Everyday back pain: Strategies to deal with lower back pain

We are shining a light on the silent majority (80% of the population in their lifetimes) who suffer back pain. These people will tell their stories on how they diagnose, treat and live with backs that don’t always do what they should.

1. Details

2. When (how long ago) did you first have back pain?

I started having issues with my back around the age of 30.

3. How did your back pain start?

I was pretty active; surfing, running and generally keeping fit and worked a normal 9 to 5 desk job where I sat most of the day. It was hard to pinpoint exactly what triggered it but I think it was a mixture of all of the above and not stretching enough. Now the main trigger seems to be extended sitting, which I found out on a recent 8-hour car ride!

4. What sort of back pain do you get? (describe it as best you can)

I had lower back pain and pain in the top of the buttocks. It usually happens on one side and just feels incredibly tight.

5. For the couple of months after you started getting back pain (if you’ve had it this long or longer), how did you deal with the pain?

I started taking anti-inflammatory medicine and painkillers to dull the pain and free myself up. I also pulled back on the sport that I thought was causing the pain and increased the number of stretches.

After a month or so the pain had not gone away and when it started affecting my sleep I decided I needed to do something about it. I then started going to a physiotherapist who did some light massage, machine massage (with suction pads) and showed me a couple of stretches. This dulled the pain enough to go back to some of the sport I loved but it was always lingering there in the background.

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6. How has your management of the pain changed from then until now?

For the 3 months after seeing the physiotherapist I continued the stretching regime, which allowed me to go back to playing sport. Saying that, I always had dull back pain in the background then out of the blue I had another “flair up”. I then decided that I needed to try something different. A friend recommended a sports masseuse for a deep tissue massage. This was an extremely painful massage but after 3 sessions my back felt like new, it was a miracle!

I was going really well until a couple of months later I had a “flair up” again; and again I went back to the masseuse to fix it. This went on for about 12 months and around then I read about the benefits of standing. After trialing standing instead of sitting, it became apparent that the sitting was the major cause of my issues.

7. What is most effective for you?

I now mix standing, exercise and stretching and avoid prolonged sitting. By doing this I have managed to keep my back pain under control.

8. If you use standing as a pain minimizing strategy, how have you incorporated it into your daily routine?

I usually stand for the first couple of hours in the morning. I will then sit for an hour and then stand for another 2 hours. I alternate between standing and sitting on a 2:1 ratio. I also take all of my phone calls standing or walking about; I find I think more clearly and am more alert.

Written by Maxime

Last Updated: November, 7, 2020 Picture Credits: Ergonofis

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4,004 hours of sitting per year.

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