Spinal Pain is a complex issue and there are a great many causes.
Lower back or spine pain is extremely common, affecting up to 90% of us at some point during our lifetime. It is the third most common reason for GP visits, surpassed only by tiredness and headache.
However, the majority of episodes are self- limiting and a spontaneous recovery is achieved within 4-12 weeks. It is now widely accepted that bed rest is no longer considered beneficial and you should aim to keep functionally active as much as possible within your pain limits. Many of our clients attend the clinic within this period in order to obtain reassurance on the likely cause of their pain and to understand which activities and exercises, alongside our expert advice, are best suited to aid their immediate recovery.
A physiotherapy assessment is beneficial in helping to help determine which structures are involved, the extent of the injury, how long it will take for the tissues to heal and therefore how best to treat it.
Structures which can be injured include:
- Soft tissues – muscles, tendons and ligaments
- Nervous system
- Bones, Joints or discs
- As we get older it is not uncommon to experience osteoarthritis in some of the spinal joints or a loss of ‘plumpness’ in the discs and this may lead to both pain and some loss of movement.
- Symptoms such as numbness, pins and needles, pain or even muscle weakness in the extremities can be experienced as a result of a problem within the spine. These are not necessarily associated with actual back pain. More common however, is a focal point of pain in the lower back or a generalised deep ache that may cover both sides and even extend into the buttocks.
If you have spine or back pain and experience any change in your bowel or bladder control you should contact your GP or Accident and Emergency immediately for further investigations and/or advice.
You may also experience headaches or dizziness if the neck is involved, even if there was no traumatic injury and this can sometimes be shown to stem from poor postural habits.
Treatment may involve:
- Mobilisation and/or manipulation of the joints.
- Massage and stretches to tight muscles.
- Core stability exercises and strengthening work to address muscle imbalance.
- Nerve mobilising techniques or exercises to treat neural sensitisation.
- Taping and postural correction.
- Acupuncture, pain management and electrotherapy such as ultrasound and tens machines.
- Advice on condition, prophylaxis and workstation assessment and recommendations regarding sport and leisure activities.
- Sports specific rehabilitation
As with all issues of this nature the treatment is simplified by early intervention and so the key factor is to seek the correct advice and help as early as possible.