Your lower back is a complex structure made up of bones, discs, joints, nerves, ligaments and muscles, all working together to provide a base of support for your body. This complex structure is susceptible to injury and pain and to avoid that, it needs to be stable, flexible and strong.
Back pain may present in a number of ways depending on the underlying causes. Common symptoms you may experience include a dull ache, shooting or piercing pain, or a burning sensation. You may feel it just in your back or radiate into your buttock, groin, legs or feet. You may also feel pins and needles or numbness in the buttock, legs or feet. It may feel worse by certain postures, such as prolonged sitting or prolonged standing, or when moving such as walking, or moving from sit to stand.
Back pain is often categorised by the type of onset and duration, for example acute (0-6 weeks), subacute (6-12 weeks), and if pain persists for more than 12 weeks it is considered chronic.
Back pain categories
- Mechanical – coming from muscles, ligaments, joints (facet joints) and is often associated with pain localised in the lower back, buttocks and groin.
- Radicular – (sciatica) involves nerve tissue that is either impinged or inflamed. This pain will often radiate into the buttock or down the leg. This pain is often described as a burning sensation, shooting pain and can be also be associated with pins and needles/numbness and sometime weakness in the leg.
Back pain can also be classified as traumatic or sustained overload injuries. Traumatic may be when a person bends awkwardly to lift a heavy load, that tears or damages structures. Whereas, sustained overload injuries are related to positional stress or postural fatigue that overloads the back structures over a period of time causing injury, dysfunction and pain.
What’s the cause?
- Muscle – muscle tissue pain may be a result of muscle strains, muscle spasm, and muscle imbalances
- Ligament sprains
- Joint pain is often a result of facet joint irritation, stiffness or dysfunction.
- Bulging discs, herniated discs or degenerate disc disease can all contribute commonly to radicular pain where nerve tissue is irritated or impinged. Discogenic pain can also cause muscle spasm and associated facet joint irritation.
Other sources of your back pain may include lumbar spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, infection, tumours, deformity/fractures, osteoporosis, inflammatory conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis or rheumatoid arthritis. It could also be a secondary issue related to medical conditions in organs of the body such as kidney or pancreas.
An experienced Physiotherapist will provide you with an assessment and diagnosis, followed by hands-on treatment, exercise program and advice. At Wisdom Physiotherapy Nedlands we treat the cause of your back issue and also help to prevent recurrent episodes.
If you are experiencing an issue with you back, don’t put up with it. Call us on (08) 6389 2947 to find out more or make an appointment by clicking here to book online.