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  • Writer's pictureRipon Physio Co.

Plant your self on the couch for back pain... maybe not.

When you’re lifting your baby, do you have pain in your back?

When you are working in the office, do you feel pain in your back?

Low back pain is quite common, and it is usually recurrent but rarely serious.

The first instinct is to avoid the movement(s) that induces the pain. People may become stressed about preventing that specific movement. When you avoid a certain movement for a long period, the supporting muscles can be overused while the main muscle can shift into a state of "dormancy", or else the opposite side of the body will be overcompensating. Stress, fear and worry can hinder your progress to normality. When this overcompensating occurs, muscle guarding takes place. Muscle guarding is when a supporting muscle is in an active "prepared" state to "protect" the muscle that is "dangered". Think of it as a fight response, or your muscle is on guard to help out all the time when it should not be. It is a protective mechanism that can be driven by fear or worry, and the supporting muscles become the main activators.

"The body mechanism is to defend itself from potential/perceived threats however without actual threats it will lead to a potential problem."

In the past, bed rest was recommended for low back pain. Recently evidence-based research showed that low back pain sufferers who remain active have a better long-term outlook for reduced pain and improvement for normal daily living. With this in mind, find a balance of rest and staying active to improve movement, and don't wait for the pain to be gone entirely before moving again. For the first week, rest but introduce exercises provided by a physiotherapist to ensure a full recovery. If it has been a while since exercising your muscles that were "asleep" are activated again, some feel the effects of DOMS, which is different. DOMS is known as Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness, which is stiffness and pain that occurs after exercise.





When muscle guarding occurs, is can be released with the help and support from physiotherapists. So if you are in doubt, check it out!

Ripon Physio Co.

Orla O' Regan


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