and lead a relatively normal existence.
The causes and solutions are far too numerous to cover completely here, but what follows is a brief discussion of the avoidable, self-inflicted behaviours that can commonly cause injury.
The back will unfortunately deteriorate as we age and live. It is a race against time to straighten, strengthen but if we are not careful we can start a race toward chronic back issues and mobility problems.
THE TORTOISE repeated behaviours that have slowly built up stress over time.
THE HARE one off, untried or unusual activities, where we have attempted something new, been too ambitious and exerted ourselves unwisely.
Underestimate, Underprepare, underperform! – Understand?
We pay little attention to that which we do every day. It is great to have all of the equipment, support, nutrition and knowledge to help us perform in the gym, but how long do you spend in the gym vs your bed, office or car? Do you have an ergonomic bike or multi-gym, but not an ergonomic chair, keyboard or mouse?
It is just as likely that bad lifestyle habits routinely repeated will be the cause of your back pain as it is to be caused a one off trauma or strain. If you knew what these were, you wouldn’t do them, so consulting a professional is a good way to break this cycle. Their objectivity and experience can help uncover something you are doing regularly and unconsciously.
A visit to any Osteopath, physiotherapist or chiropractor will involve trying to understand which behaviours could the source of your back problems. This is cannot be achieved merely by touch and examination, they will ask you numerous lifestyle questions- you are the most important information resource here. They cannot observe you every hour of every day, so help them by paying attention to everything you do in your daily routine. Your posture, seated and standing, screen time, recreation, footwear, work responsibilities. If your pain hasn’t been caused by a specific event, Identifying as much about your life as possible is key to creating a profile for treatment and prevention.
Overconfidence, Overenthusiasm, Overexertion,
The back injury is often the unforeseen consequence of well-intentioned plans to strengthen and improve other aspects of our health.
It is important to set yourself achievable goals, sympathetic to your body. Marketing in the fitness industry is geared towards immediate results and intensive programmes- a boot camp culture. It is easy to get caught up in this and try and move too quickly-perhaps going straight to MMA is not the best starting point after 15 years on the sofa! Ambition is great, use it, bottle it, let it drive you to succeed-but do some low impact prep work before jumping in at the deep end! Work on cardio, strengthening and stretching the areas that you will be using, and build up slowly listening to your body. The weeks/months of recovery time needed after a back strain occurs is a high price to pay for going too big, too fast or for too long.
If you are new to any activity, unfamiliar movements can be easy way to put strain on your back. Key techniques and sensible body positions are taught to youngsters entering any new sport/activity, but not necessarily the keen but rusty/uninitiated adult. There is more information out there than ever on Youtube and online, but this can be as dangerous and misguided as it is useful. Swallow your pride, do a short course, however knowledgeable you think you are in the field-the likelihood is that a lot has changed since your heyday-see a professional who is up to date with all the newest advice.
You have taken the conscientious steps to get your body ready, and your techniques well practiced and sound-don’t overdo it! All that effort will be useless if you try too much, too soon.
Our team can help
Bodilight have worked hard to assemble the team you need to understand and treat your long term or newly discovered back problems. Prevention is better than cure here, and our Osteopaths or sports physios will work with you on a plan with you to improve awareness, decipher the origin of the injury, and work towards prevention moving forwards.