Lower Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the leading causes of musculoskeletal pain in Australia. It is one of the most common and costly health conditions, with up to 70 per cent of Australians experiencing low back pain at some stage throughout their lifetime, whilst 25 per cent have low back pain at any given time.

Not all incidents of low back pain present the same. It may present as an acute, sudden episode or can be chronic in nature. Pain may be felt in the lower back, centrally or just on one side, or sometimes there is minimal to no pain in the back and pain that originates from the low back may actually be felt in the buttocks, hip or leg.

There is often no formal diagnosis for low back pain and approximately 80 per cent of cases are referred to as non-specific low back pain.  That is, the cause and structures involved are not always clearly identifiable. Any combination of anatomical structures such as muscles, joints, ligaments, cartilage and discs may be responsible for causing the pain.  In most cases of low back pain imaging, such as x-rays, CTs and MRIs, are not warranted.

Most episodes of low back pain will improve with time and the right care. Your physiotherapist can assess your low back and provide you with a prognosis and treatment plan appropriate to your condition. They will look at your range of movement, flexibility, strength, control and function; as well as asking you imperative questions regarding your pain levels, aggravating factors and goals.

Treatment is often varied and will be dependent on your condition. Soft tissue therapy such as massage, dry needling and cupping can be a good means to reduced muscle spasm, while manual therapy including joint mobilisations and neural gliding can help improve range. All treatment will aim to alleviate symptoms and improve functionality.

Your physiotherapist will also provide you with advice and education to help you manage your pain at home, helping you get on with your day to day activities. They will also prescribe you appropriate exercises to address any concerns identified in your assessment, speeding up your recovery and minimising the chance of re-injury in the future.