Most of us will experience back or neck pain at some point in our lives. It can be a life changing condition affecting physical, social and emotional aspects of your life.
Much of the language surrounding back and neck pain, and the sensitivity of diagnostic imaging, can contribute to feelings of vulnerability and confusion regarding ongoing pain.
In acute cases of back and neck pain, imaging is often not required unless your Doctor, Physiotherapist or other health professional deem it to be relevant from their assessment. What we must consider is that due to the multiple factors (individual to each patient) that can influence pain, X-rays and scans don’t tell us the full story.
Recent research investigating imaging findings in people without back pain has shown high levels of disc degeneration and disc bulges. In 30 year olds, 50% had disc degeneration and 40% had disc bulges in the absence of pain. These percentages increase with age and are considered normal aging, like getting wrinkles or grey hair. So although there are times where imaging findings are very relevant, it is important to identify the times where the findings are less relevant to the pain presentation.
Here at West Coast Physiotherapy Centre, our physiotherapists spend time investigating the full picture, identifying the factors that may be contributing to your symptoms and developing a tailored management plan. This management is consistent with recent spinal pain management research which has evolved away from the older concepts of core stability, resting from activity and protecting our spines, to promoting a more active approach, targeting the whole person (i.e. the full picture) and ensuring patients know just how resilient our spines really are.
Getting this advice early is really important to prevent persistence of pain and help you develop helpful self-management strategies. Manual therapy may be useful in the initial stages in conjunction with an individual exercise program to restore your movement and activity levels.
If you are suffering from back or neck pain, and are unsure what to do about it, let us provide you with an expert assessment of your condition and an appropriate treatment plan.