How I overcame lower back pain by Dr Peter Collins.

Back Pain

I broke my back when I was 18 years old playing rugby league. The medical description of injury is a bilateral pars fracture, but unfortunately it was not properly diagnosed for another 13 years.

It happened when I was being tackled where my opponents lifted both legs towards the back of my head. As this happened and my body came crashing back to the ground something had to give and it was my spine. I heard two distinct pops and that was the beginning of my story with lower back pain.

After a few months of hoping my lower back pain would settle down I sort physical therapy. 3 months of regular appointments with little improvement I was finally sent for an x-ray, which noted some anomalies but not the actual fractures.

“…How individuals react to a new episode of pain is shaped and influenced by previous experience. Indeed, without learning from the experience, it would be difficult to cope with pain and maintain good health.”

Based on the report from the radiologist the physiotherapist recommended a series of home exercises. Some of those exercises actually aggravated the injury and delayed my recovery. However I do not blame the physiotherapist, as it was the radiologist’s oversight.

In the ensuing years, I’ve had multiple episodes of lower back pain. I opted to no longer run or play football and unconsciously choose non-weight bearing exercises such as surfing, swimming and cycling. An incidental finding from an x-ray taken to assess my posture before I studied to be a chiropractor, finally gave me correct diagnosis and directed the management of my LBP.

“Most patients with back pain will have experienced a previous episode, acute attacks often occur as exacerbations of chronic low back pain. So recurrences are common.”

It is these experiences that have influenced my interest in chiropractic and rehabilitation.

As a chiropractor I strongly believe the incorporation of education alongside manual therapy decrease’s pain and improves function, which ultimately leads to the optimisation of your health.

Below we will explore the elements involved in lower back pain (LBP), my own personal experience and what I would recommend as I have lived basically pain free for the last five years.

Emotional distress due to persistent pain can negatively impact an individual’s cognition, concentration and behaviour.

Recent studies indicate that factors of our working environment such as prolonged sitting or office work hours, intensive workloads, stress and poorly designed workstations contribute to the development of acute and chronic LBP.

LBP is the most common cause of work-related disability in people under 45 years of age.

Through my own journey, I would advocate the literature that supports a multidisciplinary approach such as chiropractic care and exercise in addressing subacute and chronic LBP.

When a chiropractor adjusts the joints involved in the region of pain and spasm, it leads to the neurological disruption of the cycle that decreases the symptoms. In the presence of chronic injuries where the soft tissue is weaker, stiffer and more sensitive, spine manipulation aids the remodelling of the scar tissue improving its strength, range of motion and overall function.

A general exercise programme that incorporates core muscular strengthening to enhance support of the lumbar spine, increasing flexibility of the muscle-tendons and ligaments to aide functional movement and an aerobic fitness component to boost blood flow that delivers nutrients to the involved soft tissues, which assists the healing process while decreasing stiffness that can result in LBP.

If you no longer want to be a part of the 3.7 million Australians who live with LBP daily and you want to get moving pain free or just continue doing the activities that you love, then seeing a chiropractor might just be your best option. For a tailored plan and assessment you can view my schedule here.

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Dr Peter Collins
BChiroSc, MChiro

References:

Gordon R, Bloxham S. A Systematic Review of the Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain. Healthcare. 2016. Apr: 1-19.

Ye S, Jing Q, Wei C, Lu J. Risk factors of non-specific neck pain and low back pain in computer using office workers in China: a cross- sectional study. BMJ Open. 2017. Apr: 1-7.

Linton SJ, Shaw WS. Impact of Psychological Factors in the Experience of Pain. Physical Therapy. 2011. 91:700-711.

Koes BW, van Tulder MW, Thomas S. Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain. BMJ. 2006. 332: 1430-4.

Tveito TH, Hysing M, Eriksen HR. Low back pain interventions at the workplace/ a systematic literature review. Occupational Medicine. 2004 54: 3-14.

Chirotrust. The Healing of Injured Soft Tissue [Internet]. 2014. Available from https://chiro-trust.org/whiplash/healing-injured-soft-tissues-including-neck-back/

Scully D, Kremer J, Meade MM, Graham R, Dudgeon K. Physical exercise and psychological well being: a critical review. Br J Sports Med. 1998. 32: 111-120.

Janwantanakul P, Pensri P, Moolkay P, Jiamjarasangsi W. Development of a risk score for low back pain in office workers-a cross-sectional study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2011. 12: 12-23.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Back Problems. [Internet] 2017. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/arthritis-other-musculoskeletal-conditions/back-problems/what-are-back-problems

Kula Health

Article by Dr Peter Collins

Peter’s enthusiasm for staying active coupled with a fascination for rehabilitative capabilities of the human body inspired him to leave the mining industry and become a chiropractor.