Your Questions Answered – Low Back Pain
Most of us are familiar with low back pain, whether it be from our own personal experiences or from others we may know. Back pain can have a huge impact on our everyday life and tasks of daily living may become a struggle or even seem impossible.
Suffering from low back pain is not uncommon and you are not alone!
Typically, low back pain affects 60-80% of us throughout our lifetime.
How long can it last?
Low back pain can be somewhat confusing. For some it can go away so fast they forget it was even there, or for others it can feel like a lifetime of pain.
Luckily enough for most, low back pain can be short lived. Acute low back pain can resolve independently within days or last for up to only 6 weeks.
However, this pain can also progress to a chronic state and last longer than 12 weeks.
What is the source of my pain?
The sources of low back pain varies for all individuals and the causes can often not even be found via imaging. The ligaments, muscles, bones and/or discs that make up our backs can all be sources of pain.
In fact, for majority of low back cases, no one definite anatomical structure can be identified as the source of pain. This is what we call ‘non-specific’ low back pain, a term you may already be familiar with.
More serious and specific pathologies like infections, inflammatory disorders, cancer and fractures only ever make up a small amount of cases and are rarely the source of our pain.
How did this pain start?
Different factors can contribute to the initial cause of our low back pain and this varies and is specific to each individual. Some may experience pain after sudden trauma or movements (twisting, bending and lifting etc.), others may arise from repetitive movements, overload, prolonged positions/postures and many other things. Pain can also develop without any recollection of an apparent cause.
What can I do and how can Physiotherapy help?
Management differs depending on the individual and how they present. One important thing to consider when experiencing low back pain is trying to remain as active as possible (specific to your own presentation). We don’t want our back pain to stop us from doing the things we love, so it is great to try and continue doing our normal things or even modifying them accordingly.
Seeing a physiotherapy is a great place to start, as they can help you understand your back pain and can work with you to develop an individualised management plan to help you treat/manage your pain. Some ways a physiotherapist can help is by providing manual therapy techniques (massage, mobilisation, and manipulation), guided exercises, education and advice around self-management.
If you or anyone you know could do with some help or would like further information, our group of physiotherapists are happy to help. Check out our website for more information of the techniques we can provide or contact our clinic to book your next appointment.
Balague, F, Mannion, AF, Pellise, F & Cedraschi, C 2012, ‘Non-specific low back pain (Author abstract)(Report)’, The Lancet, vol. 379, no. 9814, pp. 482–91.
Brukner, P, Clarsen, B, Cook, J, Cools, A, Crossley, K, Hutchinson, MR, McCrory, P, Bahr, R & Khan, K 2017, Brukner & Khan’s clinical sports medicine. Volume 1, Injuries, 5th edn., McGraw-Hill Education (Australia) Pty Ltd, North Ryde, NSW.