Back pain can be a debilitating condition that can significantly impact daily life. The lower back is a complex structure comprising interconnecting bones, discs, joints, nerves, ligaments, and muscles, all of which work together to provide a stable, flexible, and strong base of support for the body. Due to its complex nature, this structure is susceptible to injury and pain.
Lower back pain can manifest in several ways, depending on its underlying cause. Symptoms may include a dull ache, shooting or piercing pain, or a burning sensation. Pain may be localised in the back or radiate into the buttocks, groin, legs, or feet. You may also experience pins and needles, numbness, or paraesthesia in the buttocks, legs, or feet. Certain postures such as prolonged sitting or standing, or movement such as walking or transitioning from sitting to standing, can worsen the pain.
Back pain is commonly classified based on the type of onset and duration. Acute episodes last between 0-6 weeks, subacute episodes last between 6-12 weeks, and if the pain persists for more than 12 weeks, it is considered chronic.
Types & classifications:
Mechanical pain is typically caused by issues with muscles, ligaments, and joints (particularly facet joints). This type of pain is usually concentrated in the lower back, buttocks, and groin areas.
On the other hand, radicular pain (also known as sciatica) occurs when nerve tissue is either compressed or inflamed. This type of pain often radiates into the buttocks or down the leg and is often described as a burning or shooting sensation. Radicular pain may also cause tingling, numbness, or weakness in the leg.
Pain can also be classified as either traumatic or sustained overload injuries. Traumatic injuries occur when a person lifts a heavy object in an awkward way, causing tears or damage to the structures involved. Sustained overload injuries, on the other hand, are more commonly caused by prolonged exposure to postural stress or fatigue, which can overload the back structures over time and lead to injury and dysfunction.
The source of pain is commonly:
- 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 pain may include lumbar spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, infection, tumours, deformity/fractures, osteoporosis, inflammatory conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis or rheumatoid arthritis. Lower back pain may also be a secondary pain related to medical conditions in organs of the body such as kidney or pancreas.
Lower back pain can be a frustrating and debilitating condition. While some cases may resolve on their own, physiotherapy can be a valuable tool to speed up the recovery process, alleviate pain, and improve mobility and function. At Wisdom Physiotherapy, our team of experts will provide a comprehensive assessment of your musculoskeletal injury to determine the root cause of your pain.
Our physiotherapists will work with you to develop a personalised treatment plan that addresses your short-term goals of reducing pain and inflammation, promoting healing, restoring range of motion and strength, and improving function. Additionally, our long-term goals are to help you achieve full function in your daily activities and prevent future occurrences of pain.
We believe that education is a key component of successful treatment. Our team will provide you with a better understanding of your body structures and how they contribute to your pain, as well as guidance on how to manage your current episode and prevent future issues. We will also work with you to develop an ongoing exercise program to reduce the risk of recurrence and ensure your continued progress.
Overall, physiotherapy can be an effective way to treat lower back pain and improve your overall quality of life. Don’t let pain hold you back – contact Wisdom Physiotherapy today to schedule a consultation and start your journey to recovery.
Your physiotherapist will discuss the appropriate treatment plan and may involve:
- Joint mobilisation and manipulation
- Soft tissue massage
- Neural mobilisation
- De-loading taping techniques and postural supports
- Dry needling
- Stretching (both passive and active)
- Strengthening exercises
- Clinical Pilates
- Advice on recommended positions and postures at home and during work
- Optimising work station positions and manual handling techniques.
Stretching and specific strengthening exercises will speed up recovery from acute lower back pain by regaining the range of motion and strengthening the back and abdominal muscles. Exercise prescription must take into account the diagnosis and clinical presentation. Depending on your muscle recruitment pattern, the physiotherapist will prescribe the best exercises for you. We find this is best done under our guidance in our Clinical Pilates studio.
So don’t put up with back pain, be proactive in your recovery and seek the expert advice from Wisdom Physiotherapy, we are here and can help!
At Wisdom Physiotherapy Nedlands & Claremont we treat the cause of your back pain and also help to prevent recurrent episodes. Make an appointment today and get some relief. Call (08) 6389 2947 (Nedlands clinic) or (08) 9384 1555 (Claremont clinic) or click here to book online.