Monday 16th October is World Spine Day. Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
Through the generations we have seen patients that have had a variety of treatments from a variety of professions and most tend to suffer with recurring pain, whether it be 3 months later, 9 months later or 3 years after the original injury. Luckily, we are now in an age where the mechanics of back pain is understood to a much better level.
This year, the World Spine Day theme is “Your Back In Action”. The aim is to highlight the importance of physical activity and improving posture as part of good spinal health and prevention of injury.
One of the most commonly diagnosed conditions in the back is a ‘degenerative disc’ which people often describe to us as: "I've got arthritis of the spine" “my spine's collapsing” “my spine is buggered” “my spine is crumbling” which can make people feel helpless, so let’s unpick what it really means…
As we age, our discs (which sit between each bone in your spine) begin to dehydrate, losing height, elasticity, and flexibility. The result is a spine that can feel stiffer, less flexible and a bit sore with certain movements. While almost everyone will have some degree of degeneration into their later years, not everyone will experience symptoms.
Repetitive activities like bending on the waist to lift heavy objects and prolonged sitting also cause wear and tear of the discs and amplify the degenerative process, sometimes people can feel this pain and stiffness from as early as 30 years of age.
We now know that an MRI or X-ray cannot reliably predict the amount of pain a person will experience in their back. Scans with very similar amounts of degeneration can present differently person to person which can be a distressing and confusing experience so it is always best to seek a qualified health professionals advice and help explain the imaging to you.
Physiotherapy supports people to manage their pain by helping them understand their pathology and provide symptomatic treatment relevant to each individuals symptoms. Arguably the most important part of treating back injuries such as a degenerative disc is a holistic strengthening program. By training the trunk stabilizers and core muscles your spine will feel stronger and respond better when performing everyday activities as well as giving you the confidence to do things you haven’t dreamt of doing in years!
Knowledge is power – education on how the spine works is the key to improving the relationship with your back; get assessed, ask questions or download our e-book for even more information about back problems.
Happy World Spine Day 2017!
At Wolli Creek Physiotherapy & Pilates, you’ll be looked after by highly experienced and passionate young physiotherapists with a range of specialist skills and qualifications. We treat and heal all injuries and pain problems, for all kinds of people.