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  • Sophie Fairhurst

Back Pain; The Problems and Solutions from TSG Fitness

Back pain is a very common problem and will have affected you all in different ways at some point in your life.


It is not usually a serious problem, and often is caused by a simple strain to a muscle or a ligament.


Whilst it is tricky, I would actively encourage you to keep up with your normal everyday activities as much as you can. Staying active will help you to reduce the pain.


How does your back work?


The spine, or back bone is one of the strongest parts of your body and provides a large amount of flexibility and strength.


24 bones known as vertebrae make up the spine. One sits on top of the other. The bones have discs in between them, as well as lots of strong ligaments and muscles for support. The tailbones (at the bottom of the back) are fused together and have no discs.


On either side of the spine, there are joints known as facet joints. The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae. This connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. They are known as nerve roots.


As you get older, the joints, discs and ligaments begin to age. The structures generally remain strong, but you may feel stiffer as you get older.


So what is causing your back pain?


Often back pain has multiple causes;

Poor posture

Lack of exercise resulting in stiffening of the spine and weak muscles

Muscle strains or sprains.


There are also other specific conditions that are linked with pain felt in the back such as osteoporosis or spinal stenosis. Before undertaking any exercise programme it is important that you consult with your GP.


What are the warning signs of a serious problem?


Very rarely, back pain or pain that travels down one leg is often a sign of a more serious issue.


Other symptoms that require medical attention:

Difficulty controlling or passing urine

Loss of control of your bowels

Numbness around your back passage or genitals

Serious weakness in your legs, so you find standing difficult

Severe and on-going back pain that gets worse over several weeks.


Many GPs will have used the common sense, wait and see approach before deciding if you need further treatment. Most problems can be diagnosed after a simple examination so it is unlikely you will have had any special tests.


Managing your back pain


The most important thing to do to treat back pain is to keep moving, continue with everyday activities and have a healthy lifestyle.


Your spine is very strong and it is designed to move.


Too much rest can make back pain worse.


Emotional stress also has a significant impact on how quickly you get better. Remaining positive and proactive will enable you to work on reducing your pain.


Staying Active


Keeping the muscles around the spine strong will provide more support to the bones and joints. Which will mean less pressure. The more you move, the more your back will keep its natural range of movement.


If you stop being active for prolonged periods of time, the muscles will become weak – meaning an increase in pain. Exercise helps to release endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer.


Progress, however, is not linear and initially you may feel slightly more discomfort in your back. By starting gently and gradually you will be able to increase the amount of exercise you do. Small regular steps will be the best way to combat back pain.


Swimming, walking, going to the gym and yoga are all great ways to help with back pain. I often recommend daily walking, as well as yoga and pilates principles.


Even once your back pain has stopped or reduced, you MUST continue to move and exercise – because if not the pain will return. You must continue to work on your strength in order for it to be sustained, stop working on it and your strength will decrease. Making the return of back pain more imminent.


Summary


· Back pain is common, but most cases aren’t caused by a serious problem

· Most cases of back pain get better

· Stay active, bed rest for more than a couple of days makes it harder to get going. Gradually increasing your normal activities and doing the prescribed exercise programme will help.

· Your pain should ease within 2 weeks and you should recover over approximately 6 weeks.

· You should carry on with specific prescribed exercises for at least 8 weeks to prevent further injury

· If the pain is severe and not improving, contact your GP.


If you are struggling with back pain and need additional support please do not hesitate to contact Sophie Fairhurst. Exercise Referral Specialist on 07398214582 or www.tsgfitness.co.uk


Keep your eyes peeled for the imminent launch of her online programme specifically for those suffering with back pain.



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