Hey, did you know that most treatment and diagnosis of back pain is a bit of a waste of time? There's been a little bit of information in the media lately that a lot of the problems we see in healthcare related to aches and pains, about 80% of that's low back pain. And the biggest thing I see, that I think is a waste of time, is the pursuit of a diagnosis. So, 80% of back pain, there is no diagnosis, but there's a problem. And it's not so much the back pain that's the problem, it's what you can't do - or what you wanna do, but you're being held back by back pain. So, what you really need to find out is what you need to do, as opposed to chasing a diagnosis. The old joke is, "We'll give you one just to keep you happy." But the biggest thing holding people back with back pain is going off and having an unnecessary X-ray, an unnecessary CT scan, or even worse, an MRI you don't need, blood tests you don't need.
Generally speaking, based on your story, we can tell you if you do need a medical checkup. But in 85% of cases, you don't. There's some valuable information that you can be given that would help make a huge difference to your life. You know, simple things like you should walk more, you should sit less, we should watch what we eat. If you're a smoker, that's a huge contributing factor to back pain. So, a lot of the lifestyle decisions we make in our occupation can affect us. And believe it or not, it's not heavy, physical work that's the problem, it's actually sitting still. So, people who are sedentary, they suffer more back pain, they have more visits to the doctor or health professionals than those who work physically.
A lot of the advice we've been giving over the years has been wrong, you know, "Keep a straight back." That's not the case. You know, when we're doing things like lifting, we should put our back into it. There's a lot of technical things that we need to tweak with our clients. I'm now teaching people how to do deadlift in the gym, deadlift for back pain, that's crazy. But a lot of the things we see that help people are based around exercise. Movement is medicine. Strength is everything, okay? So, you know, if you've got weak legs, if your quads aren't strong, if you don't have strong glutes, how on earth can you have a strong back?
So, this whole thing about core strength and core stability, we should ban those words. You know, sometimes we just need to keep it simple. Strengthen the legs means a strong back. And sure, there's some things that we have to be a little bit careful with, and there are certainly some technicalities when it comes to exercise. But you know what? In the vast majority of cases of the people that I see, that we see here at Freedom Physio & Pilates, if we can get people moving, if we can motivate people, if we can engage people and keep them on track, people get the results that they're after. So, it really comes down to, I guess, selling a message and helping people understand that the majority of what they need will come from within, from themselves.
Our role is to listen and find out what it is you want to do. What can't you do? You know, how is back pain or any other pain, for that matter, affecting you, and then devising a plan of action, and teaching you the skills that you need to acquire, and to motivate you to stick at it and to improve yourself. And it doesn't happen overnight. It's like getting fit, you know? I always tell the story of how long does it take to get a draftee in the AFL fit? About two years, How long do I see patients improve? I see them improve over a two-year time frame. I see people make an initial gain in two weeks, but that improvement in their physical well-being continues for many, many months. So, it's a journey, and that's what we're about. We want to hear what's going on and then feedback to you about what you need to do. So, when it comes to the most common thing that we see clinically, that is back pain, it's all about you. It's about listening and teaching what it is you need to know, and then motivating you and keeping you on track with it.
So, if you want to tell us a story, your story about back pain and how it affects you or anyone that you know or love, we'd love to hear from you. We have a unique service here where you can book a telephone consult, have a chat to me. Or if you want to come in person, we allocate half an hour or even an hour of our time to listen to your story. And what it's all about is just working out, are we the right fit? Are we the people to help you? And you know what? If I reckon you need someone else, our job is to find that person as well. So, you know, I'm passionate about communication. I'm passionate about helping people. And I'm not always the right person, but you know what? If I'm not, I've got some great colleagues out there that I can recommend.
If back pain is a problem for you, let us know because we're here to listen. And we're here to help map out a plan that can help you improve things. Thank you.
From there Joshua moved down to Geelong for 3 years at Geelong Hospital working in intensive care, surgical, respiratory and orthopaedic physiotherapy.