The lower back is the area of the spine between the bottom of the ribs and the pelvis. 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.
Low back pain is a very common problem – statistics show that 8 out of 10 Australians suffer from back pain at some time. It can be so painful that becomes extremely debilitating.
Injuries can happen when you do something new, different or strenuous, such as lifting heavy items or playing a new sport. The pain may also occur because of a build-up of stress on the back that gradually turns into an injury. Although serious causes of back pain are rare, it is important that you have your condition assessed by a qualified health professional such as a physiotherapist.
The goals of treatment for acute low back pain are to relieve pain, improve function, reduce time away from work, and develop coping strategies through education. Optimising treatment may minimise the development of chronic pain, which accounts for most of the health care costs related to low back pain.
Treatment may include:
- Joint mobilisation & manipulation
- Ice/Cold therapy
- Therapeutic Exercises
- Stretching tight muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments
- Core stability exercises to improve bracing muscles
- Teaching and prescription of a home exercise program to assist in recovery and prevent re-occurrence
- Muscle energy techniques
- Clinical Pilates
- Use of a sacroiliac belt or lumbar brace
- A gradual return to activity program
- Pelvic alignment techniques
- Dry needling
- Trigger point therapy
- Activity modification advice
- Instruction in proper body mechanics during bending, lifting and carrying heavy objects
- Ergonomic adjustments in the work place
Physiotherapists are experts in the assessment of musculoskeletal injuries, especially acute low 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.