Health Tips

Acute Low Back Pain

October 18, 2016

Acute low back pain is a very common complaint with a large percentage of the population experiencing it at some stage of their life. Fortunately back pain is usually self-limiting with recovery occurring within 3-6 weeks, and without prolonged loss of function.

Pain levels may be high, but most cases are non-specific in origin and do not have a serious pathological cause.

Early Physiotherapy can facilitate recovery and help to prevent chronic or recurrent pain.

Physiotherapy in the early stages may include:

  • Pain management
  • Gentle spinal joint mobilisation
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Electrotherapy such as ultrasound, interferential
  • Exercises and movement that relieve the pain

As pain eases and to prevent recurrences:

  • A ‘Core’ stability programme is introduced to re-activate specific postural muscles such as Transversus Abdominis and Multifidus. This needs to be carefully taught and supervised and can be aided by the use of Real Time Ultrasound – the patient is able to see the correct muscles contracting and therefore has feedback that assists muscle training.
  • Stretching of tight muscle groups may be needed
  • Strengthening of the larger global muscles
  • Instruction in correct lifting, bending and carrying techniques
  • Ergonomic adjustments in the workplace or home, eg. correction of the desk chair and computer arrangement.

Other options for Rehabilitation could include:

  • Aquatic Physiotherapy – where all the above principles of treatment are addressed in the warm water of the hydrotherapy pool.
  • Clinical Pilates – using equipment such as the Reformer or the Trapeze; or perhaps by doing mat and fitball exercises.