Back pain in Victoria BC

If you have back pain in Victoria, BC… we can help!

If you have back pain in Victoria, you may have realized it’s a hidden epidemic

80% of Canadians will experience it at least 1 time in their life

Low back pain has been on the of drivers for our opioid prescriptions. The increased awareness of the risks, limited ability to work well, and the potential for misuse or addiction has the research saying that medication should not be the main source of treatment.

There are better options that are safe and can still offer you results – self-management, manual therapy, movement and exercise, psychological therapies, and food changes.

The results from pharmaceuticals and surgery have been less than impressive. This is why we look at it “holistically” and from many view points.

Back pain is more than just “tight muscles”, “poor posture”, or being overweight

If you’re struggling with back pain and what to do or not sure where to turn to, you’ve made the first step along your path to feeling better.

Daryl has been helping his clients with back pain in Victoria for several years and can help guide you on your path to taking “back” your life

A man holding his back

How can we help your back pain in Victoria?

Having a back pain therapist in Victoria that you trust and collaborate will improve your chances of reducing the back pain quicker

There are a few different ways that we can help with your back pain if you live in Victoria.

Massage therapy can be beneficial for short-term and flare management.

Athletic therapy is beneficial for creating a strength and movement plan for long-lasting results.

Then there’s holistic nutrition, this is beneficial for chronic back pain when you’ve tried multiple therapies and nothing seems to stick long-term, and if have other health conditions going on – whether you think they may be involved or not. a

Daryl, the owner, can provide all of these and most of them are covered under insurance. We work with your situation and provide you the options that are best for you, not us. If you have full insurance coverage and are tired of having back pain, we can create a whole plan for you. If you don’t have insurance and can only come in once, we’ll show you what you can do to decrease the pain

Down below is when to use each therapy for your back pain and when it shouldn’t but we’ve discussed the different types of back pain, where it might come from, and how we can help you get out of back pain to enjoy your life in beautiful Victoria!

What are the types of back pain?

Having back pain in Victoria can be tricky trying to find the right type of therapy or therapist.

Working with the right therapist to decrease your back pain can not only help in the short-term but it can help prevent another flare-up

Disc Bulges and Herniations

A herniated disc (also called bulged, slipped or ruptured – PS it’s a terrible name and not accurate) is a portion of the inside of the disc is pushed out of the annulus, into the spinal canal through a tear or rupture in the annulus

Sciatica

Sciatica is a term that describes symptoms of pain, numbness, and/or weakness that radiate along the sciatic nerve from the lower back to the buttocks and leg. The medical term for sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy.

Sprains and Strains

Low back muscle strains and sprains are a common causes of low back pain. While not serious in nature, they can cause terrible pain and fear of moving. The QLis the most common muscle that is irritated for this, it’s typically felt on either side of the spine, one side or both

Degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disk disease, or DDD, occurs when regular changes in your spinal disks start to “wear down”. Spinal disks are your shock absorbers, the jelly donuts if you will, between the bones of your spine. As we get older, they start to show signs of wear and tear and this may or may not cause pain.

Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis and Ankylosing spondylitis seem to be the most common types of Arthrits that we see in our clinic

Other

This can range from where you carry your stress, bacterial imbalances in the gut, and period pain

What are a symptoms of back pain?

While some cases of back pain can be intense and scary, the majority of cases will resolve within 6 weeks. The back is a strong and resilient!
  • Pain or discomfort in the upper back or lower back
  • Stiffness along the spine
  • Trouble getting out of bed in the morning
  • Unable to sit for long periods of time
  • Sharp aches in the upper back or lower back
  • Weakness in the leg
  • Soreness in the upper back or lower back
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty maintaining one position
  • Pain that radiates into the butt, back of the leg, and the foot (sciatica pain often feels sharp, numb, burning, stabbing or shooting)
  • Numbness and tingling in the leg
  • Decreased reactions in the leg

There are many “types” of back pain. We believe that are times that it’s important to understand the offical diagnosis and there’s times not to. Pain in itself can be pretty tricky to navigate, as everyone is different. There are plenty of people and therapists that believe that poor posture, “degenerative disc disease”, and Sciatica are the causes of pain.

We’d argue that!

You can read more in-depth at the relationship to posture and posture

We don’t argue that posture has an effect on the pain, it’s just quite a bit less than most people think.

Imaging and MRI’s can be extremely misleading.

If you take people without back pain and put them through a CT scan or MRI scan, you get some pretty crazy results

Percentage of people that have “disc bulges” WITHOUT back pain

  • 37% of 20-year-olds
  • 80% of 50-year-olds
  • 96% of 80-year-olds

Percentage of people that have “disc bulging” WITHOUT back pain

  • 30% of 20-year-olds
  • 60% of 50-year-olds
  • 84% of 80-year-olds

You can see that the imaging and the “diagnosis”, just doesn’t fit with your pain. We don’t doubt that there are cases that those cause the pain, it’s just not all of them. If we focus only on that, we may miss the real reason why you’re in pain

A man with back pain holding his back

Where can back pain come really?

