Facts About Back Pain
In the UK, 2.5 million people have back pain every day of the year and 80% of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives. Importantly 95% of acute lower back pain cases are nonspecific and serious conditions are rarely the cause of acute lower back pain making up just a fraction of the overall cases. Back pain is just as prevalent amongst younger age groups as the elderly and according to statistics it is the second most common causes of sick days in the western world
Causes of Back Pain
There are many causes for back pain, from the serious hereditary spinal problems or injury to the more common, weak postural muscles, trapped nerve, tight and shortened muscles and joint dysfunction. These common causes that make up the large majority of cases often develop over time as a result of poor posture, weak muscles, excessive and uncomfortable desk position, lack of movement and compensatory movement patterns; they can also be a result of a specific injury or incident and the more the serious conditions like herniated disk or Spinal Stenosis make up the minority of cases.
With 82% of us spending six hours or more a day sitting in front of a computer screen combined with longer working hours, higher stress levels and less time to look after our bodies than ever before, back pain is occurring on an unprecedented scale. Whilst taking the occasional dose of painkillers is unlikely to harm you, it is unlikely to solve the problem long term.
As an experienced sports therapist and personal trainer specialising in movement and corrective exercise, Fraser spends a large proportion of his time seeing clients with back problems or musculoskeletal issues (MSK).
The Collection of Important Subjective Information
What are the treatment protocols for a new case musculoskeletal issue such as back pain? First, “Why are you here? Where are you experiencing pain and discomfort? What movement or position is it most uncomfortable?”This is followed by patient history to understand any underlining injury with potential long-term effects, and then the more present information such as exercise habits, work-hours, work-posture, work-activity and other important information such as sleep, rest and stress levels.
The Collection of Important Objective Information
The Objective information is the fact based and measurable information we can collect through a series of tests. The first of these tests is postural assessment. Is the patient’s body in good postural alignment or is there a glaringly obvious postural dysfunction that we can see straight away? This can then be followed by joint and muscle assessment and testing.
Studies show that most back-pain cases are non-serious and are treatable through postural and injury therapy treatment, corrective exercise and lifestyle change. The serious cases such as herniated disk, spinal fracture, hereditary conditions and degenerative back disorders will be referred to the appropriate medical practitioners.
Treatment for these non-serious cases are often a combination of techniques including Myofascial Release, Trigger Point Therapy, Soft Tissue Release, Joint Mobilisation and Soft Tissue Mobilisation to name a few. The most immediate of these treatments is Myofascial Release (MFR)
Myofascial Release Treatment (MFR)
Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying sustained pressure into the Myofascial Tissues. Rather than target individual muscles, Myofascial Release works more as an overall release of muscles and tissue in the treatment area, promoting joint mobility and freeing up those restricted muscles. It is a one-on-one, hour-long treatment where each patient is assessed on a uniquely individual basis and the treatment is performed directly on skin without oils, creams or machinery. This enables the therapist to accurately detect problems and to apply the appropriate amount of sustained pressure to facilitate release in the problematic area. It is not a painful treatment, but the patient can feel a slight level of discomfort as the pressure is applied, similar to that of a slow deep tissue massage.
Types of Pain
The Myofascial System is a whole-body system and when using MFR with other standard sports massage techniques, this can benefit various types of pain
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Sciatic pain
- Tight and painful hips
- Thoracic spine pain
- Frozen shoulder
These conditions are hard to detect as many will not show up on the standard methods employed including X-Rays, MIR's, CAT Scans and blood tests. Consequently, back problems and related issues can go ignored or be misdiagnosed for a long period of time, which for those suffering the agony is extremely depressing and debilitating. Furthermore, recent research has suggested that the longer an individual is disabled by back pain, the less chance he or she has of returning to work.
Follow On Treatment
MFR, can work as a joint release treatment, but it must be stressed the importance of building strength, flexibility and exercise into one’s daily routine as a preventive measure and to reinforce the changes made back to a good posture are an important part of the recovery process. In the UK, back problems are the leading cause of disability with nearly 119 million sick days a year lost and there is a further staggering amount of cases where people simply work through these issues. Prioritising opportunities to build movement and exercise into our lifestyle is vital to stay healthy.
A Three-Step Plan to Managing Back Pain
If you’re struggling with back pain Fraser PT is running a Three-Step Plan to help Patients manage their pain and get back to being mobile and pain free.
The plan consists of three elements:
2 hours of Myofascial Release & Postural Therapy Treatment
2 hours of Gym Mobility & Movement Training
2 hours of Gym Based, Strength & Corrective Exercise Training
Package Cost: £570,
Individual Treatment Cost: £100
Location: New Cavendish Street, London W1 (Just off Harley Street)
Bookings: By Appointment
To find out more about how Fraser PT can help you with on-going back pains or other physical pains that might be causing problems, do get in contact for an informal, no-obligation, chat. Fraser PT can also help with sports injuries and works with a network of medical professionals and will refer you if he feels that further investigations are necessary for a correct treatment plan.
Reference Material: Deyo, R.A., Rainville, J., Kent, D.L., 1992. What can the history and physical examination tell us about low back pain?. JAMA, JAMA 268, 760-5. Suarez-Almazor, M.E., Belseck, E., Russell, A.S., Mackel, J.V., 1997. Use of lumbar radiographs for the early diagnosis of low back pain. Proposed guidelines would increase utilization.. JAMA, JAMA 277, 1782-6. Hollingworth, W., Todd, C.J., King, H., Males, T., Dixon, A.K., Karia, K.R., Kinmonth, A.L., 2002. Primary care referrals for lumbar spine radiography: diagnostic yield and clinical guidelines.. Br J Gen Pract, Br J Gen Pract 52, 475-80.Waddell, G., 2004. The back pain revolution, 2ndnd ed. Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh. Macfarlane, G.J., Thomas, E., Croft, P.R., Papageorgiou, A.C., Jayson, M.I., Silman, A.J., 1999. Predictors of early improvement in low back pain amongst consulters to general practice: the influence of pre-morbid and episode-related factors.. Pain, Pain 80, 113