Thursday, 17 October 2013

Have you experienced back pain?

How many of you have experienced back pain? I bet 80 – 90% of you answered yes, I too have suffered back pain.

The reason I ask is because I recently read a very interesting and somewhat controversial article which featured on The Age website titled ‘The truth about back pain’ written by Aviva Lowy.

In the article Professor Chris Maher, Director of the musculoskeletal Division at the George institute for Global Health, talks about back pain. He explains that in the majority of cases when there is no specific cause for the pain, patients are misinformed from various websites and/or are over treated and over medicated. What individuals who have back pain should be making sure they are physically active and start off by only taking paracetamol for pain relief.

In late 2012, patients were administered epidural steroid injections for back pain, some of those were contaminated and caused an outbreak of fungal meningitis in the US.

This raises numerous questions in my mind but won that comes to mind is why do we suffer from back pain if there are no evident causes? In 2010 Global Burden of Disease claims back pain is the most disabling health condition in Australia, the study showed in terms of years lived with a disability, lower back pain was ranked number one.

Professor Maher states the triggers of back pain is not clear but there seems to be a strong genetic component. When different risk factors such as vibration, lifting, smoking or being overweight, the findings have been inconsistent.

Most of us have experienced back pain at some point not knowing the cause and to think there may be a genetic cause is ground breaking.

There is often this thought that if you experience back pain, don’t do any exercise, relax on the couch and rest. This isn’t the way to manage a bad back, make sure you keep active, it will help relieve any back problems you may be experiencing.

If you would like to read the article for yourself the link is attached below.

Tristan Simmons
Healthy Living Director - Mill Park Leisure

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