It can be a little frustrating, and somewhat confusing, if you suffer with back pain and it comes and goes for no apparent reason. So why does this happen? Is there an explanation?
We need to look at the nervous system to understand why this might be so, as on the face of it there may not appear to be much wrong, at first glance very often.
The term central sensitisationhelps us to explain this.
Central sensitisation is where the body becomes hyper sensitive because of the information the nervous system is receiving.
This information could be from a toothache, a headache, a sore toe or even bloating having eaten something.
If you think about the nervous system as a bucket and it’s constantly receiving information from every aspect of your being about current status, postures, digestion, mood and hormonal balance.
If there is a negative input to the nervous system, for example poor posture causing stress to the lower back, it will add this to the bucket. You’ll get an impulse back from the nervous system that hopefully you respond to, you improve your sitting position and the bucket is empty again.
This one input doesn’t fill the bucket up – nowhere near.
However, if there are multiple low-level stressors happening all over the body constantly, the bucket can get quite full.
An example might be: a disagreement with a loved one, a little bit of pressure from a superior to get a piece of work finished, a poor night’s sleep due to noise outside, sitting badly for a short time in a badly-fitted chair, poor technique in a few of the exercises in your gym programme and something you ate that doesn’t quite agree with you and gave you bloating and gas.
Not one of these things might register for you at first and may be brushed off as a minor inconvenience, but add them all together and the bucket that is collecting all this stress gets full.
Once it’s full it will start to dissipate the stress through areas of the body most easily able to manage it.
At this point, a mild lower back ache starts and you’re not really sure why.
Perhaps it’s some of the exercise you did at the gym, but you can’t pinpoint which one? Perhaps there is something more serious wrong?
What very often happens in such cases is the person gets some treatment, it sort of helps and things carry on as normal. There is perhaps a little bit of a flare up again and treatment is needed once again.
This will usually carry on until the person takes some time off on holiday or simply a long weekend where they really wind down and relax.
Guess what? The pain seems to disappear, or if it’s really quite significant pain it gets noticeably better.
Therefore when looking at lower back pain, or any pain for that matter, it’s a holistic process.
One of the reasons why we look at posture and biomechanics, organ health, diet and previous stressful life events is to understand what is already filling up your stress bucket and what needs to be acted upon to take stress out, or not add any more in, at the very least.
Simply treating the spot that hurts will likely only ever result in short term, quite frustrating results.
The body is a complex system of systems that all interact 24/7.
However when we build health instead of trying to rectify problems we build a platform which the nervous system and all other systems of the body can operate most affectively from, reducing the need to fill the “stress bucket.”
This is why we developed our 5R Vitality Test, to understand whether your stress is of a mental/emotional nature, lifestyle-related, postural, movement or hormonal. Or whether there is a little bit of stress in all of them.
If you want to take the test you can do so here to find out your score and see how full your bucket of stress already is – https://bit.ly/2MFdaDK