Pain that lasts for more than 3 months has the potential to reduce your thresholds to pain and even start knocking on to other parts of your body. The brain is the source of increased sensitisation rather than the site of initial injury. Some theories suggesting the brain works a bit like turning up a speaker, amplifying the signals from the injury site making it seem that the damage is more severe than it really is. This can change the way you perceive pain in your day to day activities. Sensations meant to help protect the injury get perceived as alarm signals causing the brain to lockdown normal, safe movements and so we miss out on the things we enjoy the most.
Our chiropractors in Northampton are highly trained in the diagnosis and treatment of back pain. The first phase of care helps to improve the physical limitations that resulted from your injury (bear in mind ‘injury’ can be a sudden onset after a fall or lifting but also a gradual decline in the tissue integrity that leads to the typical onset we hear in the chiropractic clinic of “...but I only bent down to put my sock on!”) Even before we’ve got you fully mobile we can start building movement confidence again, this is where you come in.
The only way to rewire the brain and its perception of pain is through you. Retraining your mind is one of the most effective changes I’ve seen in clinical practice. At Duston Chiropractic Clinic we encourage active recovery, by learning the difference between hurt and harm you can learn when to pay attention to the pain and when to keep going. Normal movement can cause pain, but it doesn’t always mean you are causing damage – trying to view pain as an educator helps you to consider good vs bad pain. Many people have felt the muscle pain of the last 2 or 3 reps in the gym but their brain knows it’s good pain, they are getting stronger! Compare that to the pain of touching a hot pan...there is a big difference and learning that is key, especially in low back pain.
If the pain is acute or radiating to other areas stop.
Based on our advice, start working into the barriers of manageable discomfort.
Don’t go over the top!
The saying “No pain - No Gain” is not correct in chronic lower back pain. Doing too much or overdoing it can hold you back. A balanced approach, step-by-step, is ideal: sore but safe. For example, is the discomfort short lived or does it linger after activity? Lingering pain may be a sign you’re doing too much.
Pick your activities to help get you back in control of your back pain. What is something you want to do? Walking, picking up the kids, weight lifting? Start small and find your baseline, we can help you to find a safe starting point and advise you on progressing. Simple advice on bending, lifting or strengthening the core and spinal muscles is a good start. But take your time, patience is a virtue.
Another technique can be to refocus your attention. If your back pain is irritating you try focusing on another area of the body that feels good, try think about what muscles are active if you smile – do they feel difference if you smile wider? Simple tricks can help to de-sensitise the brains perception of another area which can help treat your back pain.
Spinal manipulation, massage, acupuncture and exercise for low back pain can be very effective but don’t forget the basics. Fuel is key, eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and try to avoid processed foods or high sugar foods. Keep yourself hydrated with 6-8 glasses of water a day, not just coffee (I’m guilty of this...) and try to improve your sleep habits.
Dealing with chronic pain is not easy, it takes time and patience as well as hard work.
Getting the right treatment to help get you mobile is something we can do at Duston Chiropractic Clinic. But our aim is to give you good advice on how to improve your situation outside of the clinic. If we can give you the exercises for back pain, the tools and the confidence to get moving then the higher the chances of you taking control of the pain in the long term so you don’t need to see us too often!
Call 01604 754456 or click here book online . An initial consultation can help give a much greater understanding of your individual situation, what needs treatment, what needs strengthening and what needs a bit of de-sensitisation. Feel free to email us with questions if you would like to find out if we can help you.
Nick Wilderspin, D.C, M.Chiro
Nick graduated in 2009 and has since undertaken in-depth study on low back pain, including studying the work of Professor Stuart McGill one of the most prominent researchers in low back pain over the last few decades.
Nick has been treating patients for over 11 years. He currently works Duston Chiropractic Clinic