Why does my back hurt? My neck is killing me. My arms have no strength in them anymore. Why after a long day at work does my whole back feel so tired? These are a few common questions we sometimes ask ourselves from time to time. Most of us don’t have the answers to them and therefore suffer on until it “eventually” goes away, only to come back again!, or gets so bad that we go to a healthcare practitioner to look for help.
Low back pain is one of the most common complaints I hear about as a physical therapist. On the positives, 80-90% of episodes of low back pain resolve within 2 -3 months (Hides et al. 1996). Of the 5-10% that do develop chronic low back pain, 85% are classified as “non specific low back pain” (Dillingham 1995). This infers that there is no specific entity that anyone can point to, and say this is causing your pain.
I was sitting at the kitchen table with a few friends the other day, chatting over a cup of tea. One of the lads was telling us about the goings on at his rugby club, when the topic led to injuries. He began to tell us that he helps out when the lads get knocks, giving massages and perscribing stretches. Now this guy works in an office with no experience in musculoskeletal injuries, so in a nice way we put that to him. His response sums up his knowledge and probably paints a picture of what many people out there may believe. Quote, “Sure I have a few slipped discs in my back which give me trouble now and then, but I can sort it by just popping them back in”.