Physiotherapy is central to the increase of mobility and functional ability of the human body. When physiotherapists treat the lower back, there are a number of considerations in ensuring a condition is diagnosed and treated appropriately.
Most important lower back conditions not to miss:
The most common conditions that physios will treat in relation to back pain are Intervertebral disc pathology (also known as Lumber disc disorder), Apophyseal joint pain, Sacroiliac joint injury/inflammation, and Paravertebral and gluteal trigger points. It is important to identify these conditions to facilitate effective treatment of them. As such, it is important to be aware of the main symptoms of these conditions:
Intervertebral disc pathology: There is localised tenderness in the lower back. Any existing pain might be made worse by sitting or bending forward. Pain is persistent and lasts longer than six weeks. With internal disc disruption, people will often have a deep ache in the low back that increases over several months. Pain is worse with motion.
Apophyseal joint pain: Typically, there is back pain just to one side of the spine. This is normally made worse by side bending toward the affected side or extending the spine (backward bending). The back will generally feel stiff in the morning. In some cases there may be irritation of the nerve roots, which emerge from the spinal cord at the level of the problem, causing pain to refer to the buttock, groin, or hamstring region. This is known as Sciatica. Often this problem is made worse by prolonged sitting or standing in one position.
Sacroiliac joint injury/inflammation: Restricted hip movement or having a stiff lower back after extended periods of remaining still or sedentary, or when getting up in the morning. Having trouble bending down.
Paravertebral and gluteal trigger points: Pain and tight back muscles, and active trigger points will cause pain even at rest. The trigger point will be painful if pressed and may cause referred pain. An active trigger point may cause twitching in the muscle. Being aware of these symptoms will help an efficient diagnosis of the condition, and so can lead to your physiotherapist deciding the most effective course of treatment.
Diagnosis and treatment:
In order to diagnose the problem, the therapist will conduct a number of tests to understand your specific condition. These will consist of looking at your posture and range of movement, whether you are suffering from muscle spasms, and even analyse your walking pattern. They might also perform a number of special orthopedic tests to gain a full accurate diagnosis.
Naturally, the type of treatment that a therapist would conduct on lower back pain varies from case to case. Manual therapy is often performed in various forms in order to appropriately manipulate the affected area. Various other forms of therapy that often prove beneficial include exercise therapy, heat therapy, electrotherapy.
If the diagnosis relates to a muscle tear or injury, there might be significant variation in the treatment administered. A typical treatment will involve early icing and compression of the affected area, followed by a short period of immobilisation depending on the severity of the injury. As mobilisation is improved, the range of movement will dictate the types of exercises that are conducted within the subject’s pain limit. it also might be appropriate to gently massage the affected muscle, but this is sometimes best avoided to preclude exacerbating the injury. With careful treatment and exercises, the muscle can return to full strength.
For more information about Back Pain
If you would like additional information about back pain or to discuss how we may be able to help with your back injuries and issues, please contact us!