My Back Pain Doesn't Get Better With Rest Anymore! What's Going On?

If you’ve ever had back pain, you have probably experienced this same thought. There are different reasons why back pain can seemingly get worse over time so we’ll take a look at the common ones.

I always like to ask people if they have ever seen a health professional for their back pain before? Often, people manage their back pain by doing what has always worked. Rest and anti-inflammatories. I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place for rest and anti-inflammatories (there certainly is!) but it can’t end there!

When that initial injury occurs the pain/inflammation causes important spine stabilizing muscles to shut off. When the muscles that stabilize our spine aren’t working like they should the body is “smart” and uses bigger muscles to take over. Now, while you may begin to feel better without re-training those stabilizing muscles we create dysfunctional movement patterns that become our new “normal.”

When we move in dysfunctional patterns more often than not we create opportunities for pain in our body. If we continue to move in these dysfunctional movement patterns the pain is more likely to reoccur and be that nagging back pain you’ve been dealing with for so long!

Have you ever noticed that your back pain makes you very cautious with your movements?
Do you feel like you don’t want to bend down to pick up something from the ground or turn around to hear who is calling your name behind you?

Again, pain is the culprit!

When we are in pain we do everything we can to avoid the pain, which begins to make us fearful of movement. When we become fearful of movement our muscles become overactive in those dysfunctional patterns. So, now we are fearful of movement and have decreased stability (which we desperately need!)

If I had to give my best advice on addressing your back pain, here it is: address your back pain as early as you can and keep moving!

What do I mean by keep moving?

I mean get up from your desk at work for 5 minutes every hour or take a short walk if it doesn’t aggravate your back pain. The idea is never to increase your pain but to stay mobile and make it harder for those dysfunctional movements patterns to set in.

What I hope you take from this is that the earlier back pain is addressed the earlier we can get you moving and those stabilizing muscles working! If you have any questions about your back pain, give us a call! We’d love to help you get back to all the activities you enjoy!

Dr. Mary Claire Malooly, DPT, ATC

Physical Therapist, Athletic Trainer