Below I have linked a short video by Professor O’Sullivan, a back pain researcher, which I highly recommend watching. It contains some extremely useful information that I’m sure will increase your knowledge and provide you with a new view of your back pain. The presentation was intended for professionals and clinicians; as such, it contains a certain amount of technical language. However, I think you will easily be able to follow the main points.
The idea of weak core or that bones are out of place and need to be put back into alignment, spinal degeneration/arthritis (wear and tear) as causes of the low back is a very common and persuasive myth. Besides the fact these do not cause back pain, if you inform a person who has chronic back pain of this, it can increase their anxiety and fears. This can make the symptoms worse, increase feelings of vulnerability, and motivate people to invest unjustified faith in overly expensive treatment. Next time you go to a physiotherapist or chiropractor, remember this article, and I’m sure the things mentioned above will probably be repeated.
Of course, the overwhelming majority of back pain does stem from physical causes (see case study below); however, stress and anxiety can make matters worse. Unfortunately for the chronic back pain suffer, there is little understanding of the ways in which the muscles create chronic back pain, and there are no physiotherapy or chiropractic courses teaching students how to diagnose and treat the muscles to alleviate back pain. They generally rely on chiropractic adjustments, strengthening and stretching, which is another reason why so many therapies achieve such unsatisfactory results. Speaking from personal experience, when I trained as a chiropractor, virtually no time was spent on the muscular system in regards to how it sets up back pain and how to best approach the muscles.
The two photographs below show one of my patients who recently visited me with chronic back pain. The first photo (sorry that it’s rather blurry) was taken prior to the second treatment, and the second photo was taken post-third treatment. It is clear that the pain was being caused by physical problems, and after just three treatments, the pelvis and spine were more level, with the legs positioned correctly beneath the pelvis. While further treatment is necessary, this individual suffered from chronic back pain for more than a decade, which seriously distorted his posture, For this particular individual he had little life stress events, which had no bearing on his pain levels and if this were my focus he would of achieved the same minimal results he got from another chiropractor who supposedly “put his hip back in” or physiotherapist strengthening his core.
Most people need a holistic treatment that looks at the physical body as whole as well as potential life/stress events, without creating fear and vulnerability for a complete treatment, which can be difficult to find as there are very few ‘experts’ that have training in either one, yet alone both!