Luke’s Experience with Low Back Pain


My experience with Low Back Pain…

Firstly – Yes, physios get back pain too (unfortunately). And yes, it sucks just as much for us when it happens. So, I thought it would be good to share my own journey and some of the things I learned along the way when I was dealing with my Right Sided Low Back Pain.

Low Back Pain (LBP), for whatever reason, can be really scary when it happens. Even for me, someone who knows alot about it, it’s still a worrisome time. I remember beating myself up for being overly worried, particularly in the face of everything that I have learned and know about LBP. But I eventually came to the realisation that the worry, the fear, the concern; it’s all a part of the natural process of a pain experience. Why should it be any different for me?

I decided to dig a bit deeper (like I do with all my patients, again why should I be any different?) and found that my concern and anxiety around what I was feeling stemmed from my inability, at the time, to participate in the things I enjoyed. I had just started running (as many of us did when covid hit), and loved going to the gym 3-4x per week before covid. My back, and ofcourse covid, was limiting my ability to partake in the things I loved. And it was clearly affecting my pain, and particularly my outlook. So what did I do? I stepped back and looked at everything as a whole and tried to formulate a good plan. 

First, I wanted to understand my pain. I thought I might’ve irritated some of the tissues in my lower back, but this is almost impossible to discern accurately, and something I could manage with some good advice to keep moving within my limits, and modify any aggravating activities to give it a chance to settle. I had to trust my body would take care of me (this is easier said that done when you’re in pain).

Next, I acknowledged and addressed how ‘what I was feeling’, irrespective of just my pain, was affecting my overall pain experience. I was frustrated and upset that I couldn’t do what I enjoyed, and this was causing stress and doubt which was contributing to my negative outlook. We know that the psychological and emotional components of a pain directly influence the overall experience, just as much as my possible ‘angry back tissues’. So I addressed them – instead of running I walked, instead of ‘gyming’ I ‘home gymmed’ and worked around and slowly back into my more uncomfortable lifts. I made sure I stuck to my stress management strategies which for me is guided meditation and structured exercise. I feel these strategies had the biggest impact in reducing my overall pain experience in the early days and were imperative to building my confidence back up post-injury.

With time, things began to settle and I was able to get back to what I loved (when the gyms finally reopened!). 

So what did I learn?- back pain sucks!…. But! It’s usually pretty short lived, and if you take the time to address all the factors of your pain experience, we can have a much less ‘sucky’ time while experiencing it. It’s not the be all and end all, and we all experience it in our own way, so we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over the concern and worry that comes with it, it’s normal. But, you want to make sure you are confident to deal with these things by yourself, and if not, that’s where we can help out. It’s our job to coach you through your own experience, and help you get back to doing what you love!

~ Luke Lopian, Physiotherapist

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