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What is the 'lower back'?

The back is a large area of the body made up of bones, joints, muscles, fascia, nerves and connective tissue. It forms a connection to all major limbs, so the effects of back-related issues can be felt throughout the entire body. Vice-versa, issues affecting the rest of the body can also present in the back.

The lower back refers to the area below the ribcage and extends down to the Sacroiliac Joints near the top of the pelvis.

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Is Low Back Pain common?

It is estimated that close to 80% of Australian’s will experience some form of Low Back Pain in their life. It is certainly the most common complaint we treat at the clinic and it affects people of all ages and lifestyles.

Why is this happening?

In many cases, the back is one of the most over-utilised areas of your body. What we mean is, on top of performing its intended role, we tend to engage our back to assist with movements even when it should only be playing a supportive role. This might be picking up the slack of weaker muscles elsewhere in the body, or simply because we haven’t learnt to move properly. So, it is little wonder why people develop (and re-develop) back problems throughout their lives.

Does physio help?

Physiotherapy plays a vital role for back-related issues, firstly by relieving pain with a variety of techniques to help relax overactive muscles, or restore movement to restricted area’s and tissues. Physiotherapy not only can help relieve pain and movement, but assist in the retraining of movement patterns to reduce the chance of developing problems in the future.


Common Symptoms related to the back

  • Pain when sitting
  • Pain with bending/lifting
  • Pain during or after activities such as gardening or cleaning
  • Pain during or after a gym session/sport
  • Pain with walking/running
  • Pain or discomfort when lying down/sleeping

Common conditions/injuries we treat

  • Facet joint syndromes
  • Disc bulge/herniation
  • Discogenic pain
  • Sciatica
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) dysfunction
  • Thoracic outlet
  • Muscular spasm/strain
  • Stenosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Nerve entrapment/impingement/radiculopathy/neuropathy
  • Postoperative (microdiscectomy, laminectomy, spinal fusion)

How Physiotherapy can help

  • In-depth whole-body assessment to see which area’s need to be focused on
  • Massage/muscle release techniques
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Manipulation
  • Positional/Myofascial release
  • Dry needling
  • Specific exercise prescription
  • Kinesiology taping/strapping

Our Approach

To gain a clear picture of your unique situation, we will consider all of the following:

We use this information to diagnose your back pain and help create a personalised treatment plan and movement program.


References

  1. Raspe H, Matthis C, Croft P & O'Neill T 2004. Variation in back pain between countries: the example of Britain and Germany. Spine 29:101–1021.
  2. Williams FMK, Bansel AT, van Meurs JB, Bell JT, Meulenbelt I, Suri P et al. 2012. Novel genetic variants associated with lumbar disc degeneration in northern Europeans: a meta-analysis of 4600 subjects. Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-201551.
  3. Manek NJ & MacGregor AJ 2005. Epidemiology of back disorders: prevalence, risk factors, and prognosis. Current Opinion in Rheumatology 17:134–140.
  4. Quittan M 2002. Management of back pain. Disability and Rehabilitation 24:423–434.
  5. Illustration curtesy of https://www.injurymap.com/diagnoses/lower-back-pain