The Solution to Chronic Back Pain?
Back pain is a big problem; it’s ranked as the highest contributor to disability in the world. Cost of treatment is rising, there are forever new and improved technologies but the relative benefits aren’t actually growing. So something is amiss.
There isn’t one solution to chronic back pain
A ‘one size fits all’ solution for such a variable problem that is always unique to the individual just isn’t possible. Anyone claiming to have a magic bullet, a procedure that applies to all back pain sufferers is misguided… what works for one person, won’t necessarily work for the next, even if they appear to have similar symptoms.
Have you seen numerous experts and specialists?
Most advice is well meaning. But there is lots of it out there, as well as many different treatment approaches from conservative to surgical. These are often reductionist approaches that target and isolate specific parts of a person and can be effective but potentially limited if the problem is multi-factorial – and chronic back pain very often involves numerous factors, which is why it can be hard to treat.
There are many potential causes of back pain
This also means many potential solutions which is good news even if you feel like you’ve tried everything.
A holistic approach that investigates the bigger picture, as well as the detail, and puts the individual’s pain in context, can be invaluable. This also creates a framework for sound principles and strategies that can be applied to any patient in order to investigate the many potential factors contributing to their pain. It informs the clinical reasoning process in order to create effective care and active coping strategies. So when we talk about addressing things in a multi-factorial way, it includes things like:
Joint mobility and stability, tissue tone, stress, movement conditioning, fear-avoidance behaviour, mind-set, previous injury, bio-mechanical compromise, movement habits, activity levels, education, body awareness, exercise history, nutrition, medication, congenital predispositions, genetics and inherited anomalies…
This type of approach casts the net wide and provides information that is unique to the individual, and can differ greatly from one person to the next so treatment informed by this process is, by default, tailored to the patient and responsive to their situation.
Keep it simple and help yourself wherever you can
Successfully dealing with chronic back pain can be surprisingly simple. The first major step is being able to take responsibility for your body and your treatment, with good support from a knowledgeable practitioner who you enjoy working with: the care you receive should put the power to regain body health back in your hands as much as possible.
After you are the expert on you, and you’re the only person who can tell if you feel like yourself again. Being proactive and informed is powerful.
If you have struggled to get results, have a think about the following questions:
- Does working with your practitioner feel like collaboration?
- Have you discussed expectations of treatment?
- Do you have an action plan with goals and ways to measure progress?
- Does your practitioner’s advice resonate with you?
- Does your treatment involve movement and activity?
- Do you feel informed?
- What more can you do to help yourself?
Don’t take my word for it
If the treatment you’ve received to date doesn’t help, it may be because it’s too targeted on one contributing factor, and leaves out other things that are potentially more relevant to your issue.
There is always scope for improvement, don’t underestimate what you can achieve.
Eat well, Sleep well, Address stress, Move regularly