Back Pain – What You Need To Know – PhysioAdvisor
- Lower Back Pain is the most common cause of occupational disability in industrial society affecting around 70% of individuals at some stage.
- In Australia, the cost of lower back pain is estimated to be $9.17 billion dollars per year.
- Whilst episodes of significant lower back pain often begin around 35 years of age, patients of all ages are seen clinically.
- Patients’ movement patterns play a key role in making lower back pain such a widespread problem.
- To prevent future recurrence, effective treatment must address the underlying cause of back pain.
Is passive therapy the answer?
Used in isolation, passive treatment techniques such as massage, manual therapy, the use of complex machinery or dry needling may provide symptomatic relief. However, these passive therapies do not target the underlying cause of lower back pain. They also do not address lifestyle factors that may be perpetuating the condition.
In clinical practice, it is relatively common to see patients with ongoing back pain despite seeing health professionals. In these cases, patients often have not received adequate education to change their lifestyle factors which perpetuate their condition.
What factors perpetuate back pain?
The following factors often perpetuate lower back pain:
- Poor posture (especially when sitting or sleeping)
- Frequency of bending forwards in our daily lives (e.g. during housework, when sitting, at work, in the garden)
- Excessive sitting (e.g. when driving, eating, socialising, watching TV, reading, using computers, in the office)
- Ongoing involvement in activities that place excessive load on the spine (e.g. excessive lifting, twisting, bending etc.)
- Insufficient recovery periods from activity
- Unhelpful attitudes such as:
- The ‘no pain, no gain’ attitude causing ongoing injury aggravation.
- The ‘see if it gets better by itself’ approach leading to delays in receiving appropriate treatment & education.
- The resigned attitude – ‘I’m too old’ or ‘It’s just the way it is’ leading patients to miss out on evidence based treatment.
- Poor lower back flexibility, strength or control.
- Inadequate core stability or fitness
- An unhealthy or sedentary lifestyle
- Being overweight
- Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Negative beliefs, Fear avoidance
What can I do to address my condition?
One of the most important things you can do to address your lower back pain is to learn appropriate strategies to change lifestyle factors that are perpetuating your condition. This enables your back to have an optimal environment for healing which is crucial for an ideal outcome. Graduated flexibility and strengthening exercises prescribed in an appropriate manner are also vital.
PhysioAdvisor’s injury articles incorporate these evidence based principles, giving you the tools to take control of your injury.
To learn about some of the most common injuries or what may be causing your pain check out the following links:
- Lower Back Pain Diagnosis Guide
- Lumbar Disc Bulge
- Facet Joint Sprain
- Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
- Spinal Degeneration / Arthritis
What if I’m not improving?
Firstly, check out our article, for thorough advice:
Secondly, get it assessed, ideally by an experienced Physiotherapist with post graduate training in the McKenzie ‘Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy’ Approach.
Is my pain likely to recur?
The rate of lower back pain recurrence is high. It is estimated, that there is an approximate 90% chance of recurrence if patients do not appropriately change their movement patterns.
Learning to address the underlying cause of the condition is therefore vital.
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