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Low Back Pain...What Should You Know About It

How common is low back pain?


You're not alone! It's in fact one of the most common pain conditions


LOW BACK PAIN (LBP) is a common condition that almost everybody experiences at some point in their lifetime. It is extremely common amongst office workers, due to the nature of the job requiring prolonged periods of static seating. Lower back pain is also very common in athletes, the ageing population, and labuorers (tradesmen). LBP is one of the biggest contributors to disability in the world. It can be extremely unpleasant and leave you feeling severely impaired.




I work in an office, what causes my low back pain?


Low Back Pain is described as having a multifactorial origin, with contribution from both physical and psychosocial factors (eg. sleep, job satisfaction, education). Sitting for over half the workday in addition to awkward postures or forward leaning has been shown to contribute heavily to LBP in the office worker. Another common contributing factor to LBP in an office setting is workstation ergonomics. Poor setup of the workstation can lead to poor sustained body positioning, leading to LBP. Most commonly experienced symptoms by office workers can be stiffness and mobility issues caused by lack of frequent movement and weakness of the muscles of the lower back. The back tends to maintain a singular position for sustained periods of time in the average office worker and as a result, pain can be experienced.



Are you at risk?


When assessing low back pain, physios will screen for any ‘’red flags’’ that might need further medical investigation. Some red flags that we can identify include bowel and bladder issues, fractures, bilateral sensory and weakness at multiple spinal levels, and sock and glove paraesthesia (numbness, pins and needles in hands or feet), to name a few. After you are cleared of any potential red flag conditions, you can be categorised as appropriate for physiotherapy. LBP is a very treatable condition and with the help of a physiotherapist, most clients can be pain-free and resume activities that they love.




Knowing the early signs


Back pain has a wide variety of causes. It can come on gradually or happen from a particular instant. Generally the pain can be isolated to the lower portion of the back, but can refer into other areas (ie. the glutes, thighs, or beyond the knee in some cases). Pain can vary from sharp stabbing pains, to a dull ache. Regardless of the pain quality, it is important to try and settle down the pain in the early stages and settle the areas. This will then allow for progressive reloading and movement pattern optimization.



Best treatments for your low back pain


When treating LBP, the physiotherapists have a large toolkit of treatments to help you get back to your very best. We like to utilise the best current evidence based treatments to help solve your back pain issues. Education is one of the most powerful tools that can be utilised to help empower someone with back pain. By giving you a better understanding of your LBP, this enables you to gain positive control over your pain. LBP is more than just muscular and joint issues, so through education we empower you to regain that control.




Soft tissue release of contributing structures, joint mobilisations are techniques to get your spine moving more optimally and help relieve your pain. Dry needling/acupuncture can be used to help relieve muscle over activity and promote blood flow with the aim to bring helpful nutrients to specific targeted areas.



Most importantly and most supported by science, exercises will be implemented to help strengthen, improve control, and promote helpful movement patterns. A combination of these treatments, which should be tailor-made for you, can be used to help get your back moving better and feeling better.



Settle the pain, optimise the local movement, load the spine in functional tasks



MOVE BETTER. FEEL BETTER. LOOK BETTER.





Reference:

Janwantanakul et al. (2011) Development of a risk score for low back pain in office workers--a cross-sectional study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord.

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