Living with back pain can feel as if you’re taking one step forward and two steps back. You make progress but then the ongoing pain and discomfort, regardless of opioids or treatment, causes you to feel as if you’re falling further behind.

The discomfort caused by a back-pain injury can also lead to confused and impulsive decision-making, made out of desperation, with no clear direction as to the right path of action to lessen the pain:

  • Do you need an X-Ray?
  • An MRI?
  • Painkillers?

Often, the answer to all these questions is no, however, General Practitioners and hospitals routinely ignore this, sending 40-60% of people with back pain for scans due to standard procedure. Interestingly,  research from Jan Hartvigsen, University of Southern Denmark, challenges this status quo, suggesting that 80% of such scans are useless.

So, what is an effective alternative to wasting time and money on scans?
The answer is simple – get moving. In the right way, and at the right pace for you.

Graded exercise plays a massive role in the treatment of lower back pain by teaching the importance of functional movement and paced recovery, with the aim not so much to reduce pain, but to add to the overall quality of life.

Backs on the rack” from Stephen Cheetham, published in the Economist (2020) provides some additional reading with further insights on the often incorrect diagnoses around back pain. It all starts with educating yourself and those around you.

Jason Vowles
Accredited Exercise Physiologist