Lower Back pain is a condition that 80% of the population will deal with at some point in their life. Physiomobility offers a Back Care program which is focused on treating the acute pain and preventing recurrent back pain for individuals of all ages and activity levels. It also helps expecting or new mothers to get rid of the pain and will assist in rehabilitation for patients to fully recover from injuries and after surgeries.
Click on each link to learn more about common causes of back pain and treatment options:
Most commonly lower back pain is the result of an acute injury, heavy lifting, repetitive sprains, prolonged sitting, and poor posture that puts excessive strain on the spine and surrounding muscles and ligaments. However, there are other causes of lower back pain as well:
Lower back pain is often accompanied by other symptoms as well, such as limited mobility, altered gait, and difficulty walking straight. As a result, the treatment of lower back pain is often multifactorial, involving the use of more than one technique. Depending on the intensity of pain and the underlying cause, your physiotherapist may use different manual therapy techniques, such as massage and spinal manipulation. In addition to this, they will devise a personalized exercise plan as well to restore muscle strength and mobility.
The Back Care program by Physiomobility is a combination of manual therapy, massage, and education complemented by a progressive exercise program. Our therapists may use acupuncture and dry needling to assist in pain management. Although treating pain and returning our patients to their normal life is a priority, our focus is on preventing recurrence with an emphasis on exercise therapy. The focus of the exercise program is on increasing strength and control of core, postural and hip muscles. We also teach you how to improve muscle activation and coordination. In addition, we will include education on making ergonomic changes to work and living environment.
The Back Care program by Physiomobility is a collaboration between our physiotherapists, massage therapists and exercise therapists. Our chiropractors commonly treat acute and chronic back pain conditions. A variety of easy to challenging mat and weight-bearing exercises. Equipment such as suspension training (TRX), Busu ball, and balance beams are also used. Our Pilates and yoga instructors may get involved when our client is ready to have an ongoing exercise routine in a small group session.
Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) refers to the arthritic changes in the spinal discs as you grow older. Characterized as soft, the compressible spinal discs allow flexibility and movement. Degenerative disc disease occurs in the lower back and the neck. The changes in the discs cause pain in the neck, back or both and radiating pain to arms or legs. Degenerative Disc Disease may lead to bulging or herniated disc, and spinal stenosis which cause more severe pain.
Two primary reasons cause degenerative disc disease — the loss of fluid in the discs and tiny tears in the disc’s outer layer. If you feel a tingling or numbness sensation in your buttocks or legs or you are unable to walk without pain, you may have degenerative disc disease.
To treat the pain, you can visit a physiotherapist who will work with you to reduce the pain and restore complete mobility in your spine by teaching you exercises related to strengthening your core muscles, neck and back.
Herniated Discs occur in the lower back or neck. You may sense leg or arm pain with numbness or tingling sensation along with muscle weakness impairing your ability to lift and hold items. Other times, you may not experience any symptoms of a herniated disc.
When you sense worsening pain or a sensation traveling from your leg or arm, you need to seek medical attention to find the cause of pain. Some of the factors that cause herniated discs in the neck and back include:
Your physiotherapist will perform a series of tests to determine the physical tests to determine if you are having trouble walking, feeling muscle weakness or tightness, reflexes ability, and more. Your physiotherapist will then develop a plan, consisting of exercises that require you to bend and twist, weight training exercises, and other alternative methods.
Sacroiliac Joints (SIJ) pain and dysfunction link the lower spine to the pelvis. To form the SI joints, the right tailbone connects with the left sides of the pelvic bones. The SI joints need to form a rigid connection, allowing the person to moves, but only to a certain degree.
Abnormal or excessive movement of the joints leads to Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. A person with SI joint pain-dysfunction may experience pain in the lower back, buttock, hip, and sciatic pain. The two primary types of SI joint pain are hypermobility (moving too much) or instability and hypomobility (moving too little) or stiffness.
The goal of physiotherapy is to restore full function of the joints. A physiotherapist can examine and identify the type of SI joint pain the person has. Physiotherapists utilize several different types of techniques and therapies to treat the condition and also recommend exercises for them to perform at home.
The term ‘sciatica’ is used for pain resulting from the compression or irritation of the Sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the human body. It runs from the back of the pelvis right to the feet.
The symptoms resulting from the compression of the nerve are usually limited to the legs and buttocks. Common symptoms of sciatica include:
In most cases, sciatica is caused by a slipped disc. However, other spinal conditions, such as a spinal injury, infection, or tumor may also cause sciatica. While the symptoms of sciatica often resolve with conservative treatment, more severe cases may require continuous physiotherapy or surgery. Physiotherapists use strengthening and stretching exercises to strengthen the spinal column and alleviate sciatic pain. In addition to this, low-impact aerobic exercises are also used to facilitate the recovery and help the patient regain their strength and mobility.
Pregnancy-related back pain is commonly experienced by expecting mothers. The intensity of back pain can be controlled with proper care through physiotherapy, exercising, massage or other treatments. Most pregnant women develop back pain during their second trimester. Pregnancy-related back pain is the result of excess weight and pressure at the SIJ joints, where the pelvis and spine meet, the lumbar spine, or the two parts of the pelvic rim. Hormone changes, muscle separation, posture changes, stress, and weight gain are responsible for back pain in pregnant women.
The treatment protocol for back pain for an expecting mother includes joint mobilization, massage, and soft tissue release, stability exercises, and yoga or Pilates to reduce the back pain. Other activities benefiting would include walking, stationary cycling, and swimming, all of which will help you strengthen abdominal, pelvic floor muscles and back.
Evidence supports the importance of mobility in treating lower back pain. Physiotherapy including manual therapy and exercise is the most effective and cost-effective treatment option for low back pain. Other treatments to manage pain are also important to assist in adding more comfort while the exercise program takes effect.
Most back pain caused by an injury and muscle strains usually improve with rest, continued moderate mobility and occasionally over the counter pain medication. If the back pain is recurrent and does not go away and gets worst, it is time to visit a physiotherapist, a chiropractor or your family physician.
Also, you need to visit your doctor if you have a history of cancer, osteoporosis and steroid use and experience sudden back pain with no particular injury or overuse.
In rare cases, a back pain that does not improve with treatments can signal a more serious problem. a visit to the ER is necessary if the back pain is accompanied by other signs and symptoms such as:
Author: Gita Mikal, Registered Physiotherapist certified in pain management