Lower back pain is the number one cause of disability worldwide, and 80% of us in the UK expected to suffer at some point in our lifetimes, yet alarmingly in the UK 90% of sufferers stop GP consultations after just 3 months – despite three in four still suffering pain and disability one year later.
These findings suggest millions of long term back pain sufferers feel limited help is available, and are struggling on in silence.
Unfortunately lower back pain becomes more prevalent as we age. Most people’s 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, 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:
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.
- Keep Moving
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.
- 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.