If you are suffering with, or have ever had low back pain then you will understand what a miserable and limiting condition this can be. Low back pain is the most common musculoskeletal reason for people to seek medical help and studies suggest that in any given year, 50% of the population of the UK will experience an episode of back pain. Over our lifetime the chance of having back pain rises to a huge 80%.
What are the causes of low back pain?
Pain can be traumatic in onset, such as when you lift something too heavy and feel pain instantly in your back, or repetitive micro-traumas or overuse injures such as after bending down for too long laying a new floor or after sitting during a long car journey.
The human spine is vastly complex and sometimes it is possible to identify specific structures that have been injured but sometimes it may be more of a mechanical fault making a simple diagnosis impossible. There are numerous common injuries that physiotherapists treat regularly including:
- Muscle sprains and small tears to the spinal muscles
- Prolapsed discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Spondylitic changes (osteoarthritis)
- Ankylosing spondylitis (inflammatory back pain)
- Osteoporotic fractures
What should I do if I get back pain?
They say that the best cure is prevention and there are steps that you can take to greatly reduce your risk of low back pain. Research has shown that keeping yourself physically fit and active has the biggest impact on lowering your risk. As well as this, care should be taken to use correct lifting techniques or utilise lifting equipment where appropriate. Desk workers should ensure that they have an ergonomical assessment and then try to move around the office as much as possible avoiding prolonged sitting. A physiotherapist will be able to advise you in more detail of all of these things.
If, despite your best efforts, you do suffer low back pain, don’t despair. The NICE guidelines recommend trying to gently keep yourself moving using simple pain killers to achieve this if necessary. Heat and ice can also be used to try and control the pain whilst trying to pace your activities so that you don’t over-do things.
Ultimately, if you have lower back pain, seek advice from a Chartered Physiotherapist as soon as possible. Back pain is the second biggest reason for sick leave, with around 630,000 workers signed off on any given day. In the manual labour industry, low back pain rises to become the biggest cause of any sickness days amongst workers. If you are self-employed or, like most of us, too busy for low back pain to stop you in your tracks contact our experienced physiotherapists in Poole and Bournemouth today.
We will carry out a thorough assessment of your spine, explaining anything we find to you all of the way. We can advise on whether an X-ray or MRI scan for your low back pain would be beneficial. We will then work with you to devise a treatment plan according to our findings. This may include treatments such as joint mobilisations and manipulations, soft tissue release, acupuncture, taping, exercises and postural correction. Low back pain doesn’t have to be such a burden.
If your have any further questions or concerns, call our Chartered physiotherapist today on 01202 725090 to discuss your worries or book a consultation and get started on your recovery.