Back Pain: When To See A Doctor For Help

I see back pain in the clinic pretty much daily. There’s a variety of massage techniques to treat your back pain. However, there is still a time when seeking further medical attention is necessary.

Low back pain can be attributed to a number of factors. This includes physical activity, injury, poor posture, obesity, and stress. Often I hear that low back pain came about from the general wear and tear of daily living and simple actions.

It’s the simplest movements like picking up something incorrectly that irritate the low back.

NHS England recognizes back pain as the largest single cause of disability in the UK.

The current NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines recommend manual therapy for lower back pain.

These recommendations include soft tissue techniques such as a sports massage.

The primary aim is to relieve muscle tension and muscle spasms around the low back. However, applying sports massage to the muscles above and below the low back offers relief and corrects imbalances.

Combining sports massage therapy with exercises, stretches, and psychological therapy is also beneficial.

When To See A Doctor For Back Pain

You should seek medical attention right away if you have any of the following. This list is known as 🚩 red flags or ⚠️warning signs in the medical world:

  • Numbness or tingling around your bottom or genitals
  • Sudden difficulty passing urine
  • Loose control of your bowels
  • Have bladder or bowel concerns
  • Are unsteady when you walk, your legs feel weak or your foot is dropping or dragging
  • Feel unwell
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Have a temperature
  • History of osteoporosis or cancer
  • Back pain is caused by a car accident or a fall from a height
  • Doesn’t improve by simple measures or home treatment
  • You are showing signs of cauda equina syndrome
  • You are suffering from chronic pain and haven’t sought primary care advice
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling or deformity in your back
  • Sciatic and radiating pain

Further information is available from NHS England here.

When any client reports low back pain, we complete a free consultation. This short face-to-face or phone conversation allows us to identify any concerns or red flags.

This way you leave the consultation with clear guidance on your next step. Whether that’s with another medical professional or with me.

Prevention Of Low Back Pain

Low Back pain can be managed and prevented with some simple lifestyle changes. These small changes can make a massive difference in the frequency and intensity of your pain. These changes will also complement your soft tissue therapy treatments.

1. Take Part In Regular Exercise.

I don’t mean going to the gym to lift heavy weights or run on a treadmill. The best action would be walking.

Walking is heavily underrated. Everyone can do it and it’s free.

You don’t need to set huge step goals or get annoyed that you didn’t get a 10,000-step goal streak on your apple watch. It’s likely, you have back pain because you don’t even hit 3000 steps per day.

This is the best place to start. Tackle 3,000 to 4,000 steps per day and build up slowly from there depending on your current commitments.

2. Lift Correctly (or not at all!) To Avoid Back Pain

I’m sure someone has said.

“Lift with your knees, not with your back”

We’ll I think this saying has become all too familiar. Yet it’s still 100% correct. Maybe we generally see this message for health and safety at work. I don’t know. But these techniques can be adapted to everyday life in order to prevent injuries.

3. Stretching

Make stretching a part of your everyday routine.

I often ask my clients to observe their pets and how often they stretch! My Collie dog (Finn🐶) stretches multiple times per day and so should we.

and yes… you’ll probably end up meeting him at some point as he randomly pokes his nose in during massages 🤣

We live in an environment where we just keep going. Yet some simple stretching can help us stay flexible and prevent injury.

4. Think Posture!

It is common knowledge that spending too long sitting down can cause injury and back pain. This could be at work or in the car. Either way, avoid long periods of inactivity.

Take a second to think about a long car journey. When you first sit in the car you adjust the rearview mirror from the last time you used the car. As the day unfolds we end up altering the position of the rearview mirror. Notice the mirror doesn’t actually move. Yet our postures (even during inactivity) change throughout the day.

Our posture is forever changing. Ultimately it changes to find the least path of resistance and avoid pain where possible.

Becoming mindful of our changing posture is crucial in the fight against back pain.

5. Weight Loss & Back Pain

Being overweight puts extra strain on our low backs. Particularly if we are carrying extra weight around our midsection. This can force the low spine into what is called a lordotic position. This excessive curve in the low spine places excess stress on all the muscles that enter that area.

Whilst 90% of what I do is within soft tissue therapy, I’ve also been a personal trainer for the past 20 years. In that time I’ve helped hundreds of clients tackle their weight.

As part of every sports massage treatment I always set time aside to discuss any homework. This could include guidance around setting realistic nutritional goals, or additional activity.

In summary

If you are concerned about your low back pain, it is not a bad thing to seek medical attention. You can use the red flags listed above to double-check before seeking any medical advice.

If you would like more information on how I can help reduce and eliminate your back pain you can contact me HERE.

Finally, you can book a massage treatment in Newquay with my user-friendly online booking system HERE

Looking forward to getting you pain-free

Neale

Soft Tissue Therapist based in Newquay

2 thoughts on “Back Pain: When To See A Doctor For Help

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *