Acute Low Back Pain
It is thought that almost everyone will experience at least one episode of acute low back pain at some point in his or her life. While this acute low back pain can be extremely painful, many episodes of lower back pain will resolve within 2-3 days, but deficits in the muscles in your back may still remain. Recurrence rates, however, have been found to be staggeringly high with 60-96% of sufferers having another episode of low back pain.
Specific exercises targeting the deep muscles that support your back have been shown to significantly decrease these recurrent episodes. Many forms of exercise including aerobic exercise or specific exercises to target deep muscles of the back can be effective in reducing recurrences of low back pain. Your physiotherapist will advise you on the best form of exercise for your back. You can contact us here for more advice.
One of the most common conditions that patients present to our chartered physiotherapists is lower back pain. Low back pain is a common musculoskeletal symptom that may be either acute or chronic. A variety of diseases and disorders that affect the lumbar spine can cause lower back pain.
Occasionally, sciatica accompanies lower back pain. Sciatica is pain that results from irritation of the sciatic nerve and typically radiates from the buttock to the back of the thigh. The first step in obtaining effective pain relief is identifying the symptoms, along with an accurate diagnosis of the underlying cause of the pain. The pain may travel further down the back of the calf and into the foot.
Lower back pain is extremely common but the symptoms and severity of lower back pain vary greatly.
Manual Therapy and Physiotherapy
Manual therapy or manipulative therapy is a physical treatment that involves joint mobilization and joint manipulation. Here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic, our team of physiotherapists use it to treat musculoskeletal pain and disability. Current research states that manual therapy may improve clinical outcomes for acute and sub-acute low back pain, especially within the first six weeks.
There is strong evidence to suggest that patients who suffer with chronic pain benefit greatly from physiotherapy. A supervised exercise programme, such as those prescribed by our chartered physiotherapists, can deliver invaluable results which include; faster return to work, reduced recurrence rate, less sick leave, reduced pain, and increased mobility.
Sciatica is pain in the lower extremity resulting from irritation of the sciatic nerve. The pain of sciatica is typically felt from the low back (lumbar area) to behind the thigh and can radiate down below the knee. The pain from this condition is sometimes referred to as sciatic nerve pain. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and begins from the nerve roots in the lumbar spinal cord in the low back. It extends through the buttock area to send nerve endings down the lower limb.
With this condition, not everyone will experience back pain but sciatica will present as back pain with leg pain, or leg pain only. Pins and needles can also occur with sciatica. Disc disorders are the major cause of sciatica, but inflammation coming from any structure in the back can also be a source of pain.
Triggers of Sciatica
The most common trigger of pain for a sciatica sufferer can be a normal movement like bending over to pick something up. Physiotherapy can successfully treat this problem using techniques including those that directly target the sciatic nerve pain. The most common cause of pressure is a bulging or herniated disc that compresses the nerve near the spine.
Leg pain in association with low back pain, however, is not always sciatica. When painful, many structures in the back can refer pain to the leg. This means that even though pain is felt in the leg, the problem is actually in the back. Physiotherapy can also successfully treat this pain by using techniques that concentrate directly on the structures causing the pain. Contact our team here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic if you would like any more information about sciatica.
TIP: When you have your first episode of low back pain keep as active as you can avoiding the painful movements. Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you need painkillers to remain active. Bed rest may help initially but evidence suggests that three or more days in bed with low back pain may result in a poor long term prognosis. Consult us as soon as possible to address the muscle deficits mentioned above.
To find out more about the services that Ballsbridge Physiotherapy can provide please contact us.