Back pain is an extremely common condition with up to 80% of the population experiencing it at some time during their lives. Although the underlying pathology of back pain is usually not serious, it is an important cause of pain in the community and has considerable impact on the economy due to time taken off work. Whilst the vast majority of patients with back pain will recover within 6 weeks, a small number will go on to develop chronic back pain and a gradual deterioration in functionality.
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 vertebral dysfunction, a common condition that occurs when the spinal vertebrae compress or irritate the delicate nerve structures of your back. Other causes of back pain include inflammatory arthritis (e.g. ankylosing spondylitis, Rheumatoid arthritis), and fractures due to osteoporosis. Back pain may also be ‘referred’ from another location. Less common conditions causing back pain include cancer (usually from another source such as the prostate or lung), serious infections and compression of the spinal cord.
Your physiotherapist will perform a detailed orthopaedic, neurological and spinal examination to determine the exact cause of your back pain. Other tests including x-rays and digital scanning may also be recommended.
Physiotherapy treatment of back pain focuses on restoring function to poorly moving spinal joints, as well as reducing muscle tension and increasing muscle strength. This results in improved movement, reduced pain and deceased nerve irritation. Treatments are tailored to the individual case usually consisting of spinal and soft tissue mobilisation, postural education, 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 back pain and begin a course of corrective care today!