The Lowdown on Low Back Pain (and How to Beat It)
By Dr. Molly Casey
Have you ever had recurring low back pain? You know, things seem to be good for a while then something, seemingly nothing, happens and there you are again wallowing in a good deal of pain and limited in what activities you can participate in. Maybe you’re even stuck in the lying flat position and icing like crazy because you just can’t move. This is a scenario that I’ve heard described regularly over the years from patients. And there are some consistent factors to this scenario and basic tips on how to avoid it.
Pain Is Only A Symptom
The first thing to understand is that pain is a symptom, not the problem. Pain is an indicator that something isn’t optimal or ideal. Pain is a form of communication from your body. Some level of dysfunction is present and nerve fibers that transmit pain are stimulated. Pain is transmitted through your nervous system. The nervous system has a lot of jobs and it’s approximated that only 11 percent of it can transmit pain. In my professional opinion, using pain as the primary or sole indicator that things are, or are not, functioning well is not such a great idea. What I’ve found in my experience is that pain is the last thing to come about and the first thing to go away.
Tip: Don’t wait for pain to be the motivating factor behind your health practices or exercises that support and enhance your spinal health.
Lack of Consistency In Care
Consistency is a key ingredient in success no matter the endeavor. This holds true for a healthy spine and staying out of back pain. Commonly, one of the culprits of recurring back pain is that even though an individual participates in some healthy and supportive activities such as exercise, strengthening, and chiropractic adjustments, they don’t engage in these activities with consistency. One can’t expect beautifully toned muscles by going to the gym one to two times per month; the same goes for a healthy, properly functioning, pain-free spine. More often than not it isn’t that individuals don’t know what is best for the health of their spine, it’s that they aren’t consistent with the supportive practices.
Tip: Engage in spinal health routines with consistency, such as stretching, core strengthening, chiropractic adjustments.
Choices Based on Desire Rather Than Health
One of the primary factors of recurring back pain is folks simply participate in activities because they want to, and because they like it, rather than whether or not it’s really healthy for their spine. I do believe we are meant to enjoy life. As we move further along in the journey, what is healthiest for us looks different. Games and movements that were once easy for us at 20 years old may not be so at age 55. It’s OK. Respect the process. And know that if you do things your body and spine don’t like, you will often pay a price many times over in the form of immobility and pain.
Tip: Slow your roll. Ask yourself if this is really the healthiest thing for the spine and body (even though it’s pleasant or fun). Ask yourself, “Is the aftermath worth it?”
Sometimes it can feel hard to sift through this stuff on your own. All of us can use a little guidance in life. Let your chiropractor help. We deal with spines, bodies, health and we want to help you!
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