Back Pain

Physiotherapy for Back Pain

Back pain is something most of us will experience at some stage during our lives and is the most common reason for missed days at work.
Back pain affects primarily the lower back and the good news is, that in most cases, the cause of pain is not serious and can be resolved in a few days or weeks. However, some symptoms can be more serious requiring a full assessment and diagnosis by an experienced healthcare professional.
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Our spine is made up 24 separate bones called vertebrae which are connected together by a series of ligaments and soft tissue. 

The lower part of your spine is joined to the sacrum which is part of your pelvis. The curves, shapes and various sizes of the vertebrae (along with the discs found in between them), help to evenly distribute the weight of your body on the spine and creating the flexibility necessary to bend or rotate your back. 

A complex group of muscles are attached to the spine which allows you to move your back. There are also postural muscles which help to maintain the shape and curves of your spine, keeping them in the correct position, as well as help to keep you upright.

The spinal cord passes through the center of each vertebra. The cord ends in your lower back where it becomes a series of strands called the “cauda equina” (horses tail). Either side of each vertebra are spinal nerve exits from the spinal cord which pass sensory and motor signals between your brain and a certain part of your body which the nerve innervates.
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What Causes Back Pain?

The most common cause of back pain, especially lower back pain, is a combination of poor posture and lack of movement, typically seen with people who sit for long periods. This is known as mechanical back pain and is not a serious condition. However, it can be uncomfortable and frustrating to experience a constant ache or pain in your back.
There are more complex causes of back pain like disc prolapse, ankylosing spondylitis, osteoporosis, arthritis or fracture which require a more detailed assessment.

Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

When you first start to develop postural back pain, it manifests itself as a low-grade ache normally combined with stiffness in your lower back. Symptoms tend to be relieved with light exercise or by avoiding long periods of sitting, for example at weekends. But if symptoms are ignored, the pain will become constant, just to varying degrees. The level of stiffness may also increase.

Occasionally symptoms may be related to conditions other than poor posture, for example, prolapsed disc, fracture, facet joint impingement or nerve root compression. You may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pins and needles or numbness in the buttocks, lower limbs or feet
  • Pain going down the back or front of your leg
  • More severe back pain, especially when bending forward
  • Excessive levels of stiffness in your lower back

These symptoms need to be properly assessed by an experienced Physiotherapist. They will diagnose the cause of your back pain and provide appropriate treatment, management and advice.

A very small percentage of back pain can be caused by more serious conditions like cauda equina, where the nerves at the bottom of your spinal cord are being compressed.

If anyone of the following symptoms are experiences, an immediate medical advice should be taken:

  • Unsteady when standing or walking
  • Difficulties passing or controlling bladder or  bowels or numbness in either area
  • If you have a previous history of cancer or osteoporosis
  • Back pain accompanied by unexplained weight loss or fever

How can physiotherapy be useful for back pain?

A Physiotherapist assesses, determines the cause of back pain and accordingly a treatment protocol is devised. Physiotherapy helps in the treatment of back pain in the following ways: 

  • Pain Reduction mainly by using electrotherapy modalities like IFT, Ultrasound, TENS etc. and may be use of some manual mobilization techniques.

  • Improve Flexibility of the spine by stretching the muscles and the fascia associated with the back.

  • Improving strength and stability by core strengthening and making the muscles surrounding the back, strong. 

  • Postural Correction and Ergonomic Advice to avoid further stress on the tissues and to prevent reoccurrence.

If you are experiencing any such pain or discomfort, contact us for a customized treatment approach by an expert physiotherapist and for an exclusive HealYos home physiotherapy experience.

  Call today to book your session!