Lower back pain explained: Find out why it exists and the best back pain treatment options
In our society, lower back pain is a very common problem with more than 80% of us suffering from it at some point in our lives. There are a number of reasons why we experience lower back pain. Thankfully, there are a range of treatment options for lower back pain and, with the help of physiotherapy, you can reach a stage where you can enjoy a pain-free lifestyle.
If you are interested in putting an end to your pain and suffering as soon as possible, book in for a consultation with one of our experienced physiotherapists at our Brisbane clinic. Call us on (07) 3278 1186 or make a booking online.
Types & causes of lower back pain
The lower back is the area of the spine between the bottom of the ribs and the pelvis where there are five movable lumbar vertebrae with discs in between them. They are supported by strong surrounding muscles and ligaments with spinal nerves existing between each of the vertebrae. The pelvis articulates with the spine and provides additional stability and support for the spine.
There are different types of pain that are experienced in this region. The type of pain you experience will affect the best treatment option and pain management strategy for you.
The three main types of lower back pain are:
1. Acute lower back pain
- Lasts less than 3 to 6 months
- Typically a result of direct damage or injury to soft tissue around the spine or in the muscles, tendons and ligaments supporting the lower back
- Gradually resolves over time after the injured tissues heal
- Sharp, severe pain, concentrated in specific location
- Typically experienced by athletes and those starting a new sport or physical activity
2. Chronic lower back pain
- Lasts longer than 3 to 6 months and well after injured tissues have healed
- Can be a result of built up stress on the back that gradually turns into an injury
- More difficult to determine the cause with some cases having no identifiable cause
- Structural spine conditions that may lead to chronic back pain include degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis
- Dull, muted ache covering a larger region and lasting long periods of time
- Typically experienced by pregnant women, people with a sedentary lifestyle, those recovering from major spinal injuries or surgery.
3. Neuropathic lower back pain
- A type of chronic pain that does not have an identifiable cause from injury or other conditions affecting the structural integrity of the spine
- Neuropathic lower back pain occurs when pain becomes an established pathway in the nervous system, becoming the problem in and of itself rather than just being a symptom.
- Different type of pain to musculoskeletal chronic pain that travels along nerves from the spine down the limbs
- Associated with sharp, stabbing burning or cold sensations and perhaps numbness, tingling or weakness.
Lower back pain treatment options
The goals of lower back pain treatment are to relieve pain, improve musculoskeletal function, reduce time away from work and also to develop pain management strategies through education. Seeking preventative treatment early can help minimise the development of chronic lower back pain, which accounts for most of the health care costs related to low back pain.
Physiotherapy offers a non-surgical and effective option for lower back pain treatment, including:
- Joint mobilisation & manipulation
- Therapeutic exercises
- Stretching tight muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments
- Stabilising the core and keeping the skeletal structure in place
- Home exercise program to assist in recovery and preventative re-occurrence
- Electrotherapy and hydrotherapy
- Clinical pilates (including specialist classes for women experiencing pregnancy related back pain)
- Use of a lumbar brace or sacroiliac belt
- Alignment techniques
- Dry needling and/or acupuncture
- Trigger Point Therapy
- Instruction on proper body biomechanics for posture correction and retraining functions like bending, lifting and carrying heavy objects
- Workplace ergonomic adjustments
Risks of leaving lower back pain untreated
Untreated lower back pain can persist and worsen over long periods of time, affecting how your body functions. At Graceville Physio, we are experts in the assessment of musculoskeletal injuries, especially acute low back pain, and in treating all types of back pain. The earlier you see a physiotherapist, the quicker they can help get your back pain under control and get you back to work, sport and life.
If you are interested in putting an end to your pain and suffering as soon as possible, book in for a consultation by calling our specialists in our Brisbane clinic on (07) 3278 1186 or by making a booking online.