Low Back Pain! What causes back pain and what can you do about it?
Why do Osteopaths commonly treat low back pain?
As Osteopaths, the general public mostly assume that we only treat back pain. The truth is that low back pain is something that we commonly see and treat because LOTS of people get it!!
Around 25% of Australians experience low back pain on any given day, which is keeping people out of work and reducing Australia’s GDP by $3.2 billion each year (too many, too much!).
It’s safe to say that you’ve either had low back pain or you will at some point experience it. Considering this we thought we’d do a blog about it!
Firstly, What is the “low back”?
The low back has 5 vertebrae, which we call the lumbars. They are the only bony structures connecting your ribcage to your pelvis, so they need to balance between keeping you stable and keeping mobile. The joints between each lumbar vertebrae are designed to flex, extend, side bend, and rotate to varying degrees, while surrounding muscles help achieve these movements. Fluid filled discs between each vertebrae provide cushioning and shock-absorption for your lumbar spine.
How is low back pain caused?
It can have a variety of causes that include:
- inappropriate lifting technique
- poor seated posture
- prolonged lumbar flexion
- repetitive movements/overuse
- unaccustomed or increased activity
- seated twisting movements
These are the common ways to injure your back but they are not the only causes of low back pain. Some people with back pain will not remember what caused it to occur.
What is Mechanical Low Back Pain?
Acute mechanical low back pain refers to pain originating from joints, discs, vertebraes, or soft tissues – features of the musculoskeletal system. In most cases, these tissues can be treated conservatively (without surgical intervention) alongside prescribed rehabilitative exercises.
Due to the extensive variety of tissues susceptible to injury, getting an assessment and diagnosis of your low back pain is important in order to rule out more sinister causes and begin appropriate treatment.
How Osteopathy can help with mechanical low back pain?
As Osteopaths, assessment of low back pain will involve taking a thorough case history, using your description of your pain to help identify potential sources of the pain.
We do some physical testing of your back, specifically attempting to re-aggravate painful structures, to get a better idea of the tissue causing pain and your limitation of movement. We then assess your posture, the way your body moves, and look for signs of dysfunction; tenderness, asymmetry, restriction, or tissue texture changes.
Once we have a working diagnosis, we will discuss and implement a treatment plan. Osteopaths generally use a hands-on approach to treatment, including soft tissue techniques, muscular stretches and contractions, and manipulation and articulation of joints to name a few. Treatment will be different for everybody as it is tailored for your body and your specific low back pain.
Preventing low back pain or re-injury
Most people who experience low back pain that limits their level of activity will go on to have another episode later. To avoid low back pain or the reduce your chance of re-injury, it is important to:
- complete stretches or exercises prescribed to you
- maintain regular physical activity – if your usual activity is giving you pain, find something that you can do to keep moving that you can tolerate
- ease into a change in physical activity – always start a new activity gently, with enough rest time between trying again!
- have a break from prolonged sitting and standing postures – set a timer on your phone or make a note on your screen to get up and move every hour
For some helpful rehabilitative exercises read our blog or core exercises
Are you experiencing low back pain or do you want to prevent it?
Schedule an appointment with one of our lovely Osteopaths to get a an assessment and advice to start feeling better today! Book online or contact the clinic on 95703388.