Why do I have Back Pain?

Lower back pain has one of the highest incidences in the population that we treat. Unfortunately it is becoming increasingly prevalent and no age is safe from it. Lower back pain is hitting those as young as the early teens and is continuing up through the elderly. So what is causing this increase in prevalence???

Could it be our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, our life style choices (smoking, poor diet), exposure to environmental toxins, occupational or genetic. Well all of these contribute to lower back pain but the biggest issue is the management of pain.

Our friendly GPs advice has always been rest and medication – however this does not change the loading surrounding the lower back which is causing the pain in the first place. Surgeons will recommend surgery, which in a specific portion of the population is highly effective, however once again the loading around the lower back remains unchanged.

At Village Physio, we pride ourselves on optimising your movement and loading patterns thus decreasing influence on pain receptors in the lower back. We will educate you on self management of lower back pain and guide you through a return to activity process. We will assist in the management of both acute and chronic lower back pain.

Effective diagnosis is key in the management of lower back pain. If no specific diagnosis is provided effective management cannot commence. Just like when you take your car to the mechanic – if they say “the engine is a bit sluggish” this does not enable them to effectively fix your car. If we say “your back is a bit backy” – treatment will not be effective as we are not treating the true cause of your pain.

What structures can generate pain in the lower back??

Lower back pain causes

At Village Physio the most important question we will ask you is – WHERE IS YOUR PAIN LOCATED? Your answer to this question will give us an insight into what structures may be causing your pain. Below is an image we have created which will give us an insight into your pain generating structures.

What movement patterns cause your pain??

Not only does the location of your pain help us in deciding how to treat you, but also the movements that increase/decrease your pain. By piecing together your symptoms we are able to effectively give you a diagnosis. With a clear diagnosis we can get you on the pathway to recovery much quicker than just treating you like any other patient.

Lower back pain movement

How do we treat different types of back pain??

Disc Pathology

Treatment is based around where the disc is “bulging” from – anterior, posterior or lateral. If you have had an MRI this will be evident and can be beneficial in directing our treatment. Generally we are able to decipher the direction of your “bulge” based on our assessment. The aim of treatment is to normalise loading around the disc, thus allowing re-absorption. This is achieved through specific exercises, lengthening/unloading of overactive muscles and training in activation of your deep ‘core’ system. During your sessions we will aim to find the cause of your disc pathology and aim to correct this problem to decrease the chances of further disc loading.

Facet Joint Irritation

Facet joints are located to the side of your vertebrae and are the points at which movement occurs between the vertebrae. Facet joint irritation can occur due to repetitive postural loading (backward bending to painting ceiling), traumatic injury (hyperextension), or degeneration. Treatment involves decreasing any inflammation around the joint, joint mobilisations to relieve pressure and optimisation of muscle balance. Postural education and ‘core’ strengthening are paramount in the management of lower back pain.

Lower back pain

Global causes (Pelvis, Hips or Ligament)

During your initial assessment, a comprehensive assessment will be performed to find the cause of your lower back pain. Sometimes the cause of your lower back pain can actually be from the pelvic or hip region. If this is the case appropriate treatment to these areas will be performed to balance out the loading around the lower back.

Muscular Imbalances

With any cause of lower back pain, there is generally muscular imbalances associated. These will be addressed in treating the cause. Sometimes we will find that the cause of your back pain is due to “spasm” in a particular muscle. In this case we will focus our treatments on easing the spasm and then rectifying any further imbalances.

What to do next???

If this information has helped you in deciding if you need treatment, then why not book an appointment with one of our friendly practitioners.


By Madelayne Beevers