Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain

At Forefront Physiotherapy Geelong we are alarmed that 80% of Australian adults will experience lower back pain at some stage in their lives. Having treated many clients with lower back pain, we understand how debilitating it can be and therefore are 100% committed to restoring your pain-free life.

Your back is a complex structure and is made up of many tissues including bones, connecting muscles, nerves and associated joints. Although it is designed to be strong and flexible; age, injury, work and lack of movement can result in postural issues or injury causing chronic pain.  

Common symptoms accompanying lower back pain include:

  • Dull to sharp pain
  • Constant aching
  • Sciatica - shooting pain down the legs
  • Stiffness and difficulty moving
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Tension

Common causes of low back pain include:

  • Repetitive movements
  • Heavy lifting
  • Lifting, bending and twisting incorrectly
  • Prolonged sitting or standing
  • Degenerative change ie Osteoarthritis, bulging discs
  • Workcover injuries (WorkSafe)
  • Motor vehicle accidents (TAC)
  • Pregnancy

At Forefront Physiotherapy Geelong, our expert sports physios perform detailed examinations to assist in determining the cause of lower back pain. We take a holistic approach to determine any contributing factors that may be causing your lower back pain. By identifying these factors we directly address the cause of your problem and are able to correct it accordingly. Clinical pilates can really help in the treatment for your back pain, especially if your back has been injured multiple times.

Here are 9 steps to help alleviate your lower back pain:

1. Apply cold packs after acute back injury

Applying cold packs can be an effective way to reduce and relieve lower back pain. Cold compresses are most beneficial when used directly after an injury or strain. The cold compress reduces inflammation and therefore assists in relieving pain.

Cold pack application should also be applied on a rotation of “20 minutes on, 20 minutes off”. Prolonged periods of icing can actually restrict blood flow to the injured area and slow the healing process. And lastly, always remember to wrap your cold packs in a towel and place directly over the affected site to prevent frostbite. 

2. Use heat packs

Application of heat packs can also reduce pain and general lower back aches by loosening tight muscles and releasing muscle tension. Heat packs should be applied directly to the affected area to promote pain relief, but remember to monitor the temperature and duration of heat application to avoid burns. If you experience any throbbing or worsening of pain, swap out the heat pack for an ice pack instead. If your skin sensation is not normal then avoid heat and cold packs on the affected skin.

3. Keep moving

At Forefront Physiotherapy Geelong we understand that it can be challenging and painful to get up and moving, especially during exacerbations of lower back pain. However, research shows that taking a short walk, gentle movements and even hydrotherapy can assist in lowering the intensity and frequency of your lower back pain.

4. Stretch

Stretches and strengthening may help relieve your lower back pain. Our team at Forefront Physiotherapy Geelong can provide you with stretches and exercises to assist with your lower back pain management. Stretches should be completed under the direction of your physiotherapist and at a pace that is comfortable. Research shows that stretches should be held for at least 30 seconds to improve your flexibility and promote muscle relaxation. 

5. Apply a pain relief cream

Application of a pain relief creams may provide some relief from your lower back pain. Pain relief creams such as Voltaren can be easily found within local supermarkets and chemists. These creams contain non - steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID's) such as Diclofenac. This anti-inflammatory is permeable to your skin and works to relieve pain and swelling at the direct site of application.

6. Change your work environment

Sitting incorrectly at your desk or slouching in your work chair is a large perpetrator of lower back pain as it places additional strain on your muscles and joints. By ensuring your work computer screen is at eye level and your desk chair is at the correct height, you can take your first steps to prevent exacerbation of your lower back pain.

It may also be time to review your workplace manual handling policies! Reducing the amount you have to lift, pull or push as well as ensuring your adopting the correct manual handling techniques can prevent your initial occurrence or exacerbation of your back pain

7. Get some sleep

Getting enough sleep can assist in reducing lower back pain as it enables the body to heal. Conversely, studies show that not getting enough sleep directly increases your perception of pain. Hence, getting a good night’s sleep is paramount to your psychological tolerance of pain and overall perception of well being.

At Forefront Physiotherapy Geelong, our team of experts are able to provide you with tips and information on how to improve your night’s sleep so you are more prepared to take on the day.

8. Get some headspace and clear your thoughts

Did you know that stress can trigger muscle tension and spasms? Stress can therefore exacerbate your lower back pain. Forefront Physiotherapy Geelong are able to provide techniques designed to reduce stress and help you to clear your thoughts.

In the meantime, mindfulness and meditation are measures that can be completed in the comfort of your home. Combine these methods with focused deep breathing and reap the benefits of a calmer body and mind.

9. Book a physiotherapy appointment online

Book a physiotherapy appointment online at Forefront Physiotherapy Geelong to get an expert assessment and treatment for your lower back pain today. Ask your physiotherapist whether clinical pilates is the right path for you. We strive to ease your pain and increase your back’s function and mobility.