The back is made up of a complex structure of bones, muscles, nerves, and joints. The back supports most of the weight of the upper body and as a result, can be easily injured or overused. Lower back pain is experienced by a majority of the population and it is one of the most common reasons for people missing work and staying home. While back pain can be a short-term problem, lasting a few days or weeks, it can also sustain into the long term and last for a few months. The good news is that lower back pain is treatable and preventable, and most patients recover within 6 weeks time.
Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain
Symptoms of lower back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person incapacitated. Pain can begin abruptly due to accident, injury or illness, or it can develop slowly over time due to age and lifestyle factors. Symptoms of lower back pain can include a dull ache or stiffness in the lower back, tingling or numbness in the legs, pain in the hips and muscle spasms or sharp pain in the back. You may also experience difficulty in standing upright or moving around.
Causes of Back Pain
Most causes of lower back pain are due to irritation of the bones, joints, ligaments or muscles in the lower back. Poor functioning and use of the lower back can also cause pain. Irritation can be a result of vertebral dysfunction, a common condition occurring when spinal vertebrae compress/irritate delicate nerve structures in the lower back.
Other causes can include inflammatory arthritis, fractures due to osteoporosis or ‘referred’ from another location. Less common causes of back pain can include kidney problems, cancer of the prostate or lung, and infection or compression of the spinal cord. If you are experiencing new bladder problems, numbness in the legs and thighs, fever and chills, throbbing in the abdomen, unexplained weight loss or sustained a serious fall or injury, it is important to seek medical help immediately.
Short Term Solutions To Lower Back Pain
Some short term solutions can be implemented to relieve lower back pain symptoms. Non-prescription pain killers and anti-inflammatories can be used to help alleviate acute pain. Creams, lotions, and gels that contain pain killers or anti-inflammatory ingredients can also be used; however, they are not to be used in addition to tablets as they interact.
Lower back pain does often get better on its own without treatment in the short term, but when it doesn’t, there are treatment options available.
Should I See A Physio For My Lower Back Pain?
Some people may find consulting with a physiotherapist can help. Physiotherapists can help with the diagnosis of back problems, mobility, exercises, stretching, and advice. It’s a good idea to contact a physiotherapist if your back pain persists for longer than a few weeks. Physiotherapy is a great way to reduce pain and get you back to normal mobility, but it’s also useful for making changes to your lifestyle to reduce the chance of hurting your back again.
Physiotherapy Treatment For Lower Back Pain
Physiotherapist treatment of back pain will begin with an evaluation of your symptoms and what seems to trigger the back pain. Your physiotherapist will also ask questions about your existing medical conditions, your lifestyle and any medications that you are taking (to ensure that management of your condition is appropriate and specific).
Physiotherapists at Fairfield Physio will perform a detailed history, orthopedic, neurological and spinal examination to determine the exact cause of your pain. We may also recommend other tests including x-rays and other scans after the initial evaluation.
Treatment at Fairfield Physiotherapy focuses on restoring function to poorly moving spinal joints, reducing muscle tension, increasing muscle strength and other treatments tailored to individual cases. These usually consist of spinal and soft tissue mobilisation, core stabilisation advice, strengthening exercises, stretching or heat/cold therapy. Your physiotherapist will also be able to give some advice on what you can do at home to reduce the pain. This can include some exercises to do at home, posture, chair adjustments, and general lifestyle changes.