Have you ever found yourself wondering ‘Why does my back hurt?’. Well, you’re not alone. The majority of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, back pain is the biggest single cause of disability throughout the UK and accounts for 7% of GP consultations. 11% of men and 16% of women have chronic low back pain and 4.1 million working days are lost to it each year (BMJ).
It’s not all bad news, though. Raj Selvarajah, Clinical Director at LycaHealth explains: “The vast majority of back pain problems get better in just a few weeks. However, if you’re experiencing back pain that has not improved with rest, it may be time to seek professional help.”
Here at LycaHealth our physiotherapy-led back pain clinic in Canary Wharf, East London provides assessment, diagnosis, and treatment for back pain.
Back pain can take many forms including (but not limited to):
- Shooting or stabbing pain
- Aching muscles
- Pain that is better when lying down
How is back pain diagnosed?
Back pain is usually diagnosed after an assessment. At LycaHealth you’ll initially be seen by one of our experienced physiotherapists who will ascertain a thorough understanding of your symptoms and will assess you in order to provide an accurate diagnosis.
It may sometimes be necessary for you to undergo imaging to get to the heart of the issue causing you pain.
An MRI scan, X-ray, CT scan or ultrasound may be required to correctly diagnose back pain. An X-ray may be used to ascertain whether you have a broken or fractured bone or arthritis and a CT scan or MRI scan can show issues like problems with bones, nerves, ligaments, muscles, herniated discs.
At LycaHealth you’ll benefit from access to our five-star diagnostic imaging centre on site – this means that any necessary tests can be completed right away, in the same building. Sometimes it is not always possible to say what is causing the pain, but our 3.0T MRI scanner is twice as powerful as most others, meaning it is more accurate and more likely to show any issues.
Back pain causes
A lack of exercise can put you at a higher risk of experiencing back pain, as can smoking, excess body weight and age.
Pain in the back can often be triggered by lifting or twisting incorrectly, repetitive movements, and sitting incorrectly for long periods of time.
Some of the most common causes of back pain we see include:
Sciatica: Pain that is caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve in the spine.
Slipped disc (prolapsed disc): Pain that occurs when the cartilage between the spinal vertebrae has slipped out of place
Arthritis: Inflammation of the joint or joints.
Osteoporosis: A bone disease which weakens the bone, making them fragile.
Muscle strain: Overstretched or torn muscle fibres through repetitive or improper use.
What helps back pain?
If you are suffering with back pain there are a few things you can do to help:
Stretch: Simple stretching for your back can help to manage back pain and relieve tension.
Keep moving: It may sound counterintuitive, but staying active has been shown to help people recover quicker. We’re not saying your should jump right into a CrossFit workout, but a gentle walk or swim will help.
Anti-inflammatories: NSAIDs (Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen can help to reduce inflammation and provide some relief from back pain.
Hot/cold: Some people find hot and cold packs help to reduce the pain.
If the pain doesn’t get better over the course of a few weeks, you should seek the help of your doctor or a physiotherapist.
Treatment for back pain
The treatment you receive for your back pain will depend largely on your symptoms and diagnosis. After your initial consultation and diagnosis with one of our physiotherapists, a carefully considered treatment plan will be tailored to you and the source of your back pain. Sometimes it may be necessary to refer a patient to a pain consultant within LycaHealth.