Written by Min Tze Chew
Lower back pain is a common complaint that we treat every day in the clinic and unfortunately, almost everyone will experience lower back pain sometime during their lifetime. Back pain can range from a very minor irritating niggle that goes away after a few days, or can be extremely debilitating, having a significant effect on your quality of life and the activities you’re able to participate in.
In cases of acute back pain and spasm where it is difficult to comfortably move we recommend you see a physio as soon as possible. It is vital that we try to help relieve any spasms as fast as possible to restore normal movement and to reduce the loading pressure on the spinal structures such as the discs.
In less severe cases, when you are experiencing lower back pain that does not go away spontaneously within 2 to 3 days, or it is not the first time you’ve felt this pain, it is time to get professional medical advice. It is important to seek out a trained professional who is skilled enough to assess you clinically and rule out any serious medical issues and who is also capable of looking in detail at the way your back functions to truly identify the cause of the problem. Without taking the time, or having the skill to properly assess someone’s spine, any treatment is likely to have short-term effect only.
A full body assessment, looking beyond just the place where it hurts, is really important to establish what is causing the problem. Some of the problems that may need addressing could include your posture, tight muscles, muscles that are weak or not activating well, alignment problems and tension within the nervous system. Some of these possible issues mentioned really need a full body assessment to be identified.
The source of your lower back pain may be coming from a particular structure – like a disc – in the back but it is important to work out why that structure is painful, and what is causing it to break down or be overloaded. A very common driver of back pain comes from poor hip control or a preexisting hip issue, or from poor alignment in the torso. This puts excess load on certain areas of the lower back and gives rise to lower back pain. In these cases, looking at the back alone will not fix the problem, you need to identify the contributing factors.
With lower back pain that has been bothering you for some time, research has shown that there can be significant changes to the way your muscles activate which can prolong your pain. Often this means some muscles are overworking while others are barely contributing. This means that the way your body moves also changes and becomes non-optimal and can lead to further excessive loading on the structures in your back like the disc. In these cases, one of the most effective strategies to treat back pain is to retrain the way the muscle function and Pilates is an excellent way to learn how to move your body well and to improve your strength and flexibility specific to your issue.
Our clinic offers one to one private Pilates sessions, or small group classes of 4 to 5 students led by a Pilates trained Physiotherapist to ensure that you are getting the monitoring and guidance you need in class.
If you would like to find out more about how we can help you with your back pain, call us at (02) 9416 4410 or email us at [email protected]with your questions!
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