Referring to ‘any pain arising from the region of your lower back to the buttock folds’, Lower back pain (LBP) can be categorised into:
- Pain is due to the presence of structural injury.
- To supplement a comprehensive physical examination, an X-ray or MRI scan may be done to confirm if the following is present:
- Intervertebral disc injury with/without nerve root compression, also known as‘slipped disc’
- Spinal stenosis (Narrowing of the spinal canal)
- Spondylolysis (Bony defect), spondylolisthesis (displacement of a spinal segment) with instability
- Vertebral fracture
- Spondyloarthritis is a group of auto-immune arthritis that causes multiple sites of inflammation and commonly in the area of the lower back and buttocks.
- Diagnostic tests can be used to identify this condition. A late diagnosis can cause irreversible deformity in the spine.
- In rare cases, LBP can be a symptom of cancer in the spine. There are certain signs and symptoms unique in cancer that make it different from the rest of the LBP conditions. Your healthcare provider should be on the lookout for this to ensure that you get early medical attention if necessary.
- When the presence of structural injury or disease has been ruled out via a thorough clinical examination and diagnostic investigations, LBP can be categorised as ‘non-specific’ . This means that the pain is not caused by structural damage but less serious strain of your muscle, ligaments or intervertebral discs.
- Although less serious, these types of strain may still present with significant pain.
- Although LBP may develop from injuries due to heavy or repetitive lifting, accidents, jumping and landing from height or falling onto their backs or buttocks, it could also caused by something as simple as a sneeze for an elderly or someone at risk of osteoporosis.
- In most cases, LBP develop in people who have not hurt their backs, or had a previous back injury that have since healed.
- These risk factors may also lead to LBP developing:
- Poor sleep quality
- Deskbound work
- Physically inactive
- Chronic stress in life, work
- Fear of becoming active again
How can a Physiotherapist help?
- Physiotherapy is widely accepted as the safest first-line treatment for lower back issues. Treatment for LBP depends on the diagnosis, severity and the progression of the condition. Once our physiotherapist has completed a thorough examination, targeted treatment can begin.
- Treatment may comprise of:
- Electrical stimulation for pain relief
- Movement re-training
- Individualised exercise program
- Manual therapy to improve joint movements
- A discussion with our physiotherapist can help you work out a holistic plan to target the risk factors.
- If anti-inflammatory medication or diagnostic investigations are needed, we can refer you to a doctor or orthopaedic specialist.