You may be feeling the pain in your muscles, the joint, or even down the leg but that doesn’t mean that it’s where the problem is. There are real causes and they aren’t always well known.

Structural; Muscles, bones, and joints

This can be from “poor” posture, “poor” core control, or the “tight” muscles. While you’ve probably heard “poor posture is the cause of your back pain”, we don’t fully believe this to be true. The Strains and sprains to the joint mostly occur when we engage in tasks that our body is not used to, or in an accident. Bending down and twisting, reaching for a sock, or stretching past your limit are common causes of strains and sprains of your back. Though, not dangerous in nature, they can be extremely painful

Gut and poor digestion

Everything is connected and we’re still learning “how” but we know that it plays a role – sometimes small, sometimes big. ConstipationIBS, and bloating have been found to be contributors to back pain.

When you are experiencing stress in one of your digestive organs, that organ will send a message back to the spinal cord via the same nerve that goes to a corresponding muscle. As a result, the corresponding muscle will become tense, contracted and painful. A massage or chiropractor adjustment may be why you feel good after a few days but your pain eventually comes back. Without working on that organ, that pain will eventually come back.

Mental Health

Anxiety, depression, stress sensitivity, and sleep problems affect people of all incomes equally, increasing their risk of developing back pain.

This doesn’t mean your pain is “in your head” – because it’s definitely real. It means that if you only address the structures without address elsewhere, you’ll never find the relief that you’re looking for.

Gut bacteria

Our bacteria play a large role in our overall health – cardiovascular, mental health, and even pain. A study in 2019, found for the first time that gut bacteria is associated with chronic pain. There’s also research showing that back pain symptoms may be reduced by antibiotics. This isn’t something we suggest but the evidence is starting to mount for bacteria.

Other health conditions

Atherosclerosis and high cholesterol have been associated with low back pain, commonly degenerative disc disease, lumbar pain, and sciatica. Arthritis can also be a contributor to back pain

Autoimmune conditions

Most inflammatory back pain is can be caused by certain autoimmune conditions. An autoimmune condition can occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body tissue. Most known are ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis. Even Thyroid conditions are associated with back pain
Having a back pain can affect your life

Well, there are many reasons why you have back pain! It can be confusing and there’s no black and white answers, it depends on you and your situation.

Our rule of thumb for any treatments, whether you have back pain in Victoria or another injury, if you don’t see good results after 4-5 sesssions that therapy may not be your best option for long-term relief.

Let’s look at a few possible reasons why we may get back pain…

You’re a poor “mover” or don’t move much – Having proper function and mobiity with the mid-back, hips, and ankles all play a role in your pain. If you’re not getting enough range of motion, think bending and moving, you have to regain that extra motion somewhere – and it seems like it often goes to the back. This takes years to develop but it can improved by some simple releasing of your muscles and some exercises

You’re stressed – Have often have you said or heard someone say ” I hold tension in my neck or back”. Stress can play a role in your back pain and this is probably why there’s research on a mindful-based stress reduction or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been shown to have greater benefits for back pain rather than the “usual care“. You can find a trail in nature, you can try Mount Doug or Thetis lake depending on your abilities. If you can’t get out there, you can simply walk the inner harbour in downtown Victoria

Your emotions are out of whack – A study published today in the journal Emotion, which is based on 20 years of data found that shutting down emotionally or “stonewalling” during conflict raises the risk of musculoskeletal ailments such as a bad back or stiff muscles.

If you have troubles with mental heath, we’ve given our top mental health habits

Their findings reveal a new level of precision in how emotions are linked to health, and how our behaviours over time can predict the development of negative health outcomes. This can be a trigger or sensitive area and we tread lightly but it still should be considered.

We put the “emotional system” quite high on our list of things to focus on for optimal health, pain included. More research, like this, is needed. Persistent pain is complex, and emotions are only one contributing factor

Crappy sleep – Sleep affects your pain. You may have noticed that a poor nights sleep not only makes you tired but your pain tends to be worse. Research shows that the number of hours of sleep is one of the most important predictors of pain. The confusing part, you can sleep 8 hours and still not get into the proper sleep cycles. It’s not about the amount of hours you sleep but the quality.

Restrictions in gut – Restrictions or problems in gut can cause many problems such as back pain, shoulder pain, and headaches. Not to mention gas, bloating, and consitpation. We’ve discussed on our blog the signs of an unhealthy gut

Theres a massage technique that can help though, it’s called Visceral manipulation

Visceral manipulation is the practice of an experienced therapist using their hands to move and release restrictions in your abdomen and pelvis to encourage the normal movement and function of your internal organs.  Most people are familiar with the idea of joint and muscle restrictions causing tightness, pain and limited movement in their bodies, but don’t consider the role of their organs. Not all Massage Therapists are capable of doing this but we do offer this. You can book with our RMT in Victoria to assist you with this.

