Physio Blog 2 : We’ve got your back!
Are you struggling with back pain?
Do you wake up in the morning with stiffness in your lower back? Do you get low back pain when you sit for extended periods, carry the shopping, bend over, walk up stairs, cough or sneeze, lift heavy objects, get in and out of the car? What about occasional referred pain, numbness or tingling into your buttocks or leg?
Is your explanation “wear and tear”, or “I’m just getting old”?
This doesn’t have to be your answer and you don’t necessarily have to live with this discomfort!
You may have some lumbar disc irritation or inflammation which is aggravated by flexing your lower spine (e.g. bending or slouched position). This condition may come on gradually or suddenly and can be caused by multiple factors.
What can you do to alleviate back pain?
– For starters, avoid anything that aggravates it! Before you have seen your physiotherapist, reduce your pain by sitting on higher chairs and for shorter periods, get someone to help you with lifting, avoid activities that involve lots of bending (gardening) and bend at your knees, not your back!
– Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen may be recommended by your GP or pharmacist – make sure to consult them before taking the medication. NSAIDs can help reduce the inflammation and therefore the pain, especially in the first 48-72 hours of injury.
– Ice/heat. Apply ice wrapped in a plastic bag or wet towel to the area for 20 minutes every 1-2 hours in the first 48-72 hours. If this is relieving continue to ice, otherwise swap to heat from 72 hours onwards.
– Use it or lose it. Not moving for a day or two will most likely worsen your symptoms. Pain-free gentle exercise is the key. Great options are easy walking and swimming.
– Physiotherapy. Your physiotherapist will thoroughly assess you to determine the main cause of your pain and a specific management plan to get you back on track. They may use a range of modalities including; joint mobilizations, soft tissue massage, contract-relax techniques, dry needling, electrotherapy, taping, traction, education and advice and most importantly, a specific home exercise program tailored to you.
– Pilates. Pilates is an amazing long term management tool for many injuries but especially for “discy” low back pain. Once your acute symptoms have settled down, Pilates will allow you to strengthen your deep core muscles which are the stabilisers for your spine. This will assist in your current recovery and also help prevent future relapses!
If you’re worried about a back ‘niggle’ or injury, or want to ‘bullet proof’ your back (prevention is the best medicine!) book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists on 9532 8001 or book online at 557.com.au. We can set you up with an individualised treatment plan to get you back to your best!