Physiotherapy for Low Back Pain
How Does Anytime Physio Treat Low Back Pain?
Lower back pain is the most common presenting condition at Anytime Physio. Our Brisbane sports physiotherapists are experienced in assessing, diagnosing and treating lower back pain. In the early stages, physio treatment for low back pain involves manual hands-on treatment, including manual therapy, dry needling and soft tissue massage, to provide pain relief. Once pain has been managed, your physiotherapist will prescribe therapeutic stretches and exercises for the deep abdominal muscles (or core muscles) to help support the low back to prevent recurrence. Brisbane Anytime Physio also uses clinical Reformer Pilates to assist recovery from acute and chronic low back pain. Pilates is available at Anytime Physio Gasworks.
What Causes Low Back Pain?
Acute low back pain is usually caused by a strain or sprain of one of the intervertebral discs (most commonly the L4/5 or L5/S1 discs), the lumbar zygapophyseal joints (otherwise known as lumbar z-joints or lumbar facet joints) or the supporting muscles and ligaments. In some cases, lower back pain may involve irritation of the nerve tissue in the lumbar spine. Nerve tissue irritation occurs when lumbar disc herniations or bulges cause increased pressure on the nerves in the lower back. This can lead to low back pain with pain radiating into the leg (commonly referred to as sciatica).
Chronic low back pain can be caused by many factors. Instability of the lumbar spine, reduced muscle strength and support and inflexibility of the muscles of the hips and thighs can contribute to chronic low back pain. Pain sensitization (sensitization of the nerve tissue involved in signalling and processing pain) also plays a big part in maintaining chronic low back pain.
Who Gets Low Back Pain?
Low back pain is the most common musculoskeletal injury. About 80% of people will experience at least one episode of low back pain in their lifetime. People aged 18 to 35 are most likely to experience a primary disc injury, while people in the 45+ year old age group are more likely to experience pain due to arthritis and degenerative changes in the low back.
Acute Injury Management
If you’ve just hurt your back, here are a few tips to get you on the road to recovery. Please remember that this advice is general and does not constitute medical advice.
Check For Red Flags
When managing any pain condition, it is important to go through a series of “checks” to ensure that the pain is not likely to be caused by anything more sinister.
Download your free Low Back Pain Checklist Below:
Rest From Aggravating Activities
Consider the movement or activity that likely caused your episode of low back pain. Were you bent forwards or backwards? Were you twisting to one side? Pain is a protective mechanism. It acts to stop you from further irritating structures that need time to heal. In the early stages, it is important to give these structures a break from loading and movement.
Remain Physically Active after a Lower Back Pain Injury
While this may sound contradictory, resting does not mean stopping everything. It simply means avoiding activities and positions that cause your pain to worsen. Research on low back pain recovery has shown that remaining physically active and remaining at work (when this does not involve excessive aggravation of pain) does not increase the risk of reinjury and actually forms an important part of successful recovery from low back pain. Remaining active can help to decrease missed work days, prevent chronic pain and minimise disability associated with low back pain. So what does this look like? Initially, this may simply involve gentle stretches in bed or even a short walk. As your pain improves, this can progress to gentle body weight exercises like squats and step ups.
Apply Heat for Lower Back Pain Relief
Heat can help to relax the muscles in the spine and hips that may be in spasm as a result of pain. Heat also increases local metabolic activity, helping your body to work through the healing process.
Book An Appointment with a Physiotherapist
Our Brisbane Physiotherapists are experts in assessing and treating low back injuries. We see them everyday and know each step of successful rehabilitation. Physiotherapy for low back pain involves identifying potential structures involved in the injury and the factors that led to the injury in the first place and designing a recovery plan suited to your specific presentation. Treatment options include hands-on manual therapy, massage, exercises to improve mobility and motor control of the spine (i.e. “core stability”) and Pilates.
Need Help With Your Low Back Pain?
Book an appointment online with one of our expert Brisbane physiotherapists.