Any pain is uncomfortable, but back pain can interfere with so many of our daily activities. Most back discomfort comes from having done an awkward movement, what I call “the double D’s” – deadlifts and dishwashers. There is often a slight twist or side bend in the back when you fold forward to pick something up, and a spasm in response to the movement can cause you pain. This is the most common kind of complaint that brings people to my office.
It is very seldom that someone comes in with a spinal disc problem, although people think that is the issue. Fortunately, most people have a “garden variety back pain” which can be easy to heal so that the pain disappears.
Back problems can change over the years, regardless of past injuries and previous medical conditions. I’ll often have patients who come in and tell me that they have an L5 or S1 injury, because years ago they had an MRI which gave them that information. When I examine them it will frequently become clear that their discomfort is at a different place in their back rather than the site of their original injury. What patients really mean to say is that their back hurts, rather than it being something that is that specific. Just because a past MRI showed something, or in your medical history you had a disc problem or issue with a particular joint, that doesn’t mean it is your current problem.
There are ways to protect yourself so that you can avoid the awkward movements that may lead to muscle spasms. One of the most common things people find challenging is the transition of getting up from sitting to standing. There are so many different factors involved; you might find it difficult to bend forwards or pick up your kids, but that one awkward movement can be the source of the problem.
There are various ways to remedy this through the use of osteopathic techniques and I frequently see great results that can be achieved in a relatively short space of time. People can leave the session with their back feeling better, healthier and stronger.