Our back and neck and spine is a complex biomechanical structure that supports the weight of our body, as well as movement. It allows us to walk, twist, carry load, jump, climb - everything starts at the spine.
...and yet, it's our spine that's the most misunderstood and subject to abuse. Physiotherapy provides effective non-surgical methods designed to relieve back pain, treat back and neck injuries and maintaining our spine in proper and healthy alignment.
Sadly, more than 80 percent of the population will experience back or neck pain at some point in their lives. That's to say in a room full of 10 people, 8 of them will experience back or neck pain. 50% of them will have back and neck pain that will become long term.
Often, back and neck injuries cause short term pain either because of wear and tear/overuse or failure to warm-up adequately before activities/exercise. Other causes of back pain includes from-birth deformities as well as degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, all of which will be managed well with physiotherapy (better still, better managed by a spine specialist physiotherapist).
To aggravate matters, both obesity and sedentary lifestyles are cooperating and contributing to increasing cases of back pain - both are actually major causes of back pain especially when these individuals
Obesity increases the risk of poor postural habits as well injuries, and those who experience back or neck pain tends to develop a compensatory but awkward movement patterns that in turn, makes the pain worse and stay longer especially if untreated.
Accurately diagnosing the exact causes and location of back pain is very, very important to get it treated well, and that's why it's one of the hardest to do (and that's why initial sessions with our specialist physiotherapists, we allot 60 minutes to the first session, so we can spend more time on assessment and understanding the history of the pain/injury).
Pains experienced can be:
The pain type can be sharp, dull or aching, throbbing, jabbing, or even have altered sensation such as numbness, tingling and sense of hot/cot.
Many patients have a misguided notion that the pain "will go away on its own" and that's why they decide that they don't need to seek help or physiotherapy, and this can lead to additional damage. The first thing that patients do when they experience pain is to stop moving so much (muscle/joint bracing), so that they will experience less pain, because they know that there is pain, and pain may be aggravated by movement, so they "stiffen up" and maybe pop some painkillers or muscle relaxants.
This is turn, causes the affected areas to stiffen up literally, as our bodies when undergo pain, secrete healing factors that both heal and stabilize/firm up injured areas, and can cause unnecessary stiffness to form in joints and muscles. A stiff joint and muscle on top of back pain will give patients 2x the pain than they initially had, so there's actually more damage if less untreated.
This is like feeling the heat from a house that's burning, but because we don't see the fire, we think that nothing's wrong, and leave the fire to burn the house down.
Not moving causes and leads to further pain, stiffness and complicates-aggravates the main problem.
A specialist spine physiotherapist is a physiotherapist that is trained, knowledgeable, experienced and expert in the management of back and neck care, and is able to assess, diagnose, treat and prescribe therapies that lead to safe movements without causing further pain or damage to your nerves, joints and soft tissues.
They will know which methods and techniques to use for very specific functions and causes of back pain and spine rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, patients who experience chronic/long term pains and degenerative conditions that affects their spine also tends to suffer from moodiness, unhappiness and maybe depression (the reason for this is two fold: the presence of pain in movement AND we humans are created to move, so when we can't move, we lose a sense of confidence).
Physiotherapy is very beneficial to address both physical and psychological factors that are associated with back pain.
Physiotherapy also isn't just limited to treating injuries after they happen, as some individuals tend to think - they're effective as well as preventative measures to keep your spine healthy, aligned and working properly.
Remember, prevention is better than cure, and early intervention is better than delayed or worse, no intervention at all.