Non-surgical back care
Back pain can usually be avoided by having regular exercise and maintaining good general health, in particular avoiding excessive weight gain. In most cases a back specialist will advise patients who are overweight to adjust their diet and or exercise in order to achieve weight-loss.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help avoid back problems. Keeping up a regular and balanced exercise programme will help keep your back strong and mobile. It is particular important if your working life keeps you sedentary (sitting) for most of the time - most of us are sitting at breakfast, while commuting to work, at the desk in the office and then on the way home. Through all of this the back remains in a fairly static position which explains any stiffness you might have at the end of the day.
Breaking up the daily routine with some exercise can be a great help avoiding stiffness or more serious degenerative disease in your back. If you are looking for someone to prescribe an exercise regime to help strengthen or even to look after your back, talk to the team at your local gym or physiotherapist for guidance. It is important to avoid overdoing any exercise as is could potentially be harmful.
Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is eating a balanced diet. Many patients develop back pain as they gain weight, and losing this weight through a healthy diet combined with regular exercise will help in most cases. Some patients will recover completely with losing weight alone, though in almost all patients it will have a noticeable positive effect.
In some cases diet is a necessary step before undergoing surgery. When a patient is seriously overweight, this can increase the risks associated with surgery, the consultant spinal surgeon or dietician will advise a diet and exercise programme over a period of time. Working towards a target weight is important and have greatly improve the outcome for the patient.
Many people leading active lives will have physiotherapy at one time or another - whether it is for a 'knock' received from playing football or rugby, or a sprain for overstretching oneself. In the hands of a qualified physiotherapist, aches and pains can be successfully treated without needing to see a consultant spinal surgeon.
Sports injuries doesn't just mean injuries obtained while playing sport - they include injuries obtained while carrying out routine daily activities, even getting in or out of the car awkwardly. Sports injuries can be better described as injuries of motion.
If you are looking for a physiotherapist, it should be easy to find someone local to where you live or work using the internet. You can check whether a physiotherapist is registered with the Health Professions Council by visiting their website. You will also be able to search for physiotherapists with particular expertise in treating back pain.
Physiotherapy can be both preventative and a treatment, and is an essential part of any recovery after having surgery.
Most people with an employer will be familiar with their Occupational Health team - it is there to ensure that the workplace is a safe environment and will not cause harm to employees. A good example of this is the attention given to back care: companies will often have clear guidance on how to sit at a desk in a way that will minimise discomfort and stiffness in the back.
If you have back pain, ensure that you take advantage of the advice and assistance available to you in the workplace. Simply 'getting on with it' and suffering in silence will not help your back. The general principles applied to positioning yourself and setting out your workspace can be transferred to the home environment too, and will benefit your home and work life.
For any enquiries please contact Mrs Mandy O'Sullivan who will endeavour to help you in any way possible.