Treatment Expectations with Chronic Back Pain
A chronic back pain has been present for some time, may be months, years, or decades, so we are bound to have a different expectation about the benefits of the treatment. We may not expect the pain to stop completely and never return. There may be wear and tear (osteoarthritis) in the spine and we cannot change this wear and tear, but need to expect that it may flare up from time to time, or that more on-going treatment may be necessary. It also needs to be accepted that we are not going to be as active and flexible as when we were younger. This is a fact of life. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t live life actively and healthily and, in large part, pain free!
Managing back pain with Chiropractic treatment
Sometimes treatment can help improve function, reduce pain and aid you to live a more active life, but with the underlying tensions, the scar tissue and tightness the joints will tend to stiffen again over time. Therefore, some ongoing treatments may be required, just as you may need to go to a dental hygienist regularly to have the teeth cleaned thoroughly, because despite however well you clean your teeth, some plaque will build up.
For some clients, ongoing treatments help with the stresses and strains that build up. Perhaps at work their back tightens again as a result of a slow accumulation of stress, for example from sitting or repetitive lifting, or because of a one-off strain. Other clients that just find by having regular treatment they feel more mobile, agile and active. To see some of my clients’ testimonials, please click here.
Reducing Medication required for back pain
Some clients that attend have lived with pain for a long time and have learnt to live with it, perhaps with the aid of medication. My aim here is about stopping the pain but also reducing the severity long-term, thereby keeping the pain to a more manageable level.
Chiropractic Treatment of Chronic Back Pain
This is commonly a combination of approaches:
- Treatment for the back pain to improve the function of the tight joints and muscles
- Advising clients to make lifestyle changes
- Perhaps some on-going maintenance treatment is required
- Introducing exercise and activity to help keep the spine as mobile and relaxed as possible.
- Learning to be more relaxed, balanced, and less tense in our movement patterns (Alexander Technique, Yoga, Pilates)
What are some of the common lifestyle changes required with chronic back pain?
I usually feel it is the activities that we spend most time doing, namely working, driving or activities around the home, that are the most likely causes of chronic back pain. I list a few of the major issues, but there are many more.
For most of my clients, sitting too long and a lack of gentle regular exercise is the main cause of back pain. I am now a huge fan of working actively, using a sit-stand desk, and many other ways of reducing the sitting in our working life.
Working from home
Working from home has many advantages, but it’s imperative to have a good ergonomic set up if you do spend any time working from home. Particularly important is not to spend too long working at the wrong height – perhaps at the dining table – or slouching on the sofa with the laptop on your knee, or lying on the bed twisting. Please read my article working from home for more detailed information.
Sitting in the fixed static position that driving enforces is a main factor in the cause of back pain. I write about more driving here.
Slouching on the sofa
Working or spending too long on the sofa is a major cause of back pain. Sometimes it is obvious when we’ve strained our backs by sitting too long or sleeping in the wrong position, as we often get up with acute pain. What many people don’t realise is that, while slouching on the sofa may not be immediately painful, the slow build up of tension is a huge hidden cause of chronic pain.