Sometimes simple lower back pain comes on very suddenly after a specific incident. Other times the problem gradually creeps up and its not always clear what caused it in the first place. It can come on after a change in activity levels or employment or leisure activities. The following case studies are very typical examples of people I have met.
Case 1. A 24-year-old woman had started a job in a call centre 12 months ago. Her job involved sitting down most of the day. She first noticed that he was starting to get a bit of backache at about lunchtime each day.
She ignored it to start with and then as the weeks went on and it worsened she managed it by standing up and walking about which eased it off.
Gradually she found that as the day went on it worsened and eventually by the end of the day she was really struggling.
She found that sitting up tall helped a bit. She felt much better after a good nights sleep and not nearly as bad at weekends.
However, she had noticed that the ache was starting to come on earlier and earlier in the day and she couldn't shake it off at weekends, this made her decide to get some advice about how to manage it.
Her doctor diagnosed non specific lower back pain and she attended physiotherapy.
Her treatment invloved exercises to improve the movement and strength of her back, exercises to improve her overall fitness, suggestions for improving her sitting posture at work using a lumbar roll and reassurance that her problem was not serious.
After 6 weeks she felt much better and was able to work in comfort. She also knew what to do if her back ache started to become a problem for her again.
Case 2. A fifty year old woman had lower back problems on and off for 25 years. The very first time she had got it was when she was in her 20s.
One day during moving house her back had felt a bit sore. It had become increasingly painful and stiff that evening.
She took painkillers and rested for a few days and it went away by itself. This happened again 6 months later, following a long car drive and again the following year for no apparent reason at all.
Gradually over the years the episodes got closer together and it took longer and longer for the symptoms to go away. Eventually, the soreness interfered with her day to day life so much that she went to see her doctor.
The doctor diagnosed non-specific lower back pain and she was referred to see a physiotherpaist.
She was given advice about better posture, was shown some tailored exercises to improve her spines flexibility and muscle strength and was encouraged to improve her physical fitness levels.
In common with many people she was not able to 100% get rid of the pain - but she was much more comfortable, felt happier knowing what the problem was and felt confident to manage future problems.
Because this condition is caused by an different, overlapping problems for each person. No one person has exactly the same problem. The key is to treat all the contributing factors and not just target one narrow area.
All case studies on this site are fictional and are based on my combined experiences - they do not describe any one individual.