The single biggest predictor of future low back pain is past episodes of low back pain. So if you want another bout of back pain, the best way to achieve that is to change nothing.  Here are a few things it’s important that you DON’T do if you want more low back pain.

Please note: the suggestions in this post are based on a thorough review of the scientific literature in the field of low back pain, and while the topic is serious – the suggestions are NOT!

DON’T SEE AN OSTEOPATH

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) – and the Royal College of General Practitioners – recommend that people suffering a recent onset of low back pain see an osteopath.   There you will get treatment to help return your back to good function, and specific advice on how to keep it that way.  Osteopaths are best avoided if you want more low back pain.

DON’T STOP DRIVING THE BULLDOZER

People who spend long periods sitting down with little opportunity to move around get more low back pain – especially those exposed to heavy vibrations.  So next time you’re thinking of changing job and want more low back pain, be sure to re-train as an HGV or JCB driver!  And when you spend all those hours sitting down, try to make sure you’re nicely slumped and that you don’t change position for hours on end; “cumulative load” causes muscles to become fatigued and ligaments and parts of the discs to be stretched beyond their elastic limit.  That’s a great recipe for low back pain.

DON’T GIVE UP TRAUMATIC SPORTS

Perhaps not surprisingly,  “trauma” is a good way to get low back pain.  Whether it be in an accident or as part of a sporting hobby such as horse riding (very high rates of traumatic injury) or rugby.  Take up a dangerous sport if you want low back pain.

DON’T AVOID HEAVY WEIGHTS

Lifting heavy weights (peak loading) is a good way to end up with a sore low back.  There are better ways to lift, but despite all the manual handling guidelines that have been introduced in the West over the last 20 years, there is no evidence that people trained in manual handling experience less low back pain than others.  this may be because the training wasn’t good, or because they didn’t follow the training 😉  Either way, lifting heavy weights (especially repeatedly) certainly increases your chances of low back pain – so don’t stop!

DON’T GET ACTIVE AND DON’T LOSE WEIGHT

People who have low levels of physical activity are much more likely to develop long term low back pain.  Obese people are more likely to have long term or recurring low back pain also.  So slump on the sofa, flick on the TV and fill yourself with cake and fizzy drinks.

DON’T GIVE UP SMOKING

Smokers get more low back pain than non-smokers; perhaps because they have poorer circulation and are less able to recover from an “injury”.  So light another!

DON’T BIN THAT STRESSFUL JOB

Stress is associated with a higher incidence of low back pain – particularly work-related stress.  So if you enjoy your work and the people around you, then it’s time to change.  If work stresses you out, that’s perfect for more low back pain.

NB Of course, if more low back pain is your idea of hell you could always try doing the opposite of these suggestions.

Wishing you a better back

Gavin