Lower back pain is the most prevalent musculoskeletal pain that people report.
The bottom line is injuries, misusing, and/or over using the spine can lead to damaging the critical structures which create back pain.
Causes of Back Pain
The correlation between a sedentary lifestyle (e.g. office based occupations) and back pain is undeniable. Therefore, sitting is on top of the list and the main culprit.
Overuse such as repetitive lifting, turning and twisting case cause back pain.
Sudden traumatic injuries such as lifting a heavy load using the back (instead of legs) can cause damage to soft tissues in the lumbar region which usually create severe lower back pain.
The Importance of Back Pain Diagnosis
When it comes to back pain, physiotherapy and conservative treatment should be the first intervention as its imperative to diagnose the injured structures and assess the severity of damage.
So no matter if you are an office worker suffering from back pain or you are a mum experiencing back pain from holding a child you need to see your physio to get the right physiotherapy management for your back.
It’s critical to get your back checked and identify the reason for your pain. So many structures in the lower back and any damage or mechanical dysfunction can cause back pain, therefore it is essential to identify the source of your pain in order to attack the injury and fix the problem.
Back Pain Could Become Chronic
Lower back pain has a notorious reputation for becoming chronic. Meaning if you do not get your back pain checked and treated you can experience ongoing pain as well as a range of secondary conditions. The reason for this is that pain compromises the biomechanics in your lower back which leads to the lower back being used differently. Therefore, you end up using the wrong structure which creates different mechanical conditions.
How Our Physiotherapy Helps to Relieve Back Pain?
The way physiotherapy will help you with your back pain is firstly by diagnosing the condition and establishing why the condition occurred. Then, based on the nature of the condition, the severity of the pain, and your goals and activity, the right treatment plan is designed to treat the cause of the pain and not only the pain itself.
We need to understand why the pain won’t go away on it’s own.
Remember, anti-inflammatories are not the answer. Purely reducing the pain without understanding the reason behind its existence can be detrimental.
Once you have the reason behind your back pain diagnosed by your physiotherapist and we make sure the condition is mechanical, you will receive a customised treatment plan which is a combination of hands on techniques and recreating the correct biomechanics in the lumbar region as well as prescribing the right exercise program in order to firstly stabilise and strengthen, and secondly to PREVENT future occurrence.
Lower Back Injuries
Lower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal condition that people suffer from.
The question is why?
Like it or not the human body is not perfect. We are still evolving and the current status of our anatomy, biomechanics and genetics together with the incorrect lifestyle and physical care can create trouble for our backs.
The design of the human body constitutes high levels of loading on the lumbar spine which can create a spectrum of conditions and injuries.
The silent killer in modern times, not only medically but physically.
Risk factors for lower back injuries
Incorrect posture and poor lifting technique
Type of sport/activity
Instability in the core region
Genetics and anatomy
Incorrect posture and poor lifting technique
Postural mal-alignment can create over loading on specific areas of the spine. As a result, each of these areas receive more weight bearing that what they are designed to tolerate.
When it come to the lower back, no matter if you are sitting, standing, walking, or lifting, bad posture can endanger the lower sections of the lumbar region, which are L4 L5 S1.
Probably the easiest one to understand.
The more weight on the spine the more pressure and risk of injury. So let’s leave it there, because it is as simple as it is critical.
Office based injuries have surely exceeded lifting and labour related lower back injuries in the last 4 decades.
Your joints and infact your entire body are subjected to loss of flexibility and elasticity when kept still for long periods of time.
The exact reason why our bodies can feel a bit stiff in the morning
Type of sport/active lifestyle
Uneven loading on the spine combined with repetitive impact can cause damage to the spinal structures.
But there is no way you should avoid playing your sport unless there is a real risk of injury.
It’s always wise to perfect the required techniques for your sport in order to both increase your performance and to reduce the risk of injury, but don’t avoid activities that are healthy and keep you fit because of a fear of hurting yourself. There is a risk of being hit by a bus when crossing the road but not crossing the road because of it is silly!
The more evenly a force is distributed on the spine, the lower the risk of injury.
The majority of lower back injuries occur when there is a unilateral impact applied such as twisting and lifting at the same time.
Provided the technique is correct, the lower back has high tolerance for loading if the muscular structures surrounding the lower back have similar tone and tension.
Can be hereditary and/or environmental.
Again, lack of movement combined with the ageing process creates inflexibility making the spine less resilient to movements. Imagine a dry wooden stick as oppose to a wet one. The dry stick breaks much easier as the flexibility is very poor.
Do not underestimate the role of the adjacent structures in the lower back. For example, the stiffness in the thoracic spine can over load the lower back or tight hamstrings can take the lower back to an extra range than it can normally tolerate.
Sedentary lifestyle causes inflexibility and risk of back injury. So…
Get up, move and stretch!
Lack of core stability may endanger the spine, as the segments (vertebrae) are not stabilised against one another.
Mind you, having a strong 6 pack does not guarantee a stable lower back and a strong core.
Going through a comprehensive core program is imperative for everyone, especially those with a history of lower back pain or pregnancy.
Direct or indirect high impact incidents damaging various structures in the spine and causing wide spectrum of mechanical and structural issue.
Genetics and Anatomy
There is no point in stressing about this group as little can be done about it. However, it is beneficial to understand your body and its potential for various conditions. For example, some people are genetically more prone to developing nerve pain when suffering from back pain due to the anatomical structures in the spine. Or generally taller people are more likely to strain their back when lifting as the centre of gravity is located on a higher level.
What is the key to taking good care of your back?
Well, if you pay attention to the above risk factors, you will see you are already halfway there.
Make sure you are aware of the following:
Stability and engaging core when lifting/carrying
Common back related injuries:
Facet joint strain
Degenerative conditions, such as disc and joint arthritis
Instability and hyper-flexibility
It is imperative to eliminate any possible medical conditions when it comes to lower back pain.
A range of medical complications can cause lower back pain and could be mistaken for a simple muscle strain, such as kidney, prostate, and some digestive complications.
At the initial assessment it is crucial to understand the nature (mechanical as opposed to medical) of the condition before proceeding with the treatment.