Many people who attend the clinic with back pain are here because back pain is having a huge effect on their lives. Most of the things people want to get back to and do comfortably can seem to be a long way off, these things can include; working comfortably (desk, manual job etc.), exercising and moving better, lifting your kids, doing the garden and generally feeling more flexible and mobile. Most people I see have been on this journey already at some point in the past and are familiar with this early-stage soreness and the limitations than come with it.
Many people have tried everything!
Many people have also tried lots of treatment, stretches and exercises to get better and while the pain decreases, they never fully get their confidence back in their body and the cycle restarts. This is the point most people with recurrent issues get to on a regular basis, they get some treatment, the initial soreness, limitations and restrictions reduce to an acceptable level, and they feel they can try re-engage with the things in their life again, so they drop off treatment and recovery and STOP their rehabilitation.
Over time many people do not realise that they are losing the freedom to move and live how they used to , when this happens repeatedly, many people begin to lose confidence and trust in their body. I see this in many people with back pain who tell me they have stopped doing certain movements, activities etc. because they fear they will cause more problems in the future. This may seem like a good idea but long term this can actually create more problems than solutions.
The #1 Mistake – Dropping off rehabilitation too early!
Hands down this is the BIGGEST mistake people make, they feel now that because the pain has reduced or gone, they do not need more rehabilitation. Now, as they try and get back to more challenging activities, or when life demands more of them than they are prepared for, the issues come back again. This leads to a return to the acute phase of soreness and lots of frustration with the treatment. For many people they feel increased levels of frustration , anger and stress , which amplifies the pain and the issues. Many people become resigned that the problems will NEVER get better and even seek more extreme interventions like surgery and injections.
The secret to long term change
The secret to avoiding this is completing your rehabilitation from beginning to end, gradually increasing the challenge on you and your body as your treatment progresses. This is because the challenges you do in your rehabilitation need to replicate the most challenging part of your life, helping you become as well prepared as possible. Long term change is a key part of rehabilitation , if you haven’t broken through the early exercises you are missing a huge part of your recovery.
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Head Physiotherapist and Clinic Director