The single biggest predictor of future low back pain is previous low back pain; to put it another way – if you’ve had low back pain before, you are definitely at higher risk of a recurrence than someone who’s never had low back pain before.
There are two main theories as to why low back pain returns…
1. The same conditions cause it to recur
Think about it – if you’ve had one bout, and after the pain resolves you go back to the same habits, it seems reasonable that the problem will recur for the same reason it happened the first time round. “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got” (Henry Ford).
2. The first episode “weakened” your back
There is evidence that deep muscles become deconditioned during a period of low back pain; theoretically this increases the risk that you will re-injure your low back – perhaps with even milder “stresses”.
Perhaps it’s both…
What to do?
There’s good evidence that spinal manipulation helps to resolve low back pain faster than if left alone. Speedy resolution minimises the risk of your back weakening. In addition, appropriate exercise programmes help to minimise the risk of your low back weakening.
AND it’s important to address all those factors which predispose to lower back pain in the first place.