Lower Back Pain

Low back pain is the leading cause of disability globally - with more than 540 million people being affected by activity-limiting low back pain at any one time. The burden of low back pain has reached a tipping point where the prevalence of the condition has doubled in the last 25 years and is expected to continue to increase with an aging and increasingly obese population. This comes at a cost to both the patient and to the health care system with this being the most common condition keeping Australians out of the workforce and with Australia spending $4.8 billion per year on the management of LBP.

There are safe and effective treatments for low back pain; the challenge is ensuring patients get the right care at the right time. A better understanding and changes to the way low back pain management is delivered and applied are key to reversing the problems we see now.

"Around 25% of Australians suffer from LBP on any given day and 50% of Australians suffered from back pain in the last month."

Some of the symptoms that may be experienced range from:
- Dull ache to stabbing or sharp shooting sensation
- Stiffness or tightness of the lower back
- Pins and needles / tingling of the leg
- Tingling of pain in the buttock
- Pain in the hips
- Muscle spasms
- Difficulty walking, bending, lifting or sitting
- Weakness of the leg or foot

Sometimes back pain may be a sign of something serious such as cauda equina. There are some signs and symptoms that accompany the back pain that mean you should seek medical help immediately. These include:
- New bowel or bladder problems, such as urinary frequency or retention
- Numbness through the saddle region
- Sciatic pain where pain in the leg(s) can start in the buttock and travel down to the back of the thighs and legs
- Lower extremity muscle weakness and loss of sensations
- Reduced or absent lower extremity reflexes

Low back pain can relate to traumatic sudden injury such as bending to lift a heavy load that can cause tears or damage to the muscles and ligaments supporting the back. Otherwise, sustained overuse injuries (i.e. poor posture) whereby positional stress or repetitive strain can cause accumulated microtrauma that overloads the lower back structures over an extended period of time that contributes to the back pain.

Other causes of lower back pain include:
- Spinal disc injuries i.e. disc bulge or herniated disc
- Facet joint syndromes
- Spondylolisthesis or spondylolysis
- Sciatica
- Compression fractures
- Degeneration of the spine i.e. osteoporosis
- Spine cancer

Early diagnosis and specific individualised treatment are the best and easiest ways to recover from pain and to prevent future recurrence.

Steps that you can take to lower your risk:
- Stay at a healthy weight
- Correct your posture
- Learn correct lifting techniques
- Exercise regularly - maintain both mobility and strength
- See your health care professional to get an idea of the state of your back

Although lower back pain is common, the diagnosis of the cause of your back pain is specific to you and as a result, the treatment and management vary from case to case. Here at Physiophi, we aim to complete a thorough examination to ensure your condition is assessed holistically to ensure prompt diagnosis, early referral, pain relief, long term self management techniques and prevention strategies specific to your back pain. Low back pain treatment will vary depending on the stage of the injury (acute, sub-acute or chronic) and your specific diagnosis, however, generally your physiotherapist will have the following aims:
- Back pain relief using an array of treatment tools
- Restoring normal range of movement through manual handling and mobility exercises
- Restoring full function through strength and stability functional exercises
- Preventing a recurrence through self-management techniques

If your back pain is not getting better with these exercises or tips, you may need to consult your experienced Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists here at Physiophi who excel at accelerating your recovery to have you pain free and moving freely.

Book now on healthengine.com.au or give us a call on 07 3172 4322 and one of our friendly staff will assist you in making an appointment.

Get back to your best self.