Why Won’t This Frustrating Low Back Pain Go Away?!

by | Nov 24, 2023 | Low Back Pain

We just had a patient come in the other day, telling Dr. Brandon, “I was laying on my back, not wanting to move, wondering why this back pain won’t go away. It’s really frustrating!”

There are a lot of reasons you might have low back pain that just isn’t going away. Maybe you haven’t tried anything for it yet. Maybe you’re hoping your back pain will go away on its own. If you have tried something, like a series of stretches or exercises, maybe they haven’t worked the way you were hoping. 

Maybe you feel like you’ve tried everything. You’ve been to chiropractors, physical therapists, orthopedists, personal trainers. Things seem to help for a bit, but then you experience some sort of relapse in pain symptoms. 

We hear this story all the time when we’re meeting with new patients. “I’ve had this low back pain for years, nothing I do seems to have a big effect on it.”

Low back pain red flags

First and foremost, low back pain can be a symptom for some serious health complications. If you haven’t had those ruled out yet, you’re going to want to prioritize that. If you have other, major symptoms such as night sweats or a sudden and drastic change in body weight, you should consult your medical doctor.

Fortunately, that’s usually not the case, and it could be as simple as a visit to us here at Twin Cities Movement. We can usually rule out lower back “red flag” symptoms with a series of questions during our free discovery visit. 

Here’s a link to schedule a FREE discovery visit with us if you’re ready to get rid of your persistent low back pain.

Many causes and treatments for persistent low back pain

One of the main problems we see when people come to us with long-lasting low back pain, is that they and their providers so far haven’t gotten to the root of their problem. There are many, many ways to treat low back pain, and all of them work to varying degrees, but the treatment does have to be the right fit, because there are even more reasons for having low back pain. 

At Twin Cities Movement, we look at your health as a journey. You are different today than you were yesterday. You are affected today by decisions you made days or months or years ago. You’ll make decisions today that will affect you later. Most of us don’t think that far ahead when we make decisions, it’s just not how our brain works. 

Fortunately, all of that past information is important to us, but it does not doom you to a life of chronic low back pain. Your body is adaptable. It adapted to the way it is today, and with your help (and maybe ours), it can adapt to a more favorable version of your body, one that isn’t saddled with the baggage of low back pain that just isn’t going away.

Find a Guide to Help You on Your Low Back Pain Journey

There is not a quick fix to a problem as complex as low back pain can be. It generally takes a commitment to change something. It can really help to find a guide, someone who can help you on your journey. If you’re in Inver Groves Heights or the Twin Cities, we can be that guide.

Using the Movement Method as a map, we can help you on your journey to a strong and stable back. We can help you find the root cause of your back pain, find the right movements you need to strengthen your low back, and find the movements you should avoid for a short time.

If you happen to be reading this outside of our local area, feel free to reach out and we can help you find someone.

It Takes Individualized Attention to Manage Your Persistent Low Back Pain

Each person is different, and it takes individualized attention to really figure out the root cause of long-term low back pain. We had a patient, who we’ll call Pat, come in last week complaining of low back pain that has lasted several weeks. She has a long commute every day, and then spends the day sitting at her desk. 

Dr. Brandon was able to figure out that Pat had very tight hips, which were limiting her range of motion and possibly contributing to her pain. Tight hips don’t always lead to persistent low back pain, but they can certainly be connected! Dr. Brandon worked with Pat to find fun and useful ways to loosen her hips (something to do), and spend less time in that familiar seated position (something to avoid). 

Within a week she had taken care of most of her low back pain, which she was worried would not go away! She also recognized that that was just the beginning of her journey, and she has been able to do the lawn clean-up needed as we head into winter here in Minnesota. She told us she’s prepared to do the work it takes to build resilience and capability into her body as she gets older, and we’re here to help her figure out the self-care that matters to her.

