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Help with Acute Low Back Pain

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Summary

1. Acute low back pain is common and bothersome for around 3 weeks - not forever

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2. The pain is almost always not because of serious disease or injury, despite what your mums friends uncle says 🙃 - but there are exceptions 3. You almost certainly do not need an MRI or surgery - but there are exceptions

4. TLC Hamilton osteopaths provide effective pain relief as well as helpful advice and can help rule out serious causes of pain. Book here


1. Acute low back pain is common and short lasting.

We like to compare it to a cold - A lot of people get colds. The vast majority get over them in a short period of time with no serious complications. More often than not all you need is a bit of time and a helping hand to ease your discomfort and then you're back paying taxes before you know it.


Most people will experience acute low back pain at some point in there life too. Research puts this number at around 80% of the population. Of this, most acute low back pain significantly eases by 3 weeks - regardless of whether people seek out treatment. Typically we see this as one week of feeling pain most days, most of the time. Followed by one week of pain during specific activities. Followed by pain some of the time during specific activities. Not weeks of terrible pain. On that note, you can learn about how we help people speed up their recover below.


2. Not related to disease

Previous generations of therapists thought that severe pain was because of severe damage, and this made sense - until we looked into it with modern tech. We know now, through very good science, that the degree of pain you feel is most often not related to the severity of tissue damage. As such, a small strain can lead to a lot of temporary pain - and often does. We also know that the vast majority of back pain is not related to a disease or significant injury. You can read the exceptions here.


Probably the most important point that we have come to understand is that by teaching people with acute low back pain the modern view of pain can help them feel less pain. And this is probably because they are reassured that their pain is some what normal and will pass - just like a cold.


3. Do I need an MRI, Xray or Ultrasound for my acute low back pain?

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https://www.physio-network.com/blog/the-real-truth-about-pain-science-and-body-mechanics-a-response-to-criticism/

Probably not. In fact almost never - and especially in Nz. There are exceptions of course. But overall the modern science is very clear that imaging is not necessary and can be harmful to patients.


How can it be harmful? Well in the above section we talked about how pain is not correlated to the severity of the injury - This actually goes one step further. You can have a bulging disc or signs of arthritis for years and years but have NO pain or dysfunction as a result. But when these are found on MRI a surgeon may say "ah, that's why you are in pain" which can then lead to un-necessary surgery (Most surgeons are now wise to this so fortunately it happens less and less).


The truth of the matter is that discs, muscles joints etc etc all change as we get older and that these changes are typically not painful and do not need to be corrected and are often not the key cause of your pain.


4. The exceptions

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Reasons to seek urgent medical care include - Symptoms seen in the image here -> (Sciatica alone is not usually an issue) - A high fever with back pain - Changes in kidney function indicative of kidney stones or similar

- Changes that may suggest prostate involvement - Active cancer Reasons for extra caution, but not urgent care, include - Random onset of pain. That is, there is no clear reason for why you have back pain - History of cancer - Family history of prostate, kidney or bladder issues.


5. How TLC osteopaths help

We have a team of very well qualified and experienced Hamilton osteopaths here at TLC and we genuinely care. Based on our experience, we find people want two things when they are in acute pain - They want to know why they are in pain and what they can do to manage it.


At TLC we run 'no rush' booking times (40 minutes) which allows ample time to discuss your concerns, examine you thoroughly and make a plan. From there we offer education to help you make sense of the situation and tailor pain relieving treatment that is safe, effective and inline with modern thinking. This plan always includes useful home based exercises, stretches and lifestyle advice to help you overcome the pain in the shortest time possible. If necessary we will refer you on for further investigation. You can book in online by clicking here here



Written by the Team at TLC

TLC Osteopaths,

Hamilton Nz


Hamilton osteopath nz. Experienced Hamilton Osteopaths. Pregnancy osteopath. Baby osteopath. Back pain osteopath. Headache osteopath. Acupuncture with osteopathy. Osteopathy with acupuncture. Osteopaths Hamilton. Hamilton Osteopath. Waikato Osteopath. Maternity osteopath




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