Lower back pain is an extremely common condition with up to 80% of the population experiencing it at some time during the lives.
Although the underlying pathology is usually not serious, it is an important cause of discomfort among members of the community and has a considerable impact on the economy due to the time that is taken off from work.
While the vast majority of patients with back pain will recover within 6 weeks, a small number will go on to develop long-term pain and a gradual deterioration of functionality.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
Most causes of back pain are the result of irritation or poor function of the bones, joints, ligaments or muscles in your back. Such irritation can be the result of a vertebral dysfunction, a common condition that occurs when the spinal bones (vertebrae) compress or irritate the delicate nerve structures of your lower back.
Injuries to these structures can result from poor posture, incorrect lifting technique, smoking, slips and falls.
Other causes of lower back pain include inflammatory arthritis (e.g. ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis), and fractures due to osteoporosis. Back pain may also be coming from another location. Less common conditions include cancer (usually from another source such as the prostate or lung), serious infections, and compression of the spinal cord.
Assessment of Lower Back Pain
Your physiotherapist will perform a detailed history, orthopaedic, neurological, and spinal examination to determine the exact cause of your lower back pain. Other tests such as x-rays and digital scanning may also be recommended.
Treatment of Lower Back Pain
Physiotherapy treatment of lower back pain focuses on restoring function to poorly moving spinal joints, as well as reducing muscle tension and muscle weakness. This results in improved movement, reduced pain and decreased nerve irritation.
Treatments are tailored to individual cases usually consisting of spinal and soft tissue mobilisation, core stabilisation advice, strengthening exercises, stretching and heat/cold therapy.
Please contact us to arrange your comprehensive lower back consultation to help identify the exact cause of your pain and begin a course of corrective care today.