Canberra Physiotherapy clinic – TM Physio Canberra

Back pain

Back pain physiotherapy in Canberra

Back pain is a very common yet often debilitating condition that can affect people from all walks of life.

The spine is a complex structure that is designed to support and protect the spinal cord while at the same time allowing for movement. The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae, which are stacked on top of one another and are connected by joints, muscles, ligaments, nerves and intervertebral discs. We’ve helped thousands of patients with back pain, right here in Canberra.

Back pain causes

Because the spine is so complex, back pain can have a variety of causes – postural stress, muscle strains or weakness, ligamentous sprains, nerve entrapment/irritation, or disc injury and should be assessed properly so as to provide the safest and most effective treatment available.
A personalised physiotherapy program will aid recovery by helping to restore movement and function, and to correct any underlying soft tissue or postural issues that may have contributed to the problem.

Back pain is an extremely common condition with up to 80% of the population experiencing back pain at some time during the lives.

Although the underlying pathology of low back pain is usually not serious, with the vast majority of patients recovering within 6 weeks, it is a significant cause of pain in the community and can have a considerable impact on people’s day to day lives.

Most causes of back pain are the result of irritation or poor function of the bones, joints, ligaments or muscles in your back. Such irritation can be the result of vertebral dysfunction, a common condition that occurs when the spinal vertebrae compress or irritate the delicate nerve structures of your lower back.

Group fitness class with physio

Different types of back pain

There are several different types of back pain that affect different areas differently. As part of a thorough diagnostic, it is important to identify the underlying issue and where the pain originates. Here are some common types of back pain:

  • pelvic pain and pelvic dysfunction
  • lower back
  • back muscle pain
  • chronic back pain &
  • spine

Back pain assessment

Your physiotherapist will perform a detailed history, orthopaedic, neurological and spinal examination to determine the exact cause of your lower back pain.

Back pain treatment

Physiotherapy treatment of back pain focuses on restoring function to poorly moving spinal joints, as well as reducing muscle tension and increasing muscle strength. This results in improved movement, reduced pain and decreased nerve irritation.

Treatments are tailored to the individual case usually consisting of spinal and soft tissue mobilisation, core stabilization advice, strengthening exercises, stretching and heat/cold therapy. Please contact us to arrange your comprehensive lower back consultation to help identify the exact cause of your back pain and begin a course of corrective care today!

What exercises can help with back pain?

Here at TM Physio Canberra, we recommended the following techniques:

  • Joint mobilisation and manipulation
  • Soft tissue and muscle stretching
  • Stabilisation and strengthening exercises
  • Postural correction for back pain
  • Ergonomic and occupational advice (i.e. workstation set-up, lifting technique) Check out our article on computer, workstation and office sitting ergonomics.
As well as helping to aid recovery, physiotherapy focuses on rehabilitating the body to help prevent recurrences of the problem. Physical therapy will definitely help with rehabilitation of the back. However it is important to choose a physio with a specialty in using all facets of pain exercises, mobility, function, and quality of life.

What about lower back pain?

Experiencing pain in the lower back is familiar to most of us. You know that feeling when you lean over to clean your teeth. You may bend over to pick up a sock from the floor. There is a grab in your back. You groan. There is a sudden loss of confidence in movement. You are afraid to move.
This experience of low back pain is the most common presenting condition in the world. It is the condition which contributes to the highest number of requests for medical attention. The reason we experience pain is a complex question. The more our profession progresses our understanding of back pain, the more we realise that it is a multi factorial problem.
Let’s try to simplify a rather complex problem. Pain occurs when our brain and nervous system perceives there may be a threat or danger in the lower back. It does this by interpreting the inputs from the joints, muscles or discs in the back within the context of a person’s social or psychological environment. Our internal thought processes perceive danger and we feel pain as a response to this stimulus. Our home, work and social environment may be a driver of our symptoms as well.

At our Canberra physiotherapy clinic, we have identified the causes of lower back pain for thousands of patients. We can find the problem fairly quickly. Is it a stiff muscle, joint or irritated disc? Have you learned poor ways of moving and bending? Is it the way you feel about the pain and have you felt this pain before? Is it your negative feelings about your home, work or social environment which is contributing to your pain?

Lower back pain treatment

Your local physiotherapist is able to sort through these factors and help you to identify what may be contributing to your pain. Once you can identify the issues at hand you are on the way to management of pain and recovery of your condition.
Our traditional role of using soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, muscle stretches and a home exercise programme is used if indicated. We examine your movements and look at the way the joints move in your spine. We can often identify joints which are moving too much or not enough. Your physiotherapist would stretch the joints which are tight and teach you ways of using your muscles to stabilise joints which move too much.
We would look at the muscles around these joints. If they are stiff we mobilise and relax them. If they are weak we can teach you specific exercises to strengthen them. We teach you how to care for the disc and nerves of the spine with specific techniques and exercises which help to reduce their contribution to your pain.
Physiotherapy involves the teaching of specific muscle exercises, learning new movement patterns, improving confidence in movement, encouraging positive thought processes, identifying unhelpful characteristics in your daily life which may contribute to your condition.

At TM Physio, your physiotherapist is your movement and pain expert to help you deal with the very common ailment of lower back pain. We are also strong advocates of “Fix it before it’s broken”, in other words, prevention is better than cure.

Group fitness class with physio

Tips for looking after your back

  • Exercise regularly and try to maintain a healthy weight to decrease the load on your spine.
  • Try not to sit for long periods of time. Take short breaks regularly.
  • Be mindful of your posture, try not to slouch or slump.
  • Be careful when lifting. Keep your back straight, bend at the hips and knees and tighten your core prior to picking up an object.
  • Make sure you have a supportive bed.

We have more helpful hints and tips that can help with back pain. Our main philosophy is prevention is better than cure.