Did you know that one in six Australians endure the physical and mental impact of chronic back pain every day? This week marks Spinal Health Week, an initiative of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia and the 2017 campaign slogan is: Chronic Back Pain? Help is at Hand. Well, the team at North Shore Family Chiropractors are certainly here with helping hands. If you are unsure of whether you have chronic pain or not, it is defined as a health condition that lasts for three months or longer. So why do some 3.7 million Australians struggle with this agonising national health issue day after day without help or relief?
“While I don’t think there’s any consensus on what the main causes of chronic back pain are, I do believe the following three issues can lead to people suffering pain much longer than they should,” says Dr Darren:
- A lack of diagnosis or misdiagnosis: Rather than seeking accurate diagnosis and support from professionals trained to help with spinal issues (think chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists), people instead visit their GP and are typically prescribed strong pain medications without any particular diagnosis of what the cause might actually be. This bandaid effect also crops up when people self-medicate and take pain medication without seeing a doctor, let alone an expert practitioner. If you’re suffering ongoing back pain, go and see a chiropractor sooner rather than later who can help relieve your back pain without the use of surgery or drugs!
- Chronic lifestyle problems: We are all guilty of bad lifestyle habits that are repeated over a long period of time and rarely change, if ever, but Dr Darren says that some bad habits can really impact your back’s health. “Sitting in front of computers, iPhones and iPads without proper support and without taking regular breaks can really impact your spine,” says Dr Darren. “The body — and the spine — need exercise and movement to stay healthy and sitting for extended periods does a lot of damage over time.” He adds that significant weight gain as the body ages is another factor that increasingly impacts the body and therefore spine health. The message here is to take regular breaks, get active, and keep on moving…
- Congenital or genetic factors: Dr Darren says that congenital or genetic factors occur when people aren’t born with a healthy spine, or they simply don’t develop a healthy spine throughout their childhood. For example, a parent may have scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine), meaning there’s a much higher likelihood that their child will also have scoliosis. Congenital and genetic factors are a particular area of expertise for Dr Darren, so give the practice a call on 9419 3144 if you suspect you or your child might have inherited back problems — these are manageable and treatable in the right hands.
So why do so many of us put up with chronic back pain?
“There’s a mindset that back pain will just go away on its own… eventually…” explains Dr Darren. “Unfortunately — and I don’t mean to be controversial — but it’s very common for medical doctors to say ‘just take these pills and see me again in a couple of weeks’… However, statistics show that this approach simply doesn’t work and more often than not results in chronic and constant back pain that could have been alleviated, if not healed, if the patient had seen a chiropractor in the first place.”
And if you’re seeking relief from back pain, it’s worth noting that most therapies that you might consider (including chiropractic, osteopathy or physiotherapy) focus mostly on functional improvement. At North Shore Family Chiropractors, the team uses a well-researched and proven technique called Chiropractic Biophysics or CBP, a more scientific approach to spinal realignment and pain relief that focuses on making more permanent, long-lasting improvements to the structure of the spine and the body.
“We’re all about trying to take unhealthy or misaligned spines and gradually and carefully turning them into normal, healthy spines, which improves our clients’ many postural problems and alleviates their pain, ultimately giving them a much better quality of life,” says Dr Darren.
And if you’d like some further help to improve your spinal health and general wellbeing, check out The Chiropractors’ Association of Australia’s new apps (downloadable from the App Store): the Just Start Walking app will track your walks, log your walking history and notify you of local events to get you moving, while the Straighten Up (Australia) app offers reminders and tips to help you improve your posture.
For an appointment at North Shore Family Chiropractors please give us a call on 02 9419 3144, we’d love to see you and help you with your chronic back pain