Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common conditions to affect people in the UK, causing the most time off work and money to the economy in lost earnings. Pain in the lower back can be the result of strain to any of the soft tissue, they include: discs, muscles, ligaments, joints and nerves. These structures can cause pain if prolonged strain is placed upon them, this can result from bad postures, sports injuries, poor lifting postures or from general leisure activities such as gardening.

Signs and symptoms

Morning stiffness is quite common after a back injury along the big muscles that run parallel to the spine. It is also common to feel an ache across the base of the back where most of the bending occurs. Some people can experience unpleasant muscle spasms which may require a visit to the GP for adequate pain relief. Depending upon the area of injury certain postures may be uncomfortable such as sitting, standing or lying down. In some cases the pain can spread from the back down into the buttock and down the back of the leg and into the foot. Numbness and pins and needles can also be present.

How physiotherapy can help

It is important that you see a specialist physiotherapist to assess the movements of your back to come up with a diagnosis. We use a combined treatment approach that helps educate the patient, promote movement in the back and strengthen the back and deep tummy muscles. Your therapist may use a range of different treatment approaches like massage, acupuncture and electrotherapy.

Helpful advice

One important thing to do with back injuries is to get the right balance between rest and recovery and movement. You should not stay in one posture for long periods of time, avoid prolonged sitting and go for regular short walks. When sleeping, try placing a pillow between your legs when on your side, and bend your hips and knees. Place a pillow under your knees if you lay on your back, this helps relieve pressure form the small of your back. Heat and ice can be equally soothing when the back is sore. As pain inhibits movement it is really important that you take some pain relief during the early stages of the injury. Paracetamol and ibuprofen can work well together, providing you don’t exceed the recommended dosage.