“Why does my back pain keep coming back?” I get asked this question a lot!
If you ask Dr. Google, he wants to diagnose you with a herniated disc, degeneration, stenosis, etc. But that doesn’t answer the question. That doesn’t answer the WHY. The question is WHY does my back pain keep coming back?
You were able to get rid of it before, so why not now? Why is it coming back? Did you twist weird or lift something too heavy or sleep wrong? It’s an extremely frustrating mystery.
I’m here to help answer and explain why that nagging back pain just keeps coming back like a boomerang.
#1: Movement… or lack thereof
We’re all busy. We all love the excuse of “I don’t have time to exercise.”
But then your back starts to hurt, so now you have even more of an excuse to avoid movement. What you really should be doing is moving. We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: movement is medicine!
We all know the benefits of exercise and movement, however very few of us prioritize it.
Movement needs to be a priority because it is a part of our everyday lives. We all move. We all get in and out of bed, in and out of cars, walk around the house, etc.
Our bodies need to be prepared to complete these tasks.
I understand you’re busy. I understand you don’t have time and that gyms cost money. But how about this- spending time and money going to different doctors, getting x-rays, waiting to get an appointment with a specialist, waiting in a doctor’s office, etc. That’s more lost time, more pain, and more money than taking care of yourself from the start. Take 20 minutes out of your day and take care of yourself. Put you and your future first.
#2: Fear and Avoidance of Things That Cause Back Pain
We hear this all the time. “I don’t twist because I have back pain.” “I don’t bend because I’m worried my back is going to hurt.”
In other words, people who suffer from back pain tend to avoid certain movements or activities, when in reality, the fear of movement may be making your pain worse. You’re limiting yourself by restricting your activity and movement. But here’s the thing- you still have to move. You still have to be a parent and play with your kids. Your place of work doesn’t care that your back hurts, you still have to get out of bed and go. Our bodies need to be moved and we have to move to get through our busy days, so restricting certain activities and movements due to fear of pain may actually be worsening your pain.
Fear avoidance behaviors can also come from someone (at times it can even come from a healthcare professional) telling us to stop doing something. For example, a doctor may have told you that you shouldn’t lift weights because it’s bad for your back (False!). This is going to result in a lack of exercise and decreased load, which actually leads to increased risk of back pain.
Sometimes you choose to avoid or eliminate an activity because it caused you pain in the past. I treat a lot of golfers and ex-golfers. Some of them tell me “I don’t play golf anymore because it led to a lot of back pain.” Is golf really the cause of the pain? Or did the pain occur because you started golfing three times a week after not golfing for a couple of years? Golf may be increasing the pain, but it’s not golf’s fault. How do you expect your body to be able to tolerate 18 or even 9 holes of golf if you haven’t done it in years? It’s kind of like expecting to be able to run a 6 minute mile when you haven’t run since high school. It’s unrealistic.
The body does an amazing job of adapting. But the adaptations are not always positive. If we are primarily sedentary and we’re not moving and using our bodies, they’re not going to work the way we want them to. We need to perform regular maintenance on our bodies just like we do on our cars. We need to exercise and strengthen our bodies so that they work for us, not against us.
Life doesn’t stop just because you have pain. You shouldn’t stop moving because you’re in pain. Take time to get ahead of your pain. Try to gradually introduce movement. If you need some help with that, don’t hesitate to give us a call!
We know stress is bad for us, but managing that stress is easier said than done.
Increased stress can lead to increased pain- stress may be the cause of your recent back pain.
Stress results in increased stress hormones. This kicks us into fight or flight mode which can increase the body’s sensitivity to pain.
You may have recently changed jobs. Maybe you kid is getting into trouble at school. Maybe you’re working extra hours to cover unexpected bills. All of these things can result in increased stress. They may even be the cause of this recent episode of back pain.
If you cannot think of anything that’s causing extra stress in your life and you’ve been consistent with your workout routine, it may just be bad luck. At the end of the day, we’re all human and sometimes shit happens.
The good news is, you’re able to move and do something about your pain. Take accountability. Take control of your pain.
Here at Spark we know how to help you get back to where you need to be. Give us a call today at (480) 452-9191 or click the link here to get started on your road to recovery. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner you can start feeling better. Let’s get ahead of that back pain before it starts taking over your life!