This article is part three of the low back pain series, and further addresses low back pain with symptoms that go into the leg WITHOUT any identifiable pattern. If you are unsure whether your symptoms that move into your leg have a pattern, please revisit the previous post HERE. If you're looking for a video summary of todays post, click HERE.
It’s important to note that if you are unsure of whether or not you have a pattern with your leg symptoms, that’s okay! Many times, finding the pattern takes patience and many minor tweaks in the movement to discover. If you are not a Physical Therapist, or someone with experience in finding the pattern, this can be tricky. If you are at all finding this process difficult or frustrating, this would be an excellent time to seek the assistance of a qualified movement specialist like a Physical Therapist to help you figure it out.
If, however, you are confident that there is no pattern with your low back pain and symptoms into the leg, let’s take a look at how you can begin to work through and heal your pain.
What is the main goal if you are currently in this classification?
If you are currently in the “low back pain with leg symptoms and no distinguishable pattern” category, your goal right now will be to relieve pain as you work to find or create a pattern. The relief techniques discussed in this article are pertinent to those without a pattern, and will aid to take a step up in the healing process to having a pattern. Once you find a pattern, return to article #2 in the series and begin work there.
What can you do to begin healing?
Mechanical Traction. The very best place to start for this classification of back pain is mechanical traction. Mechanical traction may sound overwhelming, but it’s quite simple and typically offers relief of your symptoms quickly. As such, even when not applicable (such as if you DO have a pattern), many people enjoy using mechanical traction because it feels good and relieves pain, at least temporarily. There is no harm in using mechanical traction if your symptoms do not fit the “no pattern with symptoms in the leg” classification, it just may not have any lasting effects in the same way as those without a pattern will find from utilizing it.
When doing mechanical traction, you want to start at about 50% body weight and move up slowly until you find the right level of weight in order to provoke a short term relief of leg symptoms. This can take several visits in which the therapist slowly increases the force through the traction in order to alleviate pain.
Inversion Table. Many people have these tables at home, making it a great at-home option to try. Again, inversion tables are primarily a resource for people who’s back pain reaches into the leg with non-patterning symptoms, but people with patterns will not cause any damage using the table, and often do so because, again, it feels good in the immediate, although there may be no long lasting results if you do not have leg symptoms. The goal is to move from no pattern to a distinguishable pattern, and mechanical traction and inversion tables are designed to help with that process. One of the problems with an inversion table is that an inversion table will not place 50% of body weight through the spine. Even the best inversion table will not not be able to reach the minimum treatment weight of mechanical traction. Therefore, even if you don’t get relief from an inversion table, it doesn’t mean that mechanical traction will not help you.
With either the mechanical traction or the inversion table, the goal is to:
Seek out movement patterns that give relief of the leg symptoms (reduction of pain) in order to get you past the traction units
Move into more movement based treatment of the leg. The hope is that traction is only going to be used for a small amount of time and then you can move on.
Moving on looks like getting enough relief from traction in order to find a pattern of relief with movement.
Once you achieve a movement pattern of relief (see part 2), mechanical traction should not be the emphasis of time spent in treating your low back pain.
Healing your low back pain can sometimes seem like a daunting task. Given how our society has framed our backs as a “fragile” part of our body that needs extra protecting, many of us have developed fearful mindsets around lower back pain in a way that we don’t view any other pain on our body. Our backs are strong and capable, and we do not have to live with lower back pain.
Here at the Health Lab, we want to help you not only heal your lower back pain, but we want to help you make your back stronger and more resilient. Going further, we want to help you reframe your mindset around your back and back pain and help you to gain confidence in your back, what it’s capable of, and how it can support your lifestyle.
If you are feeling stuck, frustrated, or unsure of how to proceed in healing your lower back pain, give us a call at The Health Lab for your free, 30 minute discovery visit. We want to see you and your back healthy, confident, and strong!