Back Pain - To Train Or Not To Train?
Oxygen Magazine Australia|Issue 100

Back pain is normal and very common. In fact, 80per centof people will experience an episode of back pain during their lifetime and the overall prevalence of lower back pain is found to be higherin womenthan in men. Ouch!

Andrew Wild

In happier news, most people will also see a significant improvement in their symptoms within the first two weeks of an acute episode of back pain and an estimated 85 per cent of people are fully recovered by three months. Only a very small number of people develop longstanding, chronic problems.

Pain is a complex phenomenon and may involve actual or potential tissue damage, but it is the alarm system of our body and it certainly demands our attention. When we experience pain, the alarm is telling your body that there is potential danger, but due to the complex nature of pain, it doesn’t always correlate to damage.

Think about how much a paper cut hurts compared to a bruise. The paper cut doesn’t look damaging but it hurts like hell while a bruise may look serious and may not hurt at all.

So, ladies, what should you do if you experience back pain?

Scans are rarely needed

Many BP and LBP patients are wrongly sent in for a scan to rule out anything sinister, which is time-consuming and often costly! Evidence suggests that scans only show something relevant and potentially disabling in less than 5 per cent of people with back pain. Too many health professionals are ‘scan happy’.

The results of X-ray, MRI and CT scans don’t typically correlate to the symptoms and can be detrimental to the healing process, as they increase a patient’s fear and avoidance of activity.

Scans are only 100% necessary when a clinical exam reveals red flags. However, scans for low-scale back pain without indication of serious underlying conditions (red flags) have not been shown to improve outcomes and often show up things that are not linked with the pain they are scanning. These pathologies are often more an indication of ageing and genetics rather than serious damage.

MYTHS BUSTED

Back pain is caused by something being out of place

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