Frequently Asked Questions

I have had back pain for 40 years. How will the treatment advice in your book help me?

If your pain got better for a period, or if it has come and gone over the years, there is a good chance that you can learn to control and often eliminate the symptoms. Even if pain has been constant for a long period it is always useful to learn how to take the stresses off the spinal nerves no matter what else is happening in the back. Trying some simple, safe and very inexpensive experiments on what makes your pain better can only be good for you if you feel better afterwards and remain better.

Why do my joints make noises. Is it arthritis?

Joint noise is a normal phenomenon that no one likes to mention because they think it relates to age and means something is wrong. Cracks and grating on movement are only significant if there is pain with the noise.

Why am I getting pain suddenly when I have done nothing?

The spine takes up a lot of stress during the day, particularly when we are resting and working in poor positions for too long. The stress builds up over time and when we ask too much of the spine the pain will intensify to above our pain threshold.

My MRI shows deterioration in the spine. Is that the cause of my pain and can I do anything to make it better?

The spine has a lifetime of incidents, some major and some minor, that all contribute to deterioration over the years. This is often called arthritis. Many people after midlife will have spinal changes on x-ray and MRI. We know from research that symptoms can be made to go away, evidence that in the spine wear and tear is not always the direct cause of the symptoms. The trick is to find out what happens when you realign the spine, giving the spinal nerves more room to exit the spinal cord.

Why does back pain come on when I first get up in the morning?

During the night the spinal discs take up more water, and become like little pumped up balloons. The pressure within the disc builds up and the spine is more vulnerable to loading, especially if there is degeneration. We may also stiffen up from staying too long in one position or experience pain and stiffness after sitting too long the day before.

Why do I get shorter as I get older?

The disc acts as a buffer when weight is put on the spine.  They sit between the spinal bones and move like little balloons to give us flexibility. Discs loose fluid as we get older, so cannot act so easily as a buffer to spinal loading, or to allow flexibility. So we get less mobile and shorter as the disc degenerates.

Why do I get pain when I sit for too long?

Sitting puts more pressure on many of the spinal structures than standing and moving, and puts stress on spinal discs as well. No part of your body likes to be stretched for too long so change posture regularly and straighten up.