Get back pain relief Sydney! Look at your chair

As humans evolved we were primarily walking and running creatures. We didnt sit, we squatted. As such our spines are designed to be active and to move. Our spines certainly weren’t designed to be static for long periods and they really werent designed to sit much at all.


So it is no surprise that in the clinic we nearly always have to manage seating choices and sitting postures if we are going to have a successful outcome. This is particularly true in chronic back pain treatment.


Here is a summary of the most common ways you can reduce pressure on your low back due to sitting

  1. Dont sit! That sounds both too simplistic, too unreasonable and completely impractical. But stop and think a moment – there are genuine alternatives to prolonged sitting. Standing desks and walking desks are becoming more commonplace and more affordable. And as more administrative/office jobs are now being done from home it is also very easy to spend some of the working day lying prone on your tummy, propped up on your elbows and with a couple of pillows under your chest.
  2. Use a seat that allows your knees to drop below the level of your hips. With your knees and hips at the same level it is difficult to sustain good low back posture for any length of time. As soon as you drop your knees below hip height the mechanics of the low back change and good posture is easier to sustain. Types of seats that are designed specifically for this purpose include kneeling chairs, saddle seats and some well designed office chairs that allow the seat to be tilted downwards at the front.
  3. Make simple adjustments to your existing lousy chair. The two simplest options are a) to place a sitting wedge on the chair seat – this raises your bum and drops your knees below hip height, and b) to use a lumbar roll in your low back. Or  better still do both.


And dont be fooled by the word ‘ergonomic’ when used to describe office chairs.


The final piece of advice is to be like our ancestors and move regularly. Even if you are at work in an office you can find lots of reasons to get up out of your seat on a regular basis. Going to the photocopier, walking to a colleagues desk instead of phoning them, be the coffee monitor and walk to the local cafe twice a day, walking at lunchtime, making and taking phone calls whilst strolling in the corridoor rather than sitting at your desk.


In the long run you are far better making some simple changes to your sitting habits than having to spend time and money seeing someone like me because you have developed a disc bulge in your low back.

Get back pain relief Sydney! – Look at your chair and your sitting habits.

The Mckenzie method in complex back pain

Chronic Lower back pain treatment?

Treat yourself

The broad philosophy underlying the McKenzie method is that the patient must be active in their own treatment and recovery. The therapists role is to correctly diagnose the problem, educate the patient on the underlying cause and teach the patient what they need to do themselves to self-manage and to self-treat. The therapist may well need to apply chronic lower back pain treatment but then, over time, the therapist gradually withdraws from having an active role in treatment.


A successful outcome from a McKenzie therapists view point is when the patient is so well informed about their problem that they can resolve their own problems both now and in the future.


Two significant advantages

The Mckenzie method works on a number of levels. As a method of assessment and treatment it has two important advantages. These are:-
1. It gives both your therapist and yourself a way of thinking about chronic lower back pain treatment that is very practical and which simplifies the decision making process.
2. It allows you, the patient, to have a very active role in your own healing. Once you know what to do you can carry out a lot of the treatment yourself. This reduces the amount of time and money that you need to spend with the therapist.


The therapists role

During the McKenzie assessment the therapist is looking at very specific movements, repeated movements and positions of your spine. By taking note of how your symptoms behave during this assessment process your therapist will be able to allocate your condition into one of 4 syndromes. This process is crucial to successful treatment as each syndrome requires a different treatment approach.


It is vital that the therapist allocates sufficient time in the first two or three sessions to ensure that the assessment process doesnt cut any corners and doesnt miss any important information. In the case of chronic, complex or recurrent back pain at least 1-hour of one-on-one time should be allocated for the first few appointments.


Your role

Once the therapist is confident which syndrome is underlying your particular problem they can explain to you what is causing your problem and also exactly what you can do to help resolve it yourself.


You then need to be an active part in your recovery. In other words you need to be prepared to do exactly as instructed. This is particularly important in cases of recurrent or complex lower back pain or in chronic back pain treatment.