• Michelle Lieu

How To: Survive your First Episode of Back Pain

Low back pain is something that WILL affect about 80% of Australians, depending on their job, age or income levels. However, how do you know what to do when you experience back pain for the first time? Hint: DOES NOT depend on the severity of pain.


Between Jan 2016 and July 2018, there were over 14,000 visits to 3 major hospitals in Sydney in relation to low back pain (1). This may not seem like a significant number, but if you factor in that this only relates to THREE hospitals within ONE state, you can see how it starts to add up.


So who do you call when you're experiencing low back pain?




ED -- Emergency departments should only be reserved for those that demonstrate what we call ‘red flags’ (2); essentially signs and symptoms that may suggest something more serious, which includes:
  • Sudden and significant weakness (not due to pain)

  • Sudden bladder/bowel issues

  • Tingling and numbness in groin region

  • Recent trauma related with age -- ?Fractures

  • Unexpected weight loss/fever onset/unremitting night pain


You can expect that once inside the ED, you may be asked to undergo a range of scans and tests to rule out anything serious and be sent home with or without medications.

Remember, severe low back pain does not always mean a severe problem.


GP -- GPs can be a great port of call, if you visit them for the right reasons:
  • When advised by your trusted health professional

  • When coupled with chronic co-morbidities

  • Medicare Care Plans

  • Referrals to other specialists

They can recommend some simple stretches that may ease some of the pain, but will likely refer you on to see a health professional like a physiotherapist anyway.


In most cases, save yourself time and see a physiotherapist first.


PHYSIO -- Experts in physical injuries and pain which may include:
  • Musculoskeletal pain -- inflammatory or mechanical

  • Radiculopathy symptoms (pain spreading to other areas)

  • Muscular pain or weakness

  • Muscle spasms

  • Joint stiffness

  • History of similar pain episodes in the past

  • Deconditioning/lifestyle related


During your first session, we help you to understand how your low back pain may have happened, help diagnose the source of your pain, settle down your pain quickly and without medications and provide easy to understand knowledge for improved recovery and preventing future problems.


Low back pain can be debilitating and often recur if not treated properly, but at Physio Physique, our goal is to help YOU to be the expert of your own back pain so you rely less on us, and be empowered with the right tools to help yourself in the future.


So, if you’re experiencing back pain and aren’t sure what to do, book an appointment with us and we can help you start your journey to fight back pain!


As always, if you need us, we’ll be here 7 days per week.


Thank you for reading this blog and we hope it has provided some clarity around who to see after an episode of back pain.



References:


1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31164487/


2. https://www.aci.health.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/212889/Red_Flags.pdf

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