Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain

Research shows that 70-90% of us at some time in our lives will experience an episode of low back pain and at any one time 16% of adults have LBP – https://goo.gl/z7Mcfx.  Its’ causes are many and varied, however it is how we understand and manage it that can make all the difference.

Non – Specific Low Back Pain (NSLBP) is pain that is not attributable to any known specific pathology such as a tumour, structural deformity, infection, an inflammatory disorder, fracture, osteoporosis or nerve impingement and by definition is not linked to tissue damage. Pain perception is a complex phenomenon but in a nutshell, does not necessarily mean tissue damage.

Management of Low Back Pain

Australian guidelines exist for the management of acute (less than 6 weeks’ duration) and chronic (more than 12 weeks’ duration) low back pain.  Our physiotherapists are trained to provide evidence-based solutions to optimise your recovery in the shortest possible timeframe. Consequently, we are well-placed to assess and advise you.

Non-specific low back pain

The good news is that most acute onset NSLBP will settle spontaneously over 1-2 weeks.  The majority of these cases do not lead to ongoing pain and disability. An experienced physiotherapist will exclude structures outside the back which can lead to back pain (eg. hip).  In addition, we will always test for the possibility of any serious pathology which accounts for only 1% of patients.

In the case of acute NSLBP, best practice guidelines support the provision of specific advice to remain active and avoid prolonged bed rest, simple analgesics, specific exercises, manual therapy and heat.  A timely physiotherapy follow-up review is necessary to ensure symptoms are improving and progress the program. Physiotherapists will only refer you for imaging (X-ray, MRI or CT) if pain is ongoing or pathology is suspected.

Chronic low back pain

Pain researchers define chronic low back pain as pain lasting more than 12 weeks.  In the absence of serious pathology, we do not associate this type of pain with tissue damage so why do you still feel the pain? A sensitised neural system seems to be the answer, in which your brain probably perceives pain more readily.  You can, however, retrain your brain but such a complex issue requires you to take a strategic and measured approach.

Strategies for retraining your neural system include:

  • weight loss
  • increasing activity levels gradually
  • cognitive behavioural therapy to reduce fear associated with movement
  • reducing medication gradually – see your GP
  • consider how your thoughts and emotions impact on your pain and daily life.

Furthermore, we recommend you have a look at this very informative and entertaining video for ideas on which strategies may suit you  – https://goo.gl/AwmEPv .

Speak with one of our physiotherapists for a detailed approach to your individual problem.

 

Prevention

To date, researchers have only proven exercise to prevent back pain in randomised controlled trials.

Fitness programs consisting of strength, flexibility, co-ordination, aerobic and endurance components can be extremely beneficial to prevent low back pain as well as recover from an acute episode or manage chronic symptoms. You will find a program more effective if it is supervised, individually designed and you enjoy it.

The best exercise is one that you will continue.

For more information on the conditions we treat and services we offer, or to book an appointment please call 9939 0157 or email us at info@focusphysiotherapy.com.au

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