Lower back pain is a very common experience. It can range from a mild discomfort to significant pain. While lower back pain will often dissipate on its own, the best way to make sure it won't return is treatment. Regardless of the severity of your lower back pain, our team of physiotherapists at Motion Works Physiotherapy in Orleans are here for you. Here, they explain how we can help prevent and recover from back pain.
What is lower back pain?
Lower back pain is a quite common source of discomfort for people. It can be caused by a wide range of motions, behaviours and habits including sitting for too long, poor physical fitness, chronic health issues or carrying heavy objects with improper form. When your identify lower back pain as an issue in yourself and ask your doctor about it, it will often prescribe you with physiotherapy.
This month-long course of physiotherapy will help to strengthen your body and relieve your pain. If physiotherapy isn't successful, there are other treatment options available as well, up to and including surgery.
Lower back pain comes in two varieties, localized and radiating pain. Localized pain is felt only in your lower back and in your buttocks, radiating pain can be felt down one or both of your legs and in your feet as well. Radiating pain can also manifest itself as a numbness in either leg or a tingling sensation. If you experience any of these symptoms, it might be worth looking up a physiotherapy center and inquiring about physical therapy treatments for your condition.
Risk Factors for Low Back Pain
Lower back pain can be caused by many different factors. One of the most common is poor posture: especially while sitting for extended periods of time at home, at work, or in your car.
Tight hamstrings are another common culprit in lower back pain. When your hamstrings can't stretch enough for a forward bend, your back will lake the stretch or load. When this is done often, it will result in a strained back. Weak core muscles can be a factor in this as well. Issues in that department will often require deep abdominal and spinal stabilization to resolve the pain.
In other cases, if the Thoracic (rib cage and spine) is not mobile enough for rotation and sports/movements, your lower back will try to compensate. The problem in these cases is that the lower back joints only have 1 - 3 degrees of movement each, and only 5 segments (5 - 15 degrees of rotation), so this compensation can very easily lead to joint damage and injury.
Finally, it is also important to note that pain in the legs can also often be related or directly caused by problems with the back, even if you aren't actually feeling any back pain.
All of this is to say, that where it is hurting isn't always where the problem originates from. It also means that even if you aren't experiencing pain in your back, that there aren't issues with your back's health which need to be resolved in order to alleviate pain elsewhere.
Should I Wait For My Pain To Go Away On Its Own?
The answer here is a resounding no! While lower back pain will eventually subside, if your pain is untreated it will likely flare up again later. This pain may even become chronic if it is left for long enough as the root cause of your pain continues to affect your body. The quicker you are able to get help through treatment of your back pain, the better.
Physiotherapy for your lower back help to strengthen your body and prevent you from being injured or experiencing pain again, not only dispelling your discomfort, but ensuring you have the exercises and tools to prevent it in the future.
Kinds of Physical Therapy Treatments for Lower Back Pain
There are two general categories of physiotherapy which can be used to treat lower back pain: passive and active physical therapies.
Passive physical therapies involve things being done to you as a patient. These can range from cold and hot packs applied to area causing you pain, to electrical stimulation of the muscles in painful areas. Active physical therapies, in contrast, focus on stretches and exercises conducted by you as a patient targeting the injury or source of discomfort. For most treatments for lower back pain, active physical therapies will be given the most priority.
Your physiotherapy treatment plan will be specifically targeted at the source of your pain and your needs, however most physiotherapy treatment plans for lower back pain will include manual therapy and movement exercises. Manual therapy involves your physiotherapist using hands-on techniques to loosen stiff joints and muscles in and around your spine. Movement exercises help to restore motion, flexibility and strength in your body, alleviating pain the process. These exercises will be shown and taught to you by your physiotherapist and then prescribed for you to do on your own as well.
Physiotherapy for Lower Back Pain And Surgery
While physical therapy can often completely alleviate and prevent lower back pain in the future, sometimes issues are more difficult to fix. In particularly severe instances of chronic back pain, or pain which can be caused by a source which can't be entirely addressed by physical therapy, surgery will be required for the pain to be truly alleviated.
While that may be the case, there is plenty of evidence that physiotherapy treatment before and after surgery of any kind improve the efficacy and speed of your recovery. If your body is active and healthy, it will heal better from any surgical procedure. Unless there are reasons that you wouldn't be able to do so, your doctor will usually prescribe you a treatment of physical therapy for your lower back pain before considering surgical interventions.
You should visit your doctor when you begin experiencing persistent lower back and speak to them before pursuing physiotherapy so they have an opportunity to assess you for causes such as a fracture or tumor, which may not require, or even inhibit the effectiveness of physiotherapeutic treatments.
Is your lower back causing your pain and discomfort?
If your are experiencing pain in your lower back, our team of specially trained Orleans physiotherapists are here to help you recover.