Self Care Week – Take Control Of Your Back Pain

As part of National Self Care Week (14th – 20th November) Sussex MSK Partnership East, the local NHS service for muscle, bone and joint problems, is focusing on taking control of back pain.

One of the biggest barriers for many people who suffer with chronic back pain is the fear that doing too much will make their problem worse. However, the advice from musculoskeletal (muscles, bones and joints) health professionals, including our Extended Scope
Practitioners, is to keep active.

When you have hurt your back, try to avoid bed rest beyond a day or so as inactivity can make you sore and stiff. The lower back is incredibly robust with strong bones, ligaments and muscles but these can become ‘out of condition’ if we don’t use them.
The key to managing your back pain and looking after your spine is to realise that your back is strong, but it may be sensitive.

Movement is the key to making it feel better. You should not be afraid to do everyday tasks, including lifting, but you may need to start off gradually.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has put together some myths and facts which may help you become more confident about managing your back pain.

Myth number 1: Moving will make my back pain worse.
Fact: People fear twisting and bending but it’s essential to keep moving. Gradually increase how much you are doing, and stay on the go.

Myth number 2: I should avoid exercise, especially weight training.
Fact: Back pain shouldn’t stop you enjoying exercise or regular activities. In fact, studies found that continuing with these can help you get better sooner including using weights where appropriate.

Myth number 3: A scan will show me exactly what is wrong.
Fact: Sometimes it will, but most often it won’t. Also, even people without back pain have changes in their spine so scans can cause fear that influences behaviour, making the problem worse.

Myth number 4: Pain equals damage.
Fact: This was the established view but more recent research has changed our thinking. Modern physiotherapy takes a holistic approach that helps people understand why they are in pain.

Self Care Week is an annual national awareness week that focuses on establishing support for self care across communities, families and generations. It aims to help people to look after their own health and their family’s, while managing demand on health services.

To find out more about National Self Care Week, visit www.selfcareforum.org.