At some point throughout our life most of us will experience back pain, which can be as a result of poor posture, muscle imbalance, injury or simply degeneration from inactivity or as we age. Most people with back pain describe an ache across the low back which can radiate into the buttocks or legs. It often causes pain on bending forwards or backwards, and can lead to stiffness of movement. In some cases, you may experience pins and needles or numbness into the lower limbs.
An assessment of the back will include observing range of movement in the spine, testing muscles around the back and pelvis to check for weakness or tightness, and if appropriate, assessing the nerves of the lower limbs.
Common types of injuries
- Muscle Strain - A simple strain or pull on a muscle can cause a mild ache or pain in the affected area.
- Prolapsed or Herniated Disc - A portion of the intravertebral disc protrudes on adjacent nerve roots often causing pain and/or tingling or numbness into the leg.
- Spondylosis - Degenerative osteoarthritis (wear and tear) of the joints between the centre of the spinal vertebrae.
- Spondylolisthesis - A condition in which a bone (vertebra) in the lower part of the spine slips out of the proper position onto the bone below it.
- Stenosis - Common condition that occurs when the small spinal canal that contains the nerve roots and spinal cord becomes restricted.
- Sciatica - A condition where the sciatic nerve is impinged commonly due to a disc bulge or inflammation. Altered sensation for examples pins and needles and numbness can be felt into the buttock and lower legs.
- Facet Joint Problems - Pain originating from the facet joint which lies on either side of the vertebra. Stiffness or locking of these joints can cause significant pain in the back.
- Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction - The SI joints are a pair of inherently stable joints found in the pelvis which can be source of pain when dysfunction occurs.
- Coccydynia - Pain in the tailbone which can result after a fall or trauma.
- Electrotherapy to treat deep tissues, reduce muscle spasm and promote healing
- Soft tissue massage or trigger point release to relieve tension in the back muscles
- Joint mobilisations to improve range of movement and reduce stiffness
- Muscle stretching and strengthening
- Specialised Pilates exercise program to improve core strength, posture, muscle strength and reduce muscular tightness, to prevent further episodes of back pain