“Getting Rid of Your Back Pain” isn’t our Goal

I feel that it’s important for me to point out that I’m not trying to scare anyone into thinking that they are headed for a life of low back pain if they drive a lot. Or if they sit at a desk. We have many that come in, saying they stand all day, and their low back pain symptoms show up in a different way. There are also many people who sit all day and don’t have low back pain. And many who have low back pain but wouldn’t tell anyone about it.

It’s also important for me to point out that “getting rid of pain” is not actually the goal. At least it’s not our goal, and that’s one of the first things we try to help you understand, so that we can be on the same page. Your low back pain, which just won’t go away, is a message to you that you need to change something about your situation. In the vast majority of our cases, the change that has to happen is that we have to move more, and with much more diversity.

We Can Get Low Back Pain Because We Don't Move Enough

Our human bodies have developed over the ages to move in a way that uses the whole body to accomplish sometimes challenging tasks. Digging roots and picking fruit to feed a decent-sized community is hard work, using the whole body. So is walking long distances carrying deer, turkey, and other game.

The activities I’ve just listed were still performed daily by most of the people on this continent only 500 years ago. This is by no means ancient history. Even more recently, say 300 years ago, our ancestors were harvesting wood and stone resources and building with only simple machines. This was undoubtedly still a daily physical challenge. My point is that our bodies expect a certain level of what I call input in daily life, and we’re having a hard time meeting that necessary input these days in the Western world.

Persistent Low Back Pain is a Message

At first the message, from a situation like sitting at a desk, is not very loud. Our body is resilient, it can handle a wide variety of positions and loads, and we’re able to recover quickly and regularly from the input. But as the years go on and we continue to get better and better at sitting in that position, we’re getting less and less exposure to all of the other, equally important, ranges of motion in the hip. 

So the message gets a bit louder, in the form of prolonged soreness or even pain symptoms. It takes a long time for the pain symptoms to be loud enough, and disruptive enough to our lives, for us to decide to make a change. That’s just how our brains work. By that time, our body has been adapting (getting “better”) to one position for a number of years, and losing out on other positions for the same amount of time.

This is why we look at your health as a journey. First, it’s YOUR story, personal to you. You’re the main character, the hero, the one who’s decisions affect you the most. We want to be your guide on the journey, because we’ve figured out some really helpful things you can do consistently to develop into the version of yourself that you want to be as you get older.

Life Has Gotten Too “Easy” For Many of us

I think the importance of daily, challenging movement has been largely overlooked for the last several generations, as developments in all aspects of life have made everything easier for us. We are hardwired to do as little as possible to survive, so it makes sense that, if we are not taught to intentionally challenge ourselves as much as possible, and with as much variety as possible, we would not automatically have these goals. 

We have to make the choice to challenge ourselves. That choice is getting more and more challenging to make for many of us these days, with time and societal constraints. But that topic deserves an entirely different article.

If I want you to take one thing from THIS article, it’s that I want you to move with intention and variety for 20 minutes every day this week. You could add an item to your to-do list, like 20 minutes of balance practice, or you could do something that you like to do anyway, in a different position, such as watching Netflix while sitting on the floor instead of your couch. 

Have You Been Experiencing Low Back Pain That Is Just Not Going Away?

Well this article has sprawled across millenia! To recap, if you’re reading this it’s likely that you have back pain, and it won’t go away. One reason for that may be that you’re not challenging yourself in the way your body has come to expect. One thing you can do, starting today, to relieve your low back pain is to start moving more. Of course this is just the first step, and then you have to continue challenging yourself. This tends to give life a bit more color, and that’s a great thing.

If this seems overwhelming to you, maybe you would benefit from a guide. Someone who can help you, show you the way, keep you accountable. Reach out if you’re from outside the Twin Cities and we can help you find someone who can be your guide. If you’re in the Twin Cities, we can use the Movement Method to guide you on your journey to health freedom. 

Here’s a link to sign up for a FREE Discovery Visit.