Estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey show about 3.7 million Australians have back problems in any given year.
Somewhere between 70–90% of people will suffer from lower back pain in some form at some point in their lives.
As an Osteopath, I work with people with all types of back issues each day in clinic providing relief and advice about what to do with their back issues and how best to manage them in the future. But there are some key features that really make my ears prick up.
One of the first questions I ask once someone has booked in for a back issue is: “How does it feel in the morning when you wake up?”
It is really helpful for me in understanding someone’s back problem if they’ve been suffering with back stiffness in the morning, even if it is minor.
There are loads of reasons why this might be happening. Your mattress, sleeping position, sedentariness, job and level of fitness all contribute. But the most important thing to do if you are waking up in the morning and noticing it’s difficult getting dressed or putting your shoes on because your back is stiff – is to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT and change your behaviour!
For me, the best way to think about a stiff back in the morning is that it’s sign of an unhappy back. A lot of people who end up with an acute back injury have been just carrying on with a business-as-usual approach and ignoring their back stiffness for some time. They are often very busy or stressed and feel they don’t have time to do anything about it. That might be the time to make an appointment and check in with a therapist like an Osteopath to help it along- but at the very least try to follow some of the advice I have listed below. It might help prevent you acutely injuring your back and becoming part of the statistics listed at the start of this article.
Set aside some time in your day to stretch your back- not first thing- but maybe in the evening.
Learn a few basic back stretch positions to help gently stretch your back.
As a general guide when you are stretching your back- if it feels good, it’s probably doing you good. If it feels bad, it probably isn’t.
Try to relax your back in these stretch positions. Slow your breathing down and deliberately try to relax your back.
If you don’t know where to start or things are getting worse then go and consult with a health professional like an Osteopath. We deal with this kind of thing every day.
I hope this information helps someone suffering with back pain. It’s very common and can be quite disabling when it gets mismanaged or becomes persistent.
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Estimates from the Australian
Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey show about 3.7 million Australians
have back problems in any given year.
Somewhere between 70–90% of
people will suffer from lower back pain in some form at some point in their