Lower Back Pain Is the Most Disabling Disease Affecting Us Today
Lower Back Pain Prevalence, Causes and Management
The 2010 Global Burden of Disease report has found that lower back pain is now the most common cause of disability in the world. Out of the 291 chronic health conditions studied lower back pain was the highest in terms of years lived with the condition . The prevalence and burden increased with age.
Most people that have experience lower back pain know how terrible it can be. It can result in depression, affect relationships with family and friends, and lead to other health issues due to the inability to exercise and weight gain. Lower back pain also results in people being unable to work, leading to financial stress.
LOWER BACK PAIN DIAGNOSIS
The causes of lower back pain can be difficult to diagnose as often the pain is not actually where the problem is. A thorough examination and history is required to determine the exact cause of back pain. You may also need an MRI, CT or an X-ray to get an accurate diagnosis of your back pain.
Below is just a guide to show you some of the possible causes of your lower back pain.
If you have any unusual symptoms in addition to your lower back pain you must see your doctor immediately for advice and treatment. Here is a list of these symptoms.
- Night sweats
- Sudden weight loss
- Night pain
- Bowel or bladder weakness
- Erectile dysfunction
- Urinary retention
- Feeling unwell
- Perianal sensory loss
What are your treatment options?
For mechanical back pain (with no red flags) there are many treatment options. It is best to try at least 3-6 months of treatment before you opt for surgery or more serious interventions. If the pain is getting worse in that time then try another practitioner or treatment modality before you give up. Here is some information about your options.
Chiropractors are specialists in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions. They are university trained for 5 years where they cover subjects such as anatomy, physiology, neurology, pathology as well as various clinic skills. They use a variety of treatment techniques including spinal mobilisation, adjustments and soft tissue work depending on what you are suffering from.
It is important to realise that there is a wide variety of styles including low force techniques. So try a few different Chiropractors until you find what works for you.
Physiotherapists assess, diagnose, treat and prevent injuries to the body. They are experts in movement and function and teach people how to overcome their condition. Some of their treatment involves exercises as well as mobilisation, manipulation, massage, hydrotherapy, airway clearance and breathing techniques.
Osteopaths evaluate dysfunctions in the body and use a variety of hands-on techniques to treat them. They focus on how the skeleton, joints, muscles, nerves, circulation, connective tissue and internal organs function together.
Acupuncture is a holistic approach to preventing and treating disease processes in the body. They insert fine needles into specific sites on the body to clear energy blockage and encourage the flow of qi through the individual.
Massage is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body including the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage therapists identify the likely source of pain through palpation and then use their hands to treat it.
What can you do to relieve your lower back pain at home and at work?
Most people only address the symptoms once they arrive. But it might be better to invest some time and energy in preventing back pain from occurring in the first place.
- A worldwide study found that 37% of lower back pain was due to ergonomic stressors from jobs that involved heavy lifting and vibration forces .
How much lower back pain is due to poor posture?
Studies have found that poor sitting posture and leaning forward may be associated with a number of negative outcomes including increased muscle activity and back pain .
The chart below shows the pressure on our lumbar discs in different postures.
I have developed an 8 step program that may assist in the prevention of back pain. I came up with this program from my personal experience suffering from lower back pain as well as from my clinical experience treating patients with back pain over the past 15 years. Here is a summary of the 8 ways to prevent back pain in your life:
More more information and to subscribe to the program click on this link:
For further reading:
1. Hoy D, March L, Brooks P, Blyth F, Woolf A, Bain C, Williams G, Smith E, Vos T, Barendregt J, Murray C, Burstein R, Buchbinder R. The global burden of low back pain: estimates of the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. Ann Rheum Dis 2014; 73: 968-974.
2. Amirdelfan K, McRoberts P, Deer T. The Differential Diagnosis of Low Back Pain: A Primer on the Evolving Paradigm. Neuromodulation 2014; 17 (2): 11-7.
3. Punnett L, Pruss-Ustun A, Imel Nelson D, Fingerhut M, Leigh J, Tak S, Phillips S. Estimating the global burden of low back pain attributable to combined occupational exposures. Am J Ind Med 2005; 48 (6): 459-69.
4. Waongenngarm P, Rajaratnam BS, Janwantanakul P. Perceived body discomfort and trunk muscle activity in three prolonged sitting postures. J Phys Ther Sci 2015; 27(7): 2183-7.