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Back Pain

Approximately 4.0 million people or 1 in 6 Australians (16%) had back problems in 2017–18 [1]. Lower back pain continues to be an issue in today's society and will unfortunately continue to be in our futures. Global prevalence of back pain is much the same as Australians with those in their middle to older ages being at greater risk of experiencing chronic lower back pain [2,3]. With an ageing population in Australia this will continue to be one of the larger burdens our health system[1].


If you’re experiencing back pain you’re not alone and there is a solution. Other Australians report pain at least "moderately" interfering with daily activities for almost 2 in 5 people with back problems [1]. Lower back pain can be debilitating it can effect our ability to do the things we love to do participating in different hobbies or effect the ability to perform tasks we might not enjoy so much like everyday activities of taking the rubbish out. In order to take steps forward to your recovery its important to understand what’s contributing to your back pain and what’s the actual source of it.


The pain you’re experiencing could be attributed to many things; is it work related? caused from lifestyle or sports? existing conditions? Previous injuries contributing to the way you move and subsequent back pain? Or have you experienced direct trauma or injury recently? Lower back pain can present as acute or sub-acute injury or longer term chronic and recurrent pain where there isn’t always necessarily an event or mechanism where you’ve hurt yourself.





People experience differing symptoms ranging from dull and aching just in the back to sharp shooting pain in your back and down your legs. Lower back pain can be mechanical, neurological and or psychosomatic in nature. So what are the structures in your back that may be causing your pain? Our lower back or lumbar spine is made up of the vertebrae/bones in our back; facet joints and articulating surfaces of the vertebrae; intervertebral discs; muscles, ligaments and nerves. Your pain may originate from a strain or sprain to muscles/joints/ligaments twisting awkwardly in a sporting activity; disc irritation or injury from bending over to pick up your toolbox or sitting incorrectly at work for a long period of time; and or further nerve root compression or irritation from similar mechanisms or poor work or lifestyle repeated movement patterns.


So what do you need to do about it? What can we do to help? Physiotherapy and exercise are an effective management strategy of back pain; an individual’s beliefs regarding their pain and experiences are also an integral part of their ability to recover [4-6].


How Our Physio can help?


  • Comprehensive assessment and accurate diagnosis

  • Education and advice

  • Structured hands on treatment and exercise therapy to facilitate recovery

  • Home exercise prescription

  • Return to pre-injury activity


Everybody’s situation is different thus independent assessment and subsequent treatment applied would be tailored to the individuals needs a goals regarding their return to work or getting their life back on track without having to suffer from debilitating back pain.

Should you have any further questions regarding back pain or would like to discuss your injury with a physiotherapist, please contact Our Physio Central Coast (02) 4339 4475.


References


[1] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020. Back problems. Cat. no. PHE 231. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 03 December 2020, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/back-problems


[2] Hoy, D., Bain, C., Williams, G., March, L., Brooks, P., Blyth, F., ... & Buchbinder, R. (2012). A systematic review of the global prevalence of low back pain. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 64(6), 2028-2037.


[3] Meucci, R. D., Fassa, A. G., & Faria, N. M. X. (2015). Prevalence of chronic low back pain: systematic review. Revista de saude publica, 49, 73.


[4] Moseley, L. (2002). Combined physiotherapy and education is efficacious for chronic low back pain. Australian journal of physiotherapy, 48(4), 297-302.


[5] Woby, S. R., Roach, N. K., Urmston, M., & Watson, P. J. (2007). The relation between cognitive factors and levels of pain and disability in chronic low back pain patients presenting for physiotherapy. European journal of pain, 11(8), 869-877.


[6] Smith, C., & Grimmer‐Somers, K. (2010). The treatment effect of exercise programmes for chronic low back pain. Journal of evaluation in clinical practice, 16(3), 484-491.

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