This can be a huge benefit and the missing piece for some people.

You can read more about the benefits here [link]

Diet and Lifestyle –  We know that our diet affects us but we don’t know the extent of it but research is catching up. If you’re having troubles exercising, we’ve discussed the best time to exercise

We know chronic or persistent inflammation is not a good thing for our body. Diet is by far the best way to reduce inflammation, feed your beneficial gut bugs to reduce pain, and start feeling good again. If you have chronic pain or chronic low back pain, we do have a Health Coach in Victoria and offer health coaching online with our owner, Daryl. Chronic pain is a complex condition that requires more than massage or exercise to see lasting results.

A man hold his back pain

How and when to use Massage Therapy for back pain in Victoria

This is the most common approach to back pain, along with chiropractic, to reduce back pain in Victoria. Our RMT commonly sees clients with back pain

Benefits

  • Clinically proven to help with back pain – There’s a strong chance it can help with your pain
  • Reduction in pain – It’s common for a lot of our back pain clients to be surpised when the back is drastically reduced or not there!
  • Can be calming and reduce stress – Back pain can cause stress and anxiety, whether with fear of missing work or the ability to move
  • Allows you to move easier – Most clients are able to move easier and free once the back tension is down

Limitations

  • May irritate and worsen pain if therapist uses too deep pressure – typically chronic pain and too much intensity too fast
  • Not always quick fix
  • Can be costly if you don’t have insurance and come in for multiple treatments
  • May only short-term relief – 1 day to 1 month+, every body is different

How and when to use Athletic Therapy

Building a strong core and glutes while increasing mobility around your hips is the recipe for success to decrease your pain for the long-term.

Benefits

  • Show you the appropriate exercises for prevention or rehab
  • Hands-on treatments to reduce pain
  • Increase mobility and have you moving better
  • Improve range of motion
  • Strengthen muscles
  • Long-term benefit

Limitations

  • Most insurance companies cover athletic therapy but some insurance don’t (check because you may have it without knowing)
  • Therapist level of interest and knowledge of back pain – PS we see back pain often
  • Not always a quick fix

How and when to use Holistic Nutrition

This is best for repeat back pain clients, chronic back pain, or clients that want to get to real cause of the pain

Benefits

  • Long-term and lasting results
  • Helps with more than pain – anxiety/bloating/depression improve as well
  • Can improve chronic back pain 
  • Short-term and long-term results
  • Life-changing benefits
  • Highly individualized – Programs made to your lifestyle without the stress

Limitations

  • Can be time-consuming to learn something new
  • Mis-leading information everywhere
  • Can be overwhelming  if you’re not ready for change – PS we  work with your comfort level

FAQ - Frequently asked questions

Do you have questions about insurance, billing, or about us?

I want to get an X-ray or MRI to tell me what's going on, is this a good idea?

Maybe but probably not. This is one thing that we rarely suggest because it can do more harm than good [link]. We don’t doubt that you aren’t experiencing pain that may be from a “bulging disc” or a “slipped disc” but pain from a “structural abnormality” is poorly correlated. It gets very confusing when two people have “bulging discs” but only 1 has pain – why don’t both have pain? An MRI can be misleading with pain

Doctor said I need surgery

In our opinion, surgery should be near the last option for treatment. The science doesn’t really support it (depends on many factors though) but ultimately it’s your decision!

If that’s an option for you, there are a few things you can do.

Get a second opinion, talk with your doctor/surgeon about the pros/con/science/research, or try different therapies.

Do you own research on the type of surgery. It’s your body, your rules. We all work for you, don’t forget that. Here is a link regarding “low back pain myths” that has looked into the latest research

How can I get relief from back pain?

You can treat your back pain with Massage Therapy and/or Athletic Therapy. Massage therapy can address back pain by helping to reduce the pain, get you moving better, and show you a few exercises so it doesn’t show up again. Athletic therapy can improve your range of motion, strengthening the muscles in the affected areas, and using targeted hands-ons techniques to reduce tension. In many situations, working with a athletic and massage therapist to improve can significantly reduce the severity of your back pain, and may even help you avoid more invasive procedures, such as surgery.

What are the best exercises for back pain?

It is common that the muscles used to support the lower back may become weakened from not using them. We can show you easy-to-do exercises in order to help your back muscles get back their strength, if they need them. This will help provide greater support to your spine and reduce any inflammation you may be experiencing. While the best exercises for your back pain are relative to you, some of the most research ones are from Stuart Mcgill

I've had back pain since my car accident, can you help?

Yes! We direct bill ICBC on your behalf and tailor a treatment plan that works for you