Why Back pain is like the stock market

Oct 21, 2021

Back Pain can be unpredictable, and vary day to day just like the stock market, but doing nothing is not the answer.

Over this blog series we have covered the perceptions people have about the causes of back pain, the ways to treat back pain and the misconceptions around the correct diagnosis, advice and prevention of back pain.

Back pain can be caused by a number of issues whether it is long term lifestyle or postural problems or an injury caused by strenuous exercise or an accident.

Back pain can be acutely painful and debilitating. As the supporting structure of your body its discomfort can affect every facet of your life whether standing for a length of time, getting up or down to a sitting position or getting a good nights sleep.

This starts to eat away at your confidence with movement. You become worried about attempting certain moves like reaching and twisting for basic household items for fear of triggering your back pain. This leads to you becoming more careful with bending, lifting and turning. As a result you gradually become stiffer, less willing to move, and ultimately weaker.

We had lots of patients describing this story last week but who have learned to “just live with it”. Many accept that back pain is caused by old age or genetics and adapt their lifestyle choices to avoid or minimise the pain.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

Back pain is the number one condition we treat here at Optimal. As back pain specialists we have witnessed the stress and frustration this condition can cause.

However, this blog series has revealed that:

We have also revealed that it is not just an individual treatment plan that impacts upon the effective recovery of back pain.

Our mindset to commit and take control of our injury is hugely important. It’s also normal for back pain to “flare up” and when recovering from back pain it can be a bumpy road.

It’s not the same as the recovery from a muscle tear or ligament injury where things generally improve in a linear fashion. Back pain is much more complex and more variable. It’s also why most don’t have the confidence to know how to improve it. Having support and guidance through this period is so important if you truly want to resolve the issue for your long term future. To play with the children, enjoy running, exercise, or a game of tennis. Enjoy a long walk on the beach on holiday and not worry about having a lot of pain on that flight to a sunnier climate.

The variability in back pain is something I often compare to the stock market. Not the most obvious comparison, so let me explain. Back pain can vary day to day, and this can be confusing, especially when you’re the one caught up in it. Painful, frustrating and worrying. The progress over time is an upward curve of positive progress, but still we have daily variability. When you begin rehab these fluctuations can continue but with a well designed progressive programme, your fluctuations in pain will be less frequent, less intense, and last less duration.

If we focus on the day to day changes we become fearful. If you followed the stock market closely you would never invest. However if you know how and where to invest ,and stick to your plan you often see huge progress despite the daily volatility. Of course there can be set backs, but often if you stick to the plan you can recover quicker and continue to make progress.

Graph of stpckmarekt index for 1 day

Stockmarket fluctuations over 1 day

Picture of chart of Stockmarket over 1 year

Stockmarket fluctuations over 1 year






Too often I see people who just feel stuck, and don’t have the confidence to either get started or preserver past the first set back. Feeling helpless and deflated reduces motivation. This can lead to weight gain (unhelpful) and more pain. This becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as the pain continues and it’s easier to justify that you just “have a bad back” or that it “runs in the family” and nothing can be done.

We understand it’s difficult, frustrating and confusing. It’s why we love helping people like you recover on a daily basis. It’s so rewarding to see their lifestyle and outlook change so much.

Time becomes your friend when you have good habits and repeatedly do the right things. Thats where we see our role. To help guide you, support you, challenge you and keep you on the right track.

We also love to help create a prevention plan to help reduce the likelihood of the pain returning.

We cover all the bases from sleep to nutrition.

Our sleeping patterns and sleeping position play a fundamental role in our bodies ability to recover and prevent back pain.

We can also support the resources the body has to recover through good nutrition.

If you or someone you know is suffering from back pain and you want to understand what steps you can take to begin recovering you can download our free ebook, have a chat with one of our physiotherapists or book an appointment online.

Bill Hands – ★★★★★ google review
I am glad I found Steven as I have had back problems for years. After just a couple of visits there was a great improvement in my condition. I wish I had found Steven ages ago as I am sure I would have had years of pain free back problems. Try him he is superb.

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