Low Back Pain | Physiotherapy East Fremantle and Subiaco
Back pain affects 85% of the population at some point throughout their lives. It is the most common disability experienced by those under the age of 45, and the most expensive health care problem for those aged between 20 and 50 years. The collective estimated annual cost of low back pain is over 1 billion dollars in Australia.
Risk Factors for Low Back Pain
There are a number of factors associated with increased risk of low back pain including:
- Age: Risk of back pain increases up until the age of 50. Then the incidence of low back pain decreases in men but increases in women.
- Work: Incidence of low back pain is significantly higher in those whose work involves bending, twisting, lifting and heavy labor. There is also higher incidence of back pain in those who are exposed to vibration in their day to day lives.
- Static Postures: Jobs that involve constant standing or sitting are associated with increased risk of back pain. For this reason, the use of sitting and standing desks are becoming more and more prevalent.
- Psychological Factors: Stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions are highly linked with the development of lower back pain.
Causes of Low Back Pain
The cause of low back pain is split into two distinct categories. Specific causes of back pain are those where an exact diagnosis can be made. This constitutes approximately 10% of back pain diagnoses and includes:
- Fractures of the lumbar spine related to direct trauma
- Nerve root compression
- Spondylolysthesis or stress fractures of the pars interarticularis
- Spinal canal stenosis
- Hip labral tears can also manifest themselves as low back pain
However 90% of low back pain diagnoses fall into the category of ‘somatic low back pain’. This refers to pain produced by structures such as the:
- Intervertebral disc: e.g. disc herniations or ‘slipped discs’
- Facet joints or apophyseal joints
We have created the following guide for diagnosing your own lower back pain. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the causes of lower back pain.
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Your physiotherapist will take a detailed subjective examination, which, when combined with a thorough assessment can allow an accurate diagnosis to be made for your low back pain.
In the case of nerve root compression, or sciatica symptoms this will include a full neurological examination which tests your muscle strength and reflexes.
Management of Low Back Pain
Physiotherapists can utilise a number of techniques in the management of low back pain. This includes:
- Massage and trigger point release
- Joint mobilisation and manipulation where appropriate
- Dry Needling
- Advice and prescription of a home exercise program
In addition, your physiotherapist can identify the potential causes of your low back pain and prescribe and supervise an individualised rehabilitation program to ensure that your pain does not reoccur. This is especially important for those who have experienced multiple episodes of low back pain in a short time frame.