“I came in after I had a stroke. I couldn't walk. Now, I am walking everywhere, to the grocery store and to the car. Thank you all for everything.”
If you’ve never suffered from back pain, you probably will. Conventional wisdom holds that eight out of 10 people under the age of 45 will suffer benign or malignant back
pain at some point. Fortunately, heeding the warning signs can help you treat, cure and even prevent this fate. inflammation is the biggest indicator, but spotting it can be tricky. as i tell patients all the time, knowledge is power.
an important point to remember is that pathology—whether malignant or benign— is a vicious cycle. normal daily activities can trigger an injury to specific tissue so small that it’s undetectable.
Something as simple as overdoing it at the gym, lifting a box that’s too heavy or doing so too quickly, can be the culprit.
ironically, the vicious pain cycle begins when we do nothing about these small injuries. as we continue to perform our normal activities without a second thought, a small, localized injury causes inflammation. Four signs of inflammation apply across the board and are easily detected:
It is worth noting that a direct correlation exists between extent of injury and the inflammatory response. For example, a small cut on the finger or a low-grade muscle strain will not produce all these textbook signs. inflammation summons the changes necessary for healing to begin. if it isn’t controlled, it will control us rather than the other way around. a benign, fixable injury will remain benign, but it will cause pain—and eventually disability. as more minor injuries are ignored, the vicious cycle loops over itself, and you have a big problem building.
Of course, your pain might also be the result of a severe, traumatic injury that causes immediate damage. Maybe you slipped and fell, or were involved in a car accident. in this case, it is wrong to assume that a bigger problem requires a different approach.
Certainly, you might have to be gentler with yourself after a severe back injury. But an injury is an injury, and the same process is at work inside your body. the only real difference is that, given the immediate severity of the pain and its disabling effects, you’re forced to pay attention to inflammation from the get-go.
Even if you find yourself in the midst of a vicious pain cycle, you can break out—but you have to do it right way or the pain will endure. the only correct way to tackle back pain and inflammation is to heed the warning signs.
Then, enlist the help of a licensed physical therapist, who possesses understanding of human physiology and the body at work, to guide you down the path to recovery.