Low back pain or lumbo-sacral pain may occur either from placing a sudden load on the spine through a manual handling activity eg. Lifting, carrying pushing or pulling an object. It may also occur through repetition of poor posture(s) over time.
Prevention strategies include core muscle stabilising exercises aimed at building up the spines natural muscle support. Low impact cardio exercise to improve blood supply to the spine which in turn aids nutrition and hydration. This is part of maintaining a healthy body leads to a healthy spine. Avoid alcohol and smoking. An exercise programme incorporating maintenance of muscle flexibility and joint range in and around the spine and lower limbs-particularly the calf and hamstrings. . Postural correction through the use of appropriate ergonomic equipment. Include regular breaks in your work schedule in order to keep moving. Awareness of postural alignment when manual handling will also reduce risk of damage. Always follow the advice of your health professional.
Back pain, especially low back pain, is a common disorder involving the muscles, joints, bones, discs and nerves of the spine. It typically affects 80% of the population at some stage in their lives. Back pain will usually resolve itself within a period of up to 8 weeks; however some conditions require specific treatment in order to improve. With physiotherapy treatment, the symptoms of back pain usually show significant improvement within a few weeks.
How can physiotherapy help?
There is strong evidence to suggest that conservative physiotherapy management speeds the recovery of low back pain. This type of treatment works by relieving pain, reducing muscle spasm, and mobilising stiff joints. Self-management and home exercise also plays an important role in back pain recovery and prevention of re-injury.
What do physiotherapists do?
Physiotherapists will need to conduct an initial assessment on you to determine the best method of treatment. This will include observing your spine and how it moves, then specifically assessing your spinal joints, discs, muscles and nerves. This will help us to understand your cause of pain or limitation and how it affects you, as back pain is not a recipe – every case is different. The first goal of physiotherapy is to relieve pain, and encourage healing. This can be achieved with spinal mobilization, neural gliding, manual traction and muscular release. We also give you advice and strategies to self-manage at home. Then we work on reversing the effects of the injury such as muscle tightness or spasm, joint stiffness, movement limitation, and nerve irritation. Lastly we develop an exercise program for you including stretching, strengthening and core stability designed to prevent future back pain.