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Low back pain can be extremely debilitating and distressing. However, it is very rarely a result of a serious medical cause. The vast majority of pain is what we call “mechanical pain”. This basically means that your low back pain will be either eased or aggravated with movement or certain positions.

The good news about an acute or sudden episode of low back pain is that it normally settles quickly and most people are back to normal after a few weeks. For those with persistent or recurrent back pain, the best approach is based on lifestyle change, movement and exercise.

Other important aspects of managing low back pain are getting enough sleep, building a support network to help you, and looking for professional help if the pain does not improve.

Activity guide for managing low back pain

Work through the following tips to develop a management plan if you have persistent low back pain. Always seek professional advice if you don’t feel your pain is improving or you are worried about any other symptoms.

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  • Getting support for persistent low back pain

To help keep on top of the problem, it is important to take a holistic approach and involve your family and friends in helping you to develop a plan to manage the problem. It can also be helpful to access a team of trusted health professionals for additional support when you need it.

To help keep on top of the problem, it is important to take a holistic approach. It can help to involve your family and friends in helping you to develop a plan to manage the problem. It can also be helpful to access a team of trusted health professionals for additional support when you need it.

Download our back pain relief guide (Size: 152 KB)

If you would like to find out more about TBI Health Spine Care, and/or book an appointment – just call us on 0800 824 432, or find a clinic near you.

Times to get help

There are two symptoms associated with low back pain that require high caution and urgent attention. The first is a loss of control of your bladder and bowel, the second is constant, severe pain that does not change in any position. For both of these symptoms, we strongly recommend seeking immediate medical advice.

There are other times when it is appropriate to seek non-urgent help. These are below:

  1. Constant severe leg pain.
  2. When pain is interfering with your work, sleep and/or general quality of life.
  3. Following a high force injury.
  4. If your pain is not resolving or is getting worse.
  • Set small and achievable goals

People with pain can often find themselves in a downward spiral and over time your mobility, activity and ability to work can slowly reduce. It is important to recognise the areas in your life that are impacted by pain. Writing a list can be useful and then choose a few activities that you would like to improve. It may be something as simple as walking around the block to the shops or going to watch a sports event.

Many people with ongoing pain make huge gains by slowly and steadily progressing their activity over time, despite their pain. Remember to take your time as it can take a while for your body to adjust and you should expect the occasional setback. It is also important to recognise when you have made some progress and celebrate your milestones as you achieve them!

  • Move often

As said before most low back pain is mechanical in nature meaning that certain movements will either ease or aggravate your pain. Try the three exercise below. If you feel better after completing ten (in a row) of one of the exercises, you should try to do them regularly during the day to help control the pain.

  • Sloppy push-up
  • Knees to chest

  • Try something different

It is also important to think about activities you can no longer participate in and then identify another alternative that can give you similar benefits and enjoyment. For example, if pain is preventing you from doing your full duties at work you should always talk to your employer, to see if there are any different duties you would be able to do if you cannot do your usual tasks.

Finding alternative activities that can help you feel more satisfied without aggravating your symptoms will help reduce the natural frustration that comes with low back pain.