Experts say one in six Australians live with chronic back pain. This amounts to an astounding 3.7 million people who are suffering the physical and psychological effects of this debilitating condition. Chronic back pain, like obesity, is rapidly becoming a major public health worry. Australia is ranked first when it comes to lower back pain’s burden and yet, in other countries, it ranks sixth.
The spine is a well-designed system and it does a great job in holding us up and allowing us to do some of the most amazing things (acrobatics etc.). But back pain can lead to a vicious cycle where the quality of life for the sufferer becomes poor because they feel unable to be as active as they were before the pain set in. They can feel disabled or helpless and they might feel as if moving too much will be harmful and make the pain even worse. And yet, being active and having chiropractic treatment is a key to pain relief.
What is chronic back pain and how does it affect sufferers?
If you are suffering back pain your chiropractor can do some adjustments and relieve most of your distress within a few weeks or a couple of months of treatment, however, any pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks can be diagnosed as ‘chronic’. It can be classed as a persistent ache anywhere in the back area, but most commonly in the lower spine. Symptoms can include soreness and stiffness, and the joints can become inflamed. The pain can span the spectrum from sharp and severe, to a mild, or dull ache.
The entire lives of people with chronic back pain can be affected in many ways. These include, as mentioned, an inability to perform normal daily activities or tasks, and over time this often changes their attitudes towards life. The pain can cause the sufferer to have a perception of ‘harmfulness’ in which they begin to lessen their movement and activities in case it makes the pain worse. Chronic pain can also cause sleeplessness or changed sleep patterns which can only add to further discomfort and lessen the quality of life. The burden on an individual with chronic back pain can cause psychological problems such as depression and anxiety. It’s as if life is just too painful for them and they can feel hopelessness and isolation because they don’t go out much anymore and their social lives are thus affected.
How did my chronic back pain start?
This is a good question and it isn’t easy to answer because though the pain due to strain or a sprain injury, a slipped disc or sciatica, for example, can be easily diagnosed, chronic back pain is not so easy. We know that when muscles are weak from lack of use the spine is more at risk due to the continual strain on the spine, so many causes of chronic back pain can be linked to a sufferer’s lifestyle. For example, those who lead sedentary lives, who don’t exercise and who have bad posture are likely candidates for this debilitating condition. Experts cite smoking, being overweight, a lack of physical fitness and the sufferer’s occupation (bending and twisting, lifting) as likely causes of chronic back problems.
Don’t suffer in silence; help is out there
If you are one of the many who suffers from chronic back pain you don’t have to suffer in silence. There are things you can do to break the cycle of symptoms. Many people think back problems can’t be cured, but that is wrong. There is help out there and all you have to do is take the small step of calling your doctor or chiropractor to set you on the path to better health.
Over the past 20 years, Chiropractic research and treatments have developed and improved and it is widely accepted as an effective and safe method of treating pain. As well as adjustments to the spine and joints your chiropractor can advise you about exercise and nutrition and help you to lead a healthier, pain-free life.
Visit Adaptive Chiropractic Richmond where the chiropractor Dr Clarence Ho will conduct a detailed examination, including orthopedic, neurological, and postural screenings and establish whether or not it may be of benefit to you. You’ll find Adaptive in the health hub of Richmond, directly behind the Epworth Hospital and off Bridge Road. Call for an appointment:
Adaptive Chiropractic Richmond
85 Erin St, Richmond VIC 3121, Australia
+61 3 9445 8975