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Having treated 12 patients today with 7 of them suffering just for back pain prompted me to write a little about it as it seems to be an epidemic sweeping office workers in particular. It would strongly suggest that sitting still in one position for over 8 hours should rather be avoided. As my business partner Claire always says, Fidget! Fidget! Fidget! … As much as possible to keep the muscles warm and joints moving (I am not so sure how your boss will react to fidgety employees but it works!).

I always tell patients to follow the four day rule (my rule ;-)). If the pain subsides within 4 days than it will probably heal itself without any intervention. However if you are experiencing pain for a longer period of time then it is worth coming in to get it checked out and to determine the cause of the problem and help facilitate the healing process. One of the main aggravating factors of low back pain is sitting in chairs especially poorly designed chairs that have offer no back support. However, the back can also be aggravated by a combination of problems such as poor or sustained posture, lack of exercise, stress, illness, sports injury etc.  The back is a complicated structure. Sometimes a pain may develop immediately after lifting something heavy, or after an awkward twisting movement. It has many structures (joints, ligaments, tendons, disc, fascia etc) which can heal with treatment usually over a period of 6-12 weeks. If the back is weak it will be good to include a strengthening program or join a local Pilate’s group. Treatment includes the joints, stretching and massaging the muscles and ligaments. We help the body to heal itself.

Other types of back pain are nerve root pain, often called sciatica. This type of back pain is much less common. Nerve root pain means that a nerve coming out from the spinal cord is irritated or pressed on by a joint or a disc.  Pain is felt along the course of the nerve, often down the leg and sometimes as far as the calf and foot. Symptoms such as numbness, pins and needles and weakness can be felt.