Lower back pain is one of the most common pains experienced by adults. The lower back is a very complex structure that interconnects joints, bones, and nerves.
It is responsible for carrying most of the weight of our upper back while providing strength and flexibility to our body, so it’s no surprise that most people get back pain at some time or other.
When it comes to back pain, physiotherapy is one of the most effective ways to treat it. Here we’ll take a look at when physio is right for you, what techniques are used, and some stretches you can do at home. Let’s get started!
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When Do You Need Physiotherapy for Your Back Pain?
Lower back pain is one of the common issues for adults, but we often tend to ignore it. In most cases, it can heal on its own, but there are some signs that show getting professional help should be your next step.
Pain that lasts longer than a week – When pain lasts more than a week and does not improve with time, you know it is time to see a physiotherapist. Such pain often restricts mobility and impact other daily activities.
Lower back pain can be caused by injury, a sudden awkward body movement, and bad posture, among other reasons. There are people who accept back pain as a part of their life, however, this doesn’t need to be the case.
Numbness and tingling sensation – You must see a physiotherapist if you experience any tingling sensation away from the affected area. For example, you have lower back pain and feel a tingling sensation that goes down your legs.
These sensations often occur due to effects on the nervous system like a trapped or pinched nerve blocking signals. This could indicate a more serious issue that could become chronic if not treated right away.
Which Physiotherapy Is Best For Lower Back Pain?
Physiotherapy is one of the most effective treatment options for lower back pain. Depending on the severity and nature of the injury, it is important to evaluate which type of physiotherapy may work best.
Generally, physiotherapists recommend a combination of different approaches such as aerobic exercise, strength training and core stabilization exercises, as well as therapeutic massage techniques and manual therapy to help improve range of motion and reduce inflammation.
Other elements include guidance on posture correction and lifestyle advice which can be tailored to an individual’s needs in order to prevent recurrence of pain. Consultation with a professional physiotherapist or doctor may be necessary to determine which treatments are suitable for each individual.
Physiotherapy Techniques for Lower Back Pain
After a diagnosis of lower back pain, a physiotherapist will make an individualized treatment plan. Physiotherapy treatments are divided into three categories.
Reduce Pain – Reducing pain in the affected area by using pain relieving modalities such as electrotherapy, equipment, massages, and various other mobilization techniques.
Increase Flexibility – Increasing flexibility and strength of the lower back by performing stretches and lower back exercises.
Provide Support – Suggesting ergonomic care like the use of orthosis, braces, or taping techniques to avoid stress in the lower back region.
Exercises for Lower Back Pain
So we know how a physiotherapist can help, but what are some great stretches that can help with lower back pain? Let’s look at some examples.
Back Flexion Exercise
Also known as William’s Flexion Exercise, it helps to improve lumbar flexion and reduce lumbar back pain.
How to perform it?
Find a place where you can lie on your back comfortably. The place should be supportive enough to perform the exercise. It is not recommended to do this exercise on your bed, however, it can be done if you have no other option.
- Lie on your back
- Bend both of your knees and place your feet on the ground
- Now, slowly bring your knees towards your chest by wrapping your hands around your knees. If you have any issues with your knees, you can also place your hands around your thighs
- Once you have pulled your knees gently towards your chest, hold them on for 3 seconds
- Gently, bring your knees to the original position and place your feet flat on the ground
- Repeat this 10 times
Pay attention to your symptoms while performing this exercise. If your pain worsens while doing this exercise, you must stop and consult your physiotherapist.
Back Extension Exercises
Also referred to as McKenzie Exercises, they help in diagnosing and managing lumbar back pain. While doing this exercise, if the pain starts getting centralized (pain moving towards your spine from the affected area) it means that the exercise is beneficial for treating pain.
While doing these lower back exercises, try going for a simpler one first to give your body some time to get used to the movements.
Prone Lying Exercise
- Lie flat on your stomach comfortably
- Remain in this position for some time and try to prepare your body for the next exercise, prone up
- Once you are comfortable lying flat on your stomach, prop yourself up using your elbows
- Hold this position for a few seconds and take deep breaths
- Lie down on your stomach as you were used to
- Now, place your hands flat on the ground and fold your elbows underneath your shoulder
- Keep your body relaxed and gently raise your shoulder and upper back using the strength of your hands and hold this posture for a few seconds
- Monitor your symptoms and see if the symptoms are getting centralized, this is a positive indication that your therapy is useful for your back pain
- Lie on the side where you experience pain
- Keep your bottom leg straight and tuck the foot of the above leg behind your bottom knee
- Steadily reach your shoulder blade using your upper hand and rotate your top shoulder in a circular motion towards the floor
- Repeat this 10 times
It’s important to note that these are just a few examples of the exercises that may be beneficial. You should work with your physiotherapist to see which specific exercises would be best for you to try at home.
For those suffering with back pain, physiotherapy is often the best course of action. The right type of physiotherapy for you will be determined after an examination from your therapist. After that, you can move forward with a tailored treatment plan and work towards a pain-free future.