Are you suffering from low back pain? If so, then physiotherapy might be the answer to your problem. Physiotherapists are trained allied health professionals who specialise in treating musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, sports injuries, and back pain. They provide treatment through manual therapy, exercise therapy, electrotherapy, and various other methods.
Physiotherapy is a holistic approach to healing. The goal is to restore function and reduce pain. This involves assessing the patient’s condition, diagnosing the underlying causes, and providing appropriate treatments and exercise programs.
The 2 main reasons people experience low back pain
- Prolonged sitting – e.g. office workers.
- Excessive bending and lifting – e.g. tradies and childcare workers.
The top 3 strategies to reduce your low back pain
- Move regularly – get up and move every 45 minutes
- Stretch in the opposite direction – 10 x 10second extension based exercises either in sitting, standing or laying on your stomach
- Strengthen your core and gluteal muscles, focusing on a posterior pelvic tilt. This will improve your posture, unload your back muscles and help to improve your manual handling technique and endurance.
Exercises that maintain normal flexibility and muscle strength support the spine and provide the best defence against low back pain.
Good spine posture and safe lifting techniques (at home, at work, and during exercise) decrease your chances of developing lower back pain. Your physiotherapist can assist you in discussing the specific postures and activities you perform regularly. Learning how to position yourself and move safely will minimise your chances of low back pain.
Is physiotherapy effective for low back pain?
Physiotherapy is one of the most effective treatments for low back pain. There is a substantial amount of research to back up the techniques that we employ. Most low back pain cases respond well to manual therapy and an exercise programme.
Manual therapy examples include massage, joint mobilisation, manipulations and myofascial release. These techniques help to reduce pain and restore movement.
The exercise programme usually consists of range of motion and mobility exercises, trunk and leg muscle strengthening, and a progressive return to activities.
Acupuncture, taping, and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) are standard treatments that physiotherapists may use.
How does a physiotherapist treat back pain?
To rule out more serious causes of back pain, your physiotherapist will examine you extensively.
Various injuries can cause back pain, and treatment varies greatly depending on your diagnosis. The goal of physiotherapy treatment is to protect your damaged tissue while also accelerating muscle and ligament healing and looking at ways of preventing a recurrence.
At Enhance Physio, we typically use the following techniques:
- Mobilisation and manipulation of joints.
- Stretching of soft tissues and muscles.
- Exercises for stabilisation and strength.
- Back pain relief through postural correction.
In addition, we offer ergonomic and occupational guidance, i.e. workstation set-up and lifting technique.
Exercises to avoid if you have lower back pain
- Back squats
People with chronic low back pain should avoid carrying weights completely.
- Standing toe touches
It increases the risk of stress to the lower back’s discs and ligaments as it causes increased extension of the lower back.
- Overhead or shoulder lifting of weights
Lifting weights overhead while suffering from low back pain places undue strain on the spine and back muscles, increasing the risk of muscle spasms and ligament tears.
This puts additional strain on the spine and aggravates back pain.
- Abdominal crunches
This hyperextends the spine and ligaments, so it should be avoided.
- Leg lifts or leg raises
This exercise requires a strong core and heavy strain on the back.
- Superman back extensions
This position involves the most core and back muscles and causes the most stress. As a result, anyone experiencing even minor low back pain should avoid it entirely.
How do I know if my back pain is serious?
A sudden injury most commonly causes acute low back pain. The muscles and ligaments that support the back are the most commonly injured. Muscle spasms or a strain or tear in the muscles and ligaments are the most likely sources of the pain.
The following neurological symptoms should be evaluated as soon as possible:
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
- Muscle weakness in the legs.
- Feeling of pins and needles (paraesthesia).
- Alterations in reflexes.
- Walking difficulties.
- Feeling of numbness (anaesthesia).
In these cases of neurological deficit, be sure to get in touch with your nearest physiotherapist as soon as possible.
At Enhance Physio, our expert physiotherapists can perform a full assessment and customise a program to help relieve your low back pain.
Your physiotherapist will assess the severity of your low back pain and establish a customised pain treatment plan based on your assessment. No two cases of low back pain are ever the same.