Readers Questions: Preventative Physiotherapy

“I regularly suffer from back pain. Does it make sense to visit a physiotherapist every month just for maintenance? Can I prevent problems this way?”

-Francine

Mark Chen, Physiotherapist

Maintenance based treatment is certainly a possibility. Your physical therapist can ensure that your muscle tension remains under control, the joints maintain a good mobility and he/she can prescribe exercises.

Still, it is better in my opinion to take a good look at why you regularly suffer from your back. The spine is perhaps the most complex part of our mechanical system and almost everyone gets to deal with back problems sometime in their life. Often a lot can be explained from your lifestyle. Sitting a lot, for example, is a factor that is often overlooked, but has a major influence on the functioning and health of the spine.

Changes in pulling forces

The constant shortening of the hip-flexors changes the strength-length ratio of the muscles around the hips and the pelvis. These have a direct influence on how you move. This “strength-length ratio” acts as a tug of war between the muscles. Constantly, both teams work equally hard to keep everything balanced. Sitting a lot, lifting it incorrectly, a one-sided load during hobby or sport (tennis, darts, golf) can ensure that one of the “teams” gets an extra player, which destabilizes the balance.

“Weak Spine”

Of course there can be many other causes. For example, I get to see clients with a “weak back” a lot. I myself am rather concerned about that term because it suggests that it is something that can not be fixed. Time and time again I’m struck by how little control we have over our spine. And we have use it for so many things!

To return to your question: It is worthwhile to visit a physiotherapist for maintenance , but don’t go just for a massage or a manipulation. Look further. Dig deeper. Exercise and aim to get stronger.

Try to put together the pieces of the puzzle that cause your back problems and look for a long-term solution together with the physical therapist and/or personal trainer.

 

Help me out!
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