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.