A lot can be done for back pain

Let me ask a couple of questions to break the ice and set the theme for this article, writes Stuart McKinnon.

How many of you; are suffering from back pain at present? Have suffered from back pain? Feel as if you have a weak back as a result of a past incident?

If you have answered yes to any of those questions don’t worry, you are in good company along with 19/20 of the population.

The irony is that so much can be done to prevent the onset of back pain. Pain is a ‘symptom’ and for the vast majority, is non-specific; manifested by poor posture and soft tissue disease.

The body is an intricate web of guy ropes (muscles) which attach to skeletal frame; complicated somewhat by breaks in this system which allow us to move (joints).

The application of tension across the body is known as tensegrity.

Examples of tensegrity can be found in architecture and everyday objects; bridges, stadium roofs, tents, bike wheels and children’s climbing frames. If any of the links are week it will result in instability, the body is no different.

Back Pain can be debilitating for some especially sudden onset; normally from a bending and twisting motion.

The choice for treatment is very individual and can range from over the counter pain killers, GP to acupuncturist. One of the most important interventions is client control and an understanding of the mechanics of back pain and its management.

During pregnancy the fetus grows resulting in forward migration of the center of gravity and stretches the abdominal musculature.

The same adaptations are seen in abdominal obesity. This imbalance can result in low back pain as an excessive low back curve develops. The imbalance of the core musculature should be addressed to prevent ongoing low back pain.

It should be noted that this example is a front to back imbalance, but can also occur side to side and in rotation, or a combination of all.

For example forward rotation on one side of the pelvis leads to rotation of the spine, leading to shoulder pain and leg length discrepancies.

It may take several treatments and corrective exercise and everyone is different and correction should be specific to the client and presentation. Appreciating which muscles to loosen and which tighten.

Preventative measures can be taken in the form of exercise and many options available in today’s society; traditional weight training, Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi which are commonly promoted and used to strengthen the core.

What ever you choose it should aim to; Rebalance tensegrity, the body’s structures in an effort to regain ‘neutral’ posture, reducing stressors on muscles and in turn joints therefore reducing pain.

It should also instruct the principles of core stability and promote functional activity and correct movement patterns.

When was the last time your body had an MOT? Take the first step and prevent any ‘breakdowns’ which result in loss of earnings, leisure and quality family time. Stuart McKinnon is lead tutor at Ayrshire Lifecare.