Backpain affects about 80% of the population in Western countries and sadly the indications are that it is on the increase. If your back hurts, don’t ignore the pain and push on regardless. Taking painkillers will dull the “pain messages” and you may cause more damage without realising it. Research shows that bed rest only helps during the first 24 hours after injury. Early treatment and advice from a manual physiotherapist is the best way to quickly reduce your pain.
Anatomy of a Healty Back
The 24 bones of your spine (vertebrae) and the cushioning disks between them are arranged in three natural curves, the cervical, thoracic and lumber curves . These are supported by strong ligament and muscles. When these curves are in normal alignment, as shown here, your body is in a balanced position. This spreads your weight evenly down through the bones, discs and muscles, so you are less likely to have strain and injury.
Types of Back Problems
There are over 100 accepted causes of spinal pain, with wear and tear of the various structures, primarily the disc being the most common cause of pain. This is strongly contributed to by poor posture, heavy workloads and weak muscles. Examples of some common causes of back trouble are detailed below.
This is caused when there is a weakness or tear in the outer ring of the disc allowing the jelly-like centre to burst through. When this happens the contents of the disk will press on one of the nerves as it leaves the spinal canal causing pain to be felt elsewhere. For example, Sciatica is caused by a disc pressing on the sciatic nerve. The site, size and subsequent symptoms of the bulge can all vary dramatically.
The disc becomes thinner as we age allowing the bone to rub excessively. The smooth covering of the joint becomes roughened and worn with spurs of bone growing out from the side of the joint. This causes stiffness and may irritate the nerve causing further pain.
As the disc wears, it flattens allowing the vertebrae to slip back and forth. Poor muscle strength worsens the situation. This irritates the joints and nerves causing pain.
How can physiotherapy help?
There is no standard solution to back pain because the problem is as individual as you are. However manual physiotherapy is a proven method of successfully treating back pain. Your present pain levels will be reduced and we’ll show you how to prevent the problem returning. We have the training to correctly assess your problem and implement the safest most effective treatment from a wide range of proven therapies.
- Spinal manipulation and manual therapy
- Soft tissue techniques – massage, friction, triggerpoint therapy
- Posture correction
- Flexibility and strengthening exercises
- Laser, ultrasound, electrotherapy and heat treatment
- Biomechanical assessment and prescription of orthotics (customised insoles)
- Prescription and fitting of collars, pillows, spinal supports, lumbar rolls and corrective seating