By Chiropractor Nick Loftus
Just today, I had a female patient who has said she’d rather give birth again than have another episode of sciatica (leg pain often associated with disc-related back pain). And she is not the first patient to have said that!
Back pain can affect your lifestyle pretty much in every way imaginable.
“Can I still play golf?” “Gardening’s ok right?” “I can’t possibly give up running!” “I’m self-employed and can’t afford to be off work”.
Or, “I live alone, will my back problem mean getting in outside help?” “My partner is housebound and depends on me”.
These are just some of the very real concerns and questions that regularly crop up with my patients when discussing their back pain and its implications.
And if you have had back pain of any significance in the past then you’ll know that daily routine activities as mundane as brushing your teeth or doing the ironing can take on an onerous quality of Herculean proportions!
The effects of back pain
Nothing makes you feel twice your age quite like a dose of severe back pain. You will experience new depths of grumpiness and probably be difficult to live with!
3 most common ways that back pain typically hinders “lifestyle”?
Trying to get gardeners to appreciate how bad gardening is for a weak back is a singularly thankless task. A more stubborn group of the population I have yet to meet!
It may well be very therapeutic growing your own veg and ridding your lawn of that last vestige of pesky moss but unfortunately for those of a green-fingered disposition virtually any gardening activity involves a posture that asks an awful lot of the spine. In particular when it is sustained over a period of more than a few minutes, which is more often than not the case.
I’m not saying to stop tending to your garden, but if you simply cannot resist it despite the red-faced arm-waving of your Chiropractor – then at least multi-task and take breaks every twenty minutes for some simple stretches to allow your muscles to adapt. See How to avoid back pain whilst gardening
This will make a huge difference to how you feel afterwards and almost certainly no difference to your prize-winning radishes!
The day job can cause back pain!
Of course you have to go to work to earn a living. But if you have a sedentary job – sitting for hours at a desk is the next biggest way back pain influences lifestyle, and vice versa.
If you have a history of back pain then make sure you sit straight, have a good supportive chair, good ergonomics and most importantly you get up and walk around whenever possible. Our bodies are meant to be active and unfortunately the typical modern desk job is anything but. See An ergonomic chair – hire or fire of an idea?
That old devil called age…
None of us like to think of ourselves as getting older and a little decrepit, with maybe a few older injuries catching up with us.
But if we want to enjoy the fruits of our labours then our free time is going to be a lot more productive and enjoyable if we just spend a few minutes each day doing some basic spinal exercises, get timely treatment when required and take our backs into account with everything we do.
What to do when experiencing back pain
If you’re in any doubt as to what you should do to look after your back then the chiropractors an dphysiotherapists at The Waldegrave Clinic are only too happy to dispense some advice over the phone or even better, in person.
Now, where did I put my leaf-blower….