Are you a ‘BAD BACK’ person
Us physios have a funny saying whereby we talk about ‘emotional joints’. Broadly, this means a body part, when causing us pain, makes us pretty low. The back for example, takes over all your day to day activities when you are in pain. Your elbow – well, it might bother us for a bit, but it will get better and you will get on with your life. Same body, two very different approaches to pain.
This is important to understand, because the more we learn about back pain the more we understand that how we behave perpetuates or de-escalates the pain we experience. So, if you introduce yourself as ‘Hi My name is Susan, I work in accounts and I have back pain’ . You are reinforcing to yourself that you should be experiencing pain, right then and there!
Other ‘backy’ habits
It’s very easy to let back pain get in the way of normal life and ‘stop doing things’. Thoughts like; avoiding bending, not going somewhere, doing an activity, keeping up with others. Cause all kinds of trouble. It’s time to think; what’s the worse that will happen? I might have fun? Might not hurt?
If you find yourself falling into this trap, try to set yourself a little task of doing something that you would normally avoid. Just for a short time. That is, if it something that you are missing out on…no need to go and do something you really don’t like!
I hear ‘I love to cycle/swim/garden, but I don’t in case I do something to my back’ almost daily. My job is to ask you – what is that ‘something’? and challenge it. Chances are, you won’t. And that something, is just ache from not using it for a while. And let’s not forget, the spine is so strong and loves to move – it is crying out for a bit of a swim!
Good for the soul, good for the spine
Activities that make us happy, get us out and about being active are almost always excellent news for our spines. Thus, they should not be avoided due to unfounded fears. By telling people we meet, organising our days and stopping doing what we love because of back pain, we are creating a fear bubble that stops us thriving.
If you need to communicate your pain or differences due to your spine then try telling people you need to walk or stand during a meeting/social occasion, to keep yourself active/make your steps/keep blood flow to your brain/keep yourself strong’. This is the opposite to declaring you have a problem, rather you are taking care of keeping yourself fit and pain free. An important distinction to make. Not only does it let others know that you are a person who takes care of themselves, but makes you feel better as every time you tell someone you have back problem, your brain is listening and will reinforce that.
So, you have a back priority, not a back problem. So challenge that spine to do a little of something that you love and see what happens…