An estimated 80% of UK adults will experience back pain within their lifetime[i] and the affliction has widespread social repercussions, including social isolation, withdrawal and damaged relationships[ii].
Most people’s long term lower back pain is described as ‘non specific’, this occurs when the pain doesn’t arise from any particular medical condition, for example a known disease, fracture, malignancy or slipped disc etc, but from the structures of the back. It is usually triggered by how we use and look after our backs, and many common lifestyle practices can exacerbate the problem.
Chiropractor Dr Steven Geanopulos gives advice on how to help alleviate this form of long term back pain:
Lack of regular movement can contribute to issues with the spine and degeneration of spinal joints, so physical activity in the form of regular exercise is essential to care for the back. Controlled movement of the spine can also help those suffering from long term non specific lower back pain; a recent study suggests that a device called Kyrobak (www.kyrobak.co.uk) -which delivers a unique, soothing combination of Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) and Oscillation Therapy (OT) - significantly reduced pain scores in long term non specific lower back pain sufferers after just 10 minutes of use 1-3 times per day for 3 weeks.
Prolonged stress can lead to exacerbations of pain due to the release of the hormone cortisol and increases in muscle tension. Mental stresses are often best dealt with by addressing state of mind, and meditation – or simply periods of quiet reflection- can help with this. Engaging in activities such as yoga and Pilates which have been shown to help with stress and anxiety are also positive steps to take.
Watch your weight
Ongoing poor nutritional choices and carrying excess weight can damage health long term, and contribute to exacerbations of inflammation and lower back pain. Maintaining a healthy weight is therefore key. Opting for a nutritious, well balanced diet and eating small, healthy meals and snacks on a regular basis can mean you are less likely to let extreme hunger dictate what you eat, helping to avoid the high calorie, high sugar options which lead to weight gain.
[i] Palmer KT, Walsh K, et al. Back pain in Britain: comparison of two prevalence surveys at an interval of 10 years. BMJ 2000;320:1577-1578