Lower back pain is a common complaint and affects around 80% of Australians at some point in their lives. Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons for time off work. There are numerous causes of lower back pain and the issues may originate from many areas such as muscles, joints, ligaments, or the lumbar spine discs.
Your back is very complex and is made up of many components, which need to work together:
- Muscles – they control movement and provide stability.
- Ligaments – Hold the vertebrae together.
- Vertebrae – These are the bones that make up the spine.
- Discs – These are like little shock absorbers located between the vertebrae.
- Facet joints – These are also in between the vertebrae and help to guide movement.
- Nerves – These exit the spinal canal to supply various parts of the body.
These structures can be damaged due to an injury or illness which results in lower back pain. This may be due to many reasons such as muscle strains, sustained posture, nerve irritation, weak muscles, and arthritis, just to name a few. Sometimes the pain may be localised to the back, however, referred pain can often happen in the legs, feet, or buttocks. Occasionally this also causes symptoms of tingling, numbness, and pins and needles. For information on musculoskeletal and/or neuromuscular conditions visit this post.
What causes lower back pain?
Sudden lower back pain is usually caused by an injury to the ligaments or muscles that support the back. The pain may be due to a few reasons, such as:
- Muscle strain
- Muscle spasms
- Ligament irritation
- Compression fractures
- Spinal disc injury
- Spine cancer
Although the majority of causes for lower back pain are of musculoskeletal origin, there can be other causes such as infections, kidney stones, arthritis, and female reproductive organ conditions. Physiotherapists are also trained to identify when pain is not of a muscle, joint, or nerve origin and will refer you to the right person.
How does physiotherapy help back pain?
Physiotherapy is an effective treatment for many causes of lower back pain. Physio Perth aims to restore proper movement and reduce pain. Physiotherapy for lower back pain involves many techniques to achieve these goals. Some of these may include hands-on techniques, exercise therapy, massage, and dry needling.
Core stability can be an important factor in managing some forms of lower back pain. Strengthening your core muscles improves posture and can reduce the risk of lower back pain occurring again in the future. Clinical Pilates is one effective method to strengthen the core muscles, however, a physiotherapist with skills in this area can tailor the exercises specifically to the needs of the patient.
What can physical therapy do for lower back pain?
Treatment for lower back pain will depend on the cause. Hands-on techniques are often used, such as soft tissue techniques and joint mobilization. Dry needling can also be an effective technique to help treat lower back pain. If there are inflammation present medications may be advised via your Pharmacist or GP.
Physio Perth can also involve exercises to treat lower back pain. This helps to strengthen the muscles, and improve flexibility and overall movement.