Sedentary lifestyles and long hours at desk jobs mean that lower back pain is more common than ever. Of course, there are many other causes, but thankfully treatment options are available. However, is physiotherapy one of them?
Here we’ll take a closer look at how physiotherapy can improve your back pain and help to restore your mobility. By the end, you’ll have all the info you need about treatment options for back pain. So read on to find out more!
Can Physiotherapy Help Lower Back Pain?
Yes, physiotherapy is a great option when you are suffering from lower back pain. It is either used as a standalone treatment or in combination with other treatments, such as medications, massage, and ultrasound therapy, among others.
Physiotherapy helps lower back pain and help to loosen the muscle’s stiffness, reduces inflammation, and gives the muscles better mobilisation. There are many different types of physiotherapy, and you’ll get an assessment to see which approach is best for you.
In general, physiotherapy can be broken down into two approaches:
Active – This includes gentle stretches, exercise, and movement for at least 15 to 20 minutes. This helps in the stabilisation of the lumbar region and increases the flexibility of the muscles. This approach is what most people associate with physiotherapy.
Passive – This includes options other than exercises, such as heat treatment, ice packs, and ultrasound treatments. This type of physiotherapy is used when active physiotherapy is too painful or impractical.
Your physiotherapist will work with you to determine which course of action is best for your symptoms. Then, they’ll devise a customised plan to return you to full mobility. For those with back pain, physiotherapy is often exactly what you need.
What Is Lower Back Pain?
Medically speaking, lower back pain is the painful sensation in the lumbar region of the body, which is below your ribs. This pain can either be a short-term issue, or it may become a more chronic, long-term condition.
The pain level and intensity of the lower back can change from person to person. The pain often doesn’t allow you to work long hours while standing, making it difficult to bend easily, and you can lose flexibility in the lower back muscles.
Causes and Symptoms of Lower Back Pain
There can be many reasons you may be suffering from lower back pain. It could occur due to an injury to the spine, sprain in the muscles, or tendons of the lower back. In some cases, spinal stenosis, arthritis of the spine, spine cancers, and slip of the vertebrae can also be the cause of the pain, but these are rarer issues.
Lower back pain could also be due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Obesity can cause strain in your lower back, leading to injury. Due to the various potential issues, it’s always a good idea to talk to a doctor if your pain lasts longer than two weeks.
In regard to symptoms, these can be quite varied. For example, you may have a stabbing ache, difficulty bending or standing for long hours, stiffness, or muscle spasms. Physiotherapy can help to reduce and sometimes eliminate these symptoms.
If not resolved, lower back pain can result in other issues. For example, if it affects your walking style, it can lead to knee issues because of the pressure created. Therefore, it’s always important to get back issues looked at as soon as possible.
Can Physiotherapy Cure Lower Back Pain?
Physiotherapy can be helpful in curing lower back pain. In many cases, very acute lower back pain tends to resolve on its own in a few days. However, if the pain has been persistent for over two weeks, it’s best to see a medical professional.
Many people can think you should choose between a doctor or a physiotherapist, but you can see both at the same time. A doctor can see if there are any serious underlying conditions, while a physio gets to work straight away to help ease your symptoms.
Whether or not physiotherapy will cure you can depend on the type of pain or condition you have. For example, physiotherapy can help to cure the likes of tendonitis as this is a condition that goes away over time.
Other conditions, such as stenosis, are degenerative. That means they’ll get worse over time and can’t be cured. While that’s true, physiotherapy can aid in reducing pain and restoring mobility to improve the quality of life.
How To Know If Lower Back Pain Is Progressing
Over time, the pain might get worse. If the pain doesn’t go away within two weeks or so, you need to get yourself checked out with a doctor. They will often then refer you for an orthopaedic assessment. From there, the next steps will be discussed, depending on your condition.
You should stay in pain, regardless of where the pain is in your body. However, there are a few major signs to look out for, which means you need to get seen as soon as possible. These include rapid weight gain/loss, numbness in your limbs or extremities, and bladder problems.
Back pain can severely affect your quality of life, leading to mental anguish and not just physical pain. If you’ve been placed on an NHS waiting list for physiotherapy but can’t stand to wait, then remember there are plenty of private clinics available.
There is no doubt that physiotherapy help lower back pain in almost every situation. The only exceptions usually are either that the injury is very new and needs some healing time, or if there is a serious issue that needs to be addressed by other medical approaches, such as surgery.
The best thing you can do with persistent pain is to see a doctor while booking a physiotherapy session. This will allow you to get instant pain relief while also knowing that you’ll get checked out for more serious lower back issues.