Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons to visit a Perth physio. Around 60-80% of people will be affected by lower back pain at some point in their life. Lower back pain can be categorised as acute, lasting for less than six weeks, sub-acute, where it continues for six to twelve weeks, or chronic, when the pain continues for more than three months.
The Cause of Lower Back Pain The majority of lower back pain causes are musculoskeletal in origin. Usually this is caused by muscle strains, joint dysfunction or ligament sprains. But often lower back pain doesn’t have a clear cause. There are many factors which can contribute to lower back pain, or even aggravate existing back pain, these are:
● Poor posture ● Sitting for long periods without breaks ● Stress and anxiety ● Lifting heavy objects ● Pregnancy ● Smoking ● Sedentary habits ● Overweight and obesity ● Accidents
Acute lower back pain is often caused by a sudden injury to the ligaments and muscles which support the back. Muscle spasms or strains can cause pain, however there are other causes such as osteoporosis, spinal disc injury and sciatica.
Other non-musculoskeletal causes for lower back pain include kidney problems, spinal infections, arthritis and issues with female reproductive organs.
Physiotherapy Can Help A qualified physio can identify the cause of your lower back and initiate a treatment plan that is specifically suited to your needs. Any underlying health conditions that may contribute to your condition will also be ruled out to ensure that the correct treatment is given.
Physiotherapy for back pain will: ● Assess the cause ● Increase mobility and strength ● Provide flexibility exercises ● Provide a pain management plan ● Provide education and advice ● Provide referrals if necessary
Remaining Active Research has shown that staying active can help to reduce pain and increase the speed of recovery. It is important to perform appropriate exercises when suffering from lower back pain. A physio will provide advice on what exercises are safe and appropriate to support recovery.
Preventing Lower Back Pain There are many ways to prevent lower back pain or reduce frequency of symptoms. A qualified physiotherapist will help with prevention by providing an individualised strength program. Early diagnosis and treatment are one of the best ways to recover quickly and prevent future back injuries.
Sitting for long periods of time without adequate breaks can aggravate lower back pain. The back needs movement and remaining still for too long often puts the back into a loaded flexed position and causes stiffness to develop. To prevent pain, it’s a good idea to stand up a move around every 30 to 40 minutes. When sitting down, make sure to maintain good posture and provide proper lumbar support. Good quality ergonomic chairs and an ergonomic assessment are an important part of the solution. An experienced physiotherapist will be able to provide ergonomic advice to suit your specific situation.
Maintaining muscle strength and flexibility to support the spine is also a great way to prevent the likelihood of lower back pain occurring. As well as learning safe lifting techniques and maintaining good posture for your body type. Discussing this with a physiotherapist will help with the prevention of future injuries. It will also help with the understanding of positioning and moving the body in the safest way to avoid back injuries.
Booking an appointment with a physio near you can help to manage and treat lower back pain by identifying the cause and any underlying health issues. A qualified physio will help with increasing muscle strength and posture to ensure the safest and fastest recovery from lower back pain.