Did you know that chronic lower back pain is a common cause of discomfort for people of all ages? But relief is possible through an intelligent physiotherapy routine that selectively builds muscle groups and relieves tension and strain on the spinal column. Regardless of how long you’ve suffered from lower back pain, there are a few things about this problem that you should know.
Because of the lower back’s central role in movement and support, it’s frequently at risk for injury. For example, common mistakes such as incorrect exercise form, heavy lifting, improper posture, and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to chronic lower back pain. When problems do begin, it is typically because of pain and stiffness within the muscles. Lower back pain can also be the result of a spinal injury or pinched nerves around the spinal column. Serious injury to the spinal column may require surgery and specialized physiotherapy, but if caught early, it can often be treated with simple lifestyle changes and mild physical exercises.
Why Your Back is Vulnerable
The back is made up of many muscles and tendons. These muscles must not be too tight (hypertonicity) or too loose (hypotonicity), or else they will not work as well. Unfortunately, we often become aware of a problem with our back in the form of pain, as other muscles or muscle groups compensate for the diminished productivity of the affected muscles. In addition to pain, you may also begin to notice changes in posture.
But the big problem is that the extra pain may lead to reduced activity level. When pain causes someone to become sedentary, it only makes the problem worse. The muscles will continue to become too tight or too loose in what we call a snowball effect. In many people, this will continue for months or years, before a patient finally seeks out help with either surgery or physiotherapy.
In the most severe cases, some of the muscles have wasted away to a point where they are weak or are so tight that they seem to be constantly flexed. One muscle in this state can even disrupt the harmony of the entire muscle groups of the back. When this occurs, other muscle groups will then be forced to compensate, most likely by going into a permanent state dysfunction.
Treating Lower Back Pain
Luckily, the workings of the lower back are no mystery to the trained physiotherapist. As opposed to a masseuse at a spa, a licensed physiotherapist considers everything about how the back works. Specific lower back functions such as gait, mobility of specific regions, extension limits, ease of simple working tasks, neurological function, and overall stability are the foundation of a comprehensive assessment.
This focused attention is vital for long term pain management and determining what is actually causing the lower back pain. For example, just because the pain can be felt in one part of the back, it doesn’t mean that is where the pain is originating from. Many factors can inter-play to cause discomfort, and a big part of a licensed physiotherapist’s training is learning how to identify the root causes of the problem. They work to ensure that you’re not just treating symptoms, but also addressing the real issues.
Once the cause of the problem is determined, the physiotherapist will guide the patient through stretches and exercises that will restore proper function and build strength. They may also use methods such as massage and acupuncture to stimulate or relax problem areas. Sometimes, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are included in the treatment routine, so that the therapeutic exercises are easier to perform. With this treatment plan, normal function begins to return to the dysfunctional muscle groups. Chronic back suffers will begin to regain movement while reducing pain.
When treatment has been completed, the physiotherapist will have retrained unused or weak muscles, reduced tension in over tight muscles, improved mobility to rigid tissues and joints, restored proper posture, and increased endurance. For people suffering from chronic back pain, relief is easily attainable at the hands of an experienced physiotherapy professional. With their help, a clear plan can be mapped out for your specific condition, allowing you to take steps toward long term pain management.