NB Allied Health

Lower Back Pain: How Mobile Physiotherapy Can Help

Low back pain is one of the biggest ailments in today’s society. It can stem from many causes, some more obvious such and lifting/twisting incidents and some more insidious such as prolonged poor posture, sitting and being inactive. You may have heard the term ‘Non-specific’ low back pain, and felt upset at such a flippant diagnosis, or been told you have ‘sciatica’ or shown scans of your spine with disc bulges and degeneration, but have never been given a satisfying response as to what this means for you.

As Physiotherapists it is our job to determine what is causing your back pain, and we do so by determining if it fits into one of several categories. Firstly, we want to make sure that your pain is not caused from anything more serious, such as spinal cord compression, a fracture or tumors. To determine this we ask several questions regarding your past medical history, overall current health, and some more specific questions about the area and nature of your pain.

Imaging is sometimes used to ensure these more sinister things are not at play. Once that is ruled out, we move on to observation of movement and functional tests that help us to determine if the pain is coming from the bones of the spine or pelvis, the cushioning discs between the spine, the muscles and ligaments or the nerves. If your pain gets categorized as non-specific it does not mean it is not real.

Common contributors to ‘non-specific’ low back pain include muscle strain, ligament sprains, poor posture, overuse, or even stress. Sometimes, there might be underlying issues like muscle imbalances or weaknesses in certain muscle groups that put extra strain on your lower back.

Nerve and disc involvement in back pain can be a worrisome diagnosis, but there are several movements and exercises that can help alleviate pain caused by these structures as well. This type of back pain is often accompanied by imaging, it is important to remember when reading your imaging report that not everyone with findings on their imaging (such as disc bulges and degeneration) has pain, and not everyone with pain has findings on imaging. It is for this reason that we are very thorough in the tests we perform as Physios because we know that imaging alone doesn’t always give us a clear picture.

So what does this mean for you and your level of pain?

There are several options for treatment of low back pain. As experts in exercise we Physiotherapists have seen great results in reduction of pain, and regaining of function from exercise alone. We’ll work together to address your specific symptoms and develop a personalized treatment plan. This might include exercises to strengthen and stabilize your back, techniques to improve your posture, ergonomic adjustments, and possibly some modalities like heat or ice therapy to help alleviate discomfort.

Your GP may recommend different types of injections such as cortisone, or refer you to a specialist who may suggest more drastic options such as surgery. Before you decide which treatment option is best for you, it is important to speak with your team about the risks, success rates, how long the effects can be expected to last, and what the recovery from such procedures might include.

Remember, every individual is unique, so what works for one person might not work for another. Our goal is to find what works best for you and to empower you with the tools and knowledge to manage your pain effectively.

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