Back Pain Physiotherapy
Back pain treatment from highly trained therapists
You never realise how much you use your back until it starts to hurt. Back pain is a common problem that can interfere with your everyday life in many ways, making it difficult to sleep, sit, stand, walk, and do many other ordinary activities.
Back pain is immensely varied, with assorted underlying causes that affect different parts of your back. It can be a short-term problem that clears up on its own or a long-term condition that troubles you for months or even years.
Thankfully, there are many physiotherapy exercises for back pain that can strengthen your back and provide some relief.
What's Causing Your Back Pain?
It can sometimes be hard to determine the exact cause of your back pain. There are different structures in your back that could be responsible, including muscles, discs, nerves, ligaments and joints. Your brain can also get confused about what's actually hurting, so a herniated disc might feel like a bruised muscle.
This is why seeing a doctor or physiotherapist is important if you're experiencing back pain. They can conduct a thorough examination, and you will have the opportunity to describe your pain so that they can work out the most likely cause. That helps determine the most appropriate back pain treatment.
Physiotherapy for Back Pain
Physiotherapy is often a recommended treatment for various types of back pain. It may help to strengthen key muscles and reduce pain.
Back pain physiotherapy includes exercises for back pain and the use of other therapies such as heat, ice or ultrasound to manage pain.
Physiotherapy exercises for back pain can include:
- Low-impact aerobic conditioning
- Strengthening exercises to build your back muscles and core muscles
- Walking, swimming or other gentle forms of exercise to improve or maintain your overall fitness.
Lower Back Pain
Your lower back does a fairly big job that includes supporting the weight of your upper body and spinal cord. The muscles in your lower back enable you to bend, twist and move your hips to walk while the nerves supply sensation and power the muscles in pelvis and legs.
It’s perhaps not surprising that the demands of daily life – including sitting all day at a desk – easily lead to lower back pain, which sometimes radiates down your legs. The most common cause of lower back pain is a strained muscle or ligament. Rest, over-the-counter painkillers and heat or ice packs can all help to treat this type of injury. Keep moving though – continuing some moderate activity helps reduce stiffness and discomfort.
Chronic (long-lasting) back pain can feel a lot more frustrating to deal with. It's often caused by a problem with a disc, the nerves or the joints. Causes of chronic lower back pain can include:
Lower back pain may be caused by disuse of the muscles or spasming caused by poor posture or nerve irritation. Sitting at a desk all day in an inadequate chair or sleeping on a poor quality mattress can cause or worsen back pain.
Physiotherapy exercises for lower back pain focus on stretching your back muscles and other muscles that support your back, such as your abs, hips and leg muscles. Developing greater core strength helps relieve strain on your back.
Your physiotherapist can give you a personalised stretching routine to follow that will help to relieve your back pain and address its cause.
Try these exercises for back pain in your lower back.
- Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest, holding them there with your hands. Take the stretch further by bringing your head forward, which helps to stretch your middle and lower back. You can also pull each leg into your chest.
- Lie on your back and pull your knees up then place one foot over the opposite thigh. Gently pull the lower leg toward your chest.
- Stretch your hips by kneeling on one knee, with the other foot forward (so that your thighs are at a right angle to each other). Put your hands on the forward thigh and gently lean forward to feel a stretch.
Sciatica is a type of nerve-related lower back pain caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs down the backs of your legs (that’s why you may feel pain in your hips, buttocks and legs).
Sciatica can also cause numbness, burning or tingling and even weakness. The pain tends to be one one side only and worsens when you sit down. While sciatica is usually not too serious, there are certain symptoms it's important to watch out for. Progressive weakness or incontinence should be addressed as soon as possible.
Sciatica can be caused by some of the conditions listed above, such as a lumbar herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. Other causes include pregnancy, muscle strain and even scar tissue.
If you’re dealing with sciatica then try the exercises for back pain listed above. You should also stretch your hamstrings since tightness there can put pressure on your lower back which may worsen your sciatica symptoms.
Stretch your hamstrings by sitting on the edge of a chair and putting one leg out in front of you with your heel on the floor and your toes pointing up. You can sit up straight or lean into the stretch by putting your hands on your hips or the opposite leg.
Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain isn't as common as lower back pain, but it can still affect a lot of people.
The upper back tends to be less vulnerable to injury, but it can still experience problems. Upper back pain can cause stiffness, discomfort or sometimes a sharp pain in one spot. It can also result in radiating pain down the arm, chest or even further down the body. Most upper back pain isn't related to a serious issue, but it can still feel sore and irritating.
