Got a sore back? Maybe you need a new car!

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Car back pain

Got a sore back? A new car might be the answer!

Whilst this may sound extreme, it is exactly what I recommended to one of our patients recently! And guess what…the patient called me just this week to advise that their back pain had gone since getting a new car!

So, you might be thinking – how did I know it was the car that was causing the back pain?

Well, you see we take the time to thoroughly examine our patients as well as get a detailed history of what has been going on to develop a comprehensive picture of the injury, including all the contributing factors (in this case the car!).

The key elements of this patient’s presentation, were:

  • the back pain was relatively new;
  • the pain seemed to have commenced roughly around the time of getting a new car;
  • the patient drove the car for in excess of 3 hours a day commuting to and from work (often 6 days a week);
  • the pain was better on days when they didn’t work,
  • the lumbar support in the car was pretty poor (yes, I physically went and inspected the car to check this out);
  • after conducting a full physical examination, the back pain did not appear particularly serious in nature;

With this information, it seems pretty clear that the car appears to have been a significant contributing factor to this patient’s pain! Yet, the patient themselves hadn’t really linked the two.

This happens commonly for us in that what may appear obvious in hindsight, often isn’t the case to someone in pain. Getting to know the patient and taking the time to ask the relevant questions and conduct a thorough assessment means that we can identify the contributing factors.

Was getting a new car entirely necessary? Possibly not. We could have explored means of trying to improve the back support in the car and also means of making the patient’s back more resilient to the posture the car held him in (with an appropriate exercise program).

I’m sure you can see that getting a new car won’t fix everyone’s back pain! However, if you have back pain or any injury for that matter, you might want to think about things in your life that may be contributing factors. As in this example, it isn’t always clearly obvious to the patient, so it may be worthwhile to see one of our physiotherapists who can conduct a thorough history and examination to help you understand your condition and any underlying circumstances that may be contributing. Only once the contributing factors are identified, can you go about addressing the issue!

To make an appointment with one of our physios, call 8850 7770 or click here to make an appointment online.

Brendan Limbrey
Principal Physiotherapist

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