A new normal

Chiropractor Eoin Roe advises on the importance of not ignoring back pain during this ‘new normal’ we live in

The ‘new normal’ seems to be the refrain of the moment. There are certainly huge changes for all of us in the way we work, socialise and live especially in the short term and as a society most people have adapted accordingly.

I notice a similarity with clients who have musculoskeletal issues. When we hurt ourselves pain forces us to adapt what we do and how we do it. This adaption can cause our body to move and function differently to reduce the pain sensation often leading to further joint and muscle pain or reduced mobility down the road.

This is especially true for those who have hurt their back. If you have ever had a bout of serious back pain you will know how debilitating it can be. Getting out bed or up from a chair can be nearly impossible, sometimes even rolling over in bed can be excruciatingly painful.

Back pain like this is often treated with pain medication and muscle relaxants, and in some cases this is necessary, as any of the treatments that I provide are not possible when the pain level is too high and one is unable to touch the patient.

The most important time to pay attention is just after the initial period of pain and discomfort, when the swelling has died down and you start to feel that you are back to normal. Quite often people will report that they feel less pain but that there still isn’t something quite right. The longer this goes on, the more you will get used to the change, unconsciously adapting your movement, doing tasks differently or not doing some things altogether as this becomes your ‘new normal’.

The human body is capable of functioning with quite high levels of dysfunction, but will always adapt body movement to strive to keep your eyes level. This will happen automatically and you will have no conscious control over it. Therefore if you have hurt your lower back resulting in a misalignment of your pelvis you may also end up with a leg length difference. Your body will compensate for this by curving the spine, even at very small amounts to keep the eyes level. If this goes on long enough you will start to have problem in your upper back, neck or even your hips and knees.

This is not only a problem with low back pain. Likewise a neck injury from playing sport, after a car accident or even bad posture from too much screen time can have a knock on effect for the rest of your body. Not only causing spinal misalignment but also potentially affecting nerve transmission from the limbs to the central nervous system. That is why neck problems can cause radiating symptoms of pain, numbness and tingling or loss of sensation into the arm and hands or severe low back problems often causing the same issues in the legs and feet.

Whilst we are all going to have to make changes in the way we live and work over the next while I would encourage you not to accept the ‘New Normal’ after an injury. 

When the initial pain has gone it is important to have a musculoskeletal check up to ensure that everything is working, as it should.  Even after the pain has gone it is still possible to find and correct the root cause of your initial issue, reset your alignment, improve your mobility, increase strength. Clients often feel much better than even before the injury.

I am starting to run clinics again in Skibbereen for those who are in pain. If you would like an appointment please call on 087 9582362. Clinics in Douglas and Kinsale will reopen again in due course.

WCP Staff

WCP Staff Writer

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