Pain in the upper back is generally due to either muscular irritation or problems with joints in the thoracic spine (the section of your spine that is attached to your ribs). Some of the common causes of upper back pain include:
Improper lifting technique
Injury from sports, car accidents and other incidents
A doctor can get to the bottom of what's causing upper back pain, especially if it won't go away. Your doctor can look at your medical history and lifestyle, give you a physical examination, and conduct diagnostic tests, which might include X-rays or MRIs.
Upper back pain treatment includes rest and modifying activity levels, as well as using heat, ice and massage. Physiotherapy can be beneficial too, particularly for if you’ve been experiencing pain for a while.
The aim of physiotherapy for upper back pain is to improve flexibility, strength, stability, and range of motion. Back pain physiotherapy may also focus on helping you change your posture if that’s what’s causing your discomfort.
Your physiotherapist can create a personalised plan of exercises for back pain which may include:
- Isometric exercises where you push against resistance but without moving the muscle. These are often used to strengthen the muscles around the neck and upper back. Put the palm of your hand on your forehead and push while looking straight ahead. The resistance from your neck muscles should help to strengthen them. Try the same idea on the side of your head or push with your fingers on the back of your head.
- Thoracic extensions to stretch your back. Sit on the edge of a chair, and clasp your hands behind your head. Then gently arch backward to look at the ceiling, and repeat the exercise ten times.
- Aerobic exercise to strengthen back muscles and abdominal muscles. Walking, running or cycling can all be helpful if you want to prevent back pain.
It’s always wise to get a proper diagnosis first before launching into an exercise routine. A careful diagnosis helps identify the best back pain treatment for you.
Many people experience back pain after sustaining a sports injury to their lower or upper back or neck.
Playing sports helps to keep you healthy, but there’s always the risk of injury whether from trauma or repetitive strain. You might strain a muscle, damage a ligament, put stress on your joints, or fall or get knocked over. Back pain can come from individual pursuits like weightlifting, running, cycling and even golf. Contact sports might also lead to injury.
Sports injuries can be particularly disappointing because they can make it difficult for you to keep up your usual level of activity. You might be training for an event or may already be an elite athlete who plays at professional or semi-professional level.
When you injure yourself, physiotherapy can help you to heal and get back to the sport you love as soon as possible.
Back pain treatment after a sports injury may include:
- Resting – but don’t stop moving completely or you’ll stiffen up
- Gentle exercises such as walking or swimming or anything else that doesn’t increase your pain
- Gentle stretches such as those described above for upper or lower back pain.
Each sport uses your back in a particular way. A sports physiotherapist understands the particular way your chosen sport affects your back and can develop a tailored back pain treatment plan to strengthen your back and reduce the risk of further injury. Your sports physio can also monitor your progress and help you return to your sport at the right time.
Why Back Pain Physiotherapy Is Important
While you can find useful information about back pain online, seeing a physiotherapist about your pain is really the best thing to do.
Your back is a complex structure that you rely on for almost every movement. Back pain is also complicated, with many different causes that affect treatment choices. Sometimes the true cause of your back pain is not what you first thought.
Seeing a doctor or physiotherapist helps you find the right answers and sets a direction for your back pain treatment.
Working with a therapist ensures you get accurate advice that will help you to heal and avoid making things worse. You can try some physiotherapy treatments at home, but they could only get you so far. A physiotherapist can show you what will really work and help you to deal with your back pain in the short-term and long-term.
MAKE A CALL
Why Choose Sycamore Health?
Conveniently located in the heart of Caboolture: our clinic is just a stone's throw from Morayfield Shopping Centre and public transport, making us an easy stop.
Easy online bookings: we offer a straight-forward online booking system so that you can book your appointment in seconds, no matter the time of day.
Same-day appointments: we understand that sometimes you need to be seen by our team as soon as possible, so we keep a number of appointments each day for those who need help urgently.
Private treatment rooms: our treatment is provided one-on-one in private rooms to make sure you are comfortable.
A range of physiotherapy services: we offer a range of physiotherapy services, including hands-on treatment, custom home exercise programs, gym-based rehabilitation and tailored advice.
Qualified, highly-trained physiotherapists: our team of physiotherapists are all highly-skilled and fully qualified.
Customised therapies: we know that your situation is unique and will tailor your program and exercises to suit you.