Five ways that low back pain is affecting your life (and you might not notice)

Low back pain (LBP) is an extremely common health problem[1]– it has a wide variety of causes and is frequently seen s a primary and secondary complaint. Low back pain is the leading cause of activity limitation and works absence throughout much of the world[2], and it causes an enormous economic burden on individuals, families, communities, industry and governments.[3]

Out of all 291 conditions studied in the in a landmark project – the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study, low back pain ranked highest in terms of disability, and sixth in terms of overall burden.

If you’re suffering from low back pain, you know how it can affect your own life – our patients recently report everything from moderate to severe pain, reduction in quality of life, problems at work – the list goes on. If there’s a positive side to low back pain, however, it’s probably the fact that it is so common. The fact is you almost certainly know at least one other low back pain sufferer, and probably more. Because of this low back pain doesn’t usually have the same kind of isolating effects that are common in other chronic problems, for example, depression or anxiety.

But there’s a hidden risk to low back pain which, perhaps because of the ease in finding other sufferers to talk to, may often get overlooked. You know how your back pain affects you – but do you know how it affects those around you?


Your Overall Health

When suffering from any acute condition we tend to focus just on that specific problem – and when suffering from a chronic problem, we often try to sideline the issue instead. Either way, we are frequently drawn to pay less attention to your overall health when struggling with low back pain. The most obvious everyday health issue associated with low back pain is weight gain. A prolonged lack of physical activity, especially in combination with poor eating habits, can have dangerous implications on your health, leading to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and also increase the likelihood of cancer.

Laziness isn’t the cause here – the fact is simply that low back pain makes exercise difficult and can often rob us of our favourite activities. In this sense, low back pain can also exact a real toll on our mental health.


Your Job

More than likely complaining about back pain is common in your workplace – you (and everyone around you) might be managing, but are you performing as well as you might? Just because you work in an office does not mean that low back pain isn’t a real concern – not being able to comfortably sit through meetings may just be the beginning of the problem – your condition can impact your job performance and even cost you your job in some cases.

For those of us working in physical occupations low, back pain poses a more immediate risk – the stress of worrying about being unable to work also tends to worsen back pain, leading to a vicious cycle.

In some instances, making adaptations to a job or your work environment, or changing jobs completely may help – but doing any of these typically involves a great deal of disruption. An effective way to treat low back pain is certainly a better choice!


Your Friendships

Just like any worthwhile pursuit, friendship takes work. Is your chronic back pain keeping you away from friends and social activities? Not seeing those you care about or having a social outlet for long periods of time can be difficult to deal with, for you and for them. It’s easy for your friend to think that you’ve lost interest in them, while really you’re struggling with back pain. At the same time no one wants to be “that guy” who’s always complaining about back pain – so how do you cope?

Most of us end up withdrawing from certain activities we once enjoyed, either because they are too physically painful, or emotionally complicated.


Your Family

Just like your friends, your family also often suffer from your back pain. Have you found that your pain makes you less likely to participate in family activities? Are other members of the family having to pick up the slack because you aren’t well? Do you find yourself retreating to bed instead of cooking and/or eating dinner together, sitting on the couch for family movies, going for walks, or enjoying other outings? At the other end of the scale, do your family feel bad about trying to get you to participate in these activities when doing so is obviously painful?

Being open and honest with your family and loved ones about your back pain is, of course, an important to step – but life is complicated, and perhaps this isn’t a good time! Especially if other important things are going on (and they usually are!), you might feel that talking about your back pain seems a bit selfish. Of course, it isn’t – but if you feel this way, seeking treatment for your pain might actually be a far more straightforward answer.


Your Future

Living with any kind of pain can be a real distraction. In the broadest sense it tends to trap us in the here and the now. Often just getting through the day can be a challenge so we tend to take our eye off the future. In the short term this isn’t much of an issue – but since low back pain is so frequently a chronic condition and can last for years, the long-term impacts for failing to consider your future can start to show.

Sometimes we start to limit our own futures without even realising – if you think about it, have you turned down an opportunity through fear of how your back pain might interfere? Perhaps you’ve used work as an excuse to avoid activities you might enjoy were it not for the pain. Maybe you’re even avoiding an important life decision, live having kids or getting married through fear of how your pain could worsen or ruin the whole thing.


How to treat low back pain

There are numerous approaches which can be effective in addressing low back pain – by far one of the best is chiropractic care.

Doctors of Chiropractic are highly trained spinal specialists who can draw on a large toolkit in addressing your low back pain. Spinal manipulation or a chiropractic “adjustment” is typically the first line of care in a chiropractic clinic, but what’s important to realise is that chiropractic care can be highly effective via many of the other available methodologies, which do not involve spinal manipulation. This is especially the case with practitioners of chiropractic biophysics, who have a wide array of options at their disposal besides spinal manipulation.

As a lower-force alternative to manual spinal manipulation, the activator technique is often a good choice for pregnant clients. The Activator technique uses a small, hand-held instrument called the Activator Adjusting Instrument to deliver a gentle force to the spine with the goal of restoring motion to the targeted spinal vertebra or joint.

At Complete chiropractic we offer a new patient special which makes it easy and very affordable to find out if chiropractic care could free you from low back pain. If you have questions feel free to get in touch today!


[1]Andersson GB.  Epidemiology of low back pain.  Acta Orthop Scand Suppl 1998;281:28–31

Dionne CE, Dunn KM, Croft PR.  Does back pain prevalence really decrease with increasing age? A systematic review.  Age Ageing 2006;35:229–34

Rapoport J, Jacobs P, Bell NR, et al.
Refining the measurement of the economic burden of chronic diseases in Canada.  Chronic Dis Can 2004;25:13–21

Deyo RA, Cherkin D, Conrad D, et al.
Cost, controversy, crisis: low back pain and the health of the public.  Annu Rev Public Health 1991;12:141–56

[2] Lidgren L.  The bone and joint decade 2000–2010.  Bull World Health Organ 2003;81:629

[3] Steenstra IA, Verbeek JH, Heymans MW, et al.  Prognostic factors for duration of sick leave in patients sick listed with acute low back pain:  a systematic review of the literature.  Occup Environ Med 2005;62:851–60

Thelin A, Holmberg S, Thelin N.  Functioning in neck and low back pain from a 12-year perspective:  a prospective population-based study.  J Rehabil Med 2008;40:555–61

Blog by / November 24, 2018 / Blog

Dr. Paul Irvine is a doctor of chiropractic who graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of NSW and in 1996, attained his Master of Chiropractic degree from Macquarie University in Australia. He practised in North Sydney for 5 years before he left Australia to travel and practise in the UK. He joined Complete Chiropractic in 2003 (est 1999) and took over the clinic in 2007