In this episode, Rick sits down with Alloy’s own Dr. Joel Eaby, owner of Mission Move PT, to discuss back pain. Dr. Eaby reveals his best strategies to handle back pain, why strength training is important, and how to fix back pain with the best course of action for long-term treatment. The stats show 80 – 85% of people have back pain sometime in their life.
The biggest misconception that people have regarding back pain is that it’s caused by lifting and workouts. That’s why many people stop lifting when they experience back pain. Actually, as Dr. Eaby explains, the long-term solution for how to fix back pain is strength training, which leads to a stronger back.
MRIs and X-rays are not always needed to diagnose lower back pain unless there has been a traumatic incident or some serious red flags. Dr. Eaby advises that imaging is not required in most of the cases since there is a real risk of misdiagnosing the cause of the lower back pain, because all MRIs return some sort of back issue even in someone who isn’t feeling any pain. So we address the pain with questions to determine if we associate the back pain with an incident, accident, trauma, etc, Did you fall down your stairs? Were you lifting something really heavy and something gave out? What happened before the incident? Then we ask follow up questions and their symptoms, sometimes it’s just what we would call an insidious onset, and this gets more into pain science and sensitivity models.
For example, some strategies to handle back pain when a patient comes in saying “my back is killing me – there must be something seriously wrong.:” We’ll ask how long has your back been hurting? They might say since this morning, I had a bad night’s sleep last night. So we might realize nothing really crazy happened inside your body when you were just laying there last night. So we can assess their situation by asking those questions and follow-up questions. Sometimes there are many things that effect back pain like stress, nutrition, and sleep. Also, many times there is a certain amount of fear associated with low back pain which can complicate the situation. Fear can be a major deterrent to fix back pain for a recovery to full function. So we need to address fear in the diagnosis.
So it might be easy It’s easy to just get symptoms to go away temporarily fix back pain, but that doesn’t provide the return to full function and provide them with a progressive strength training plan. Symptoms can be where health care providers stop and don’t actually fix the problem for the long term. Not only help rid the pain, fix the problem and then go a step further to return the athlete to full function by bridging the gap of not knowing what to do to strength train and give them the confidence to overcome their fear returning back to the gym.
So how do you fix back pain? When it comes to treatment and management of back pain, conservative treatment should always be the first option. It is not advisable to jump into injections and painkillers as we have known these to cause addiction and even lead to surgery later.
- 80-85% of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives (05:09)
- The biggest misconception on the cause of lower back pain (06:25)
- Back pain is caused by many factors, including posture, sleep, nutrition (10:22)
- Why strength training is the long term cure for how to fix back pain especially as you age (19:52)
- When you might need to do an X-ray or an MRI (22:06)
- Red flags that suggest a person has back problems that trainers should look out for (27:13)
- Strategies to handle back pain with conservative treatment and corrective exercises for lower back pain (28:52)
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