Low Back Pain x6 weeks, Normal?
Apparently, 6 weeks of back pain is normal. Use it or loose it, now has new meaning. Australian Public Service Announcements gave proof that the regions where education to continue activity and return to work, despite low back pain, was effective for preventing chronic low back pain. In contrast, the regions that did not have these educational PSAs had higher incidence of chronic back pain. These educational PSAs were the perfect contradiction to the fear based belief that experiencing pain will create further injury or even death.
Did you know that most everyone gets better from low back pain injuries and that the severity of pain does not correlate with the outcome and duration of the pain? I did not know this. Regular follow up, exercise and reasonable expectations go a long way towards preventing low back injuries from becoming subacute to chronic. Just four one hour support groups have been shown to enhance the communication, to provide healing reassurance for the body’s natural ability to heal and understand what is normal. Subacute low back pain is between 3 weeks to three months after the initial injury.
Talk about getting out of your comfort zone! I remember when I strained my back lifting a patient in a wheelchair. It was challenging to trust the doctor when he said I would not hurt myself further by being active. He then explained that my back and stomach muscles needed to be strengthened to prevent further injury. I really felt that the doctor was uncaring in telling me to feel the pain and move anyway. Trust is tricky. Good thing my mind was strong and it was my parts of my body that were weak. Eventually, I discovered that my back, just like my knee, hurt more when I was not active, then when I was active. Also, allowing my fears to surface and be released created space to do the work needed for healing. Now remember, I am talking about the weeks after the initial injury, medical attention and assessment.
According to an evidence based article that I have posted on my Health Wealth and Wisdom page, “Early intervention using behavioral medicine rehabilitation approach may enhance recovery and reduce chronic pain and disability in patients with first onset sub acute Low Back pain.” Interdisciplinary care, emotional, physical and cognitive therapies cost more, however, pay off in the long run. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For sure. I am glad I followed my doctor’s advice and now know that any twinge of pain is an indication that I need to take charge of my activity level. I encourage you to read the full article posted on my “Health Wealth and Wisdom” page and refer to April 7, 2010 JAMA article by Roger for further studies.