Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain

What you may not know about Lower Back Pain


Lower back pain is the most common cause of occupational disability in industrial society costing Australian’s an estimated 9.17 billion dollars per annum. Whilst episodes of significant lower back pain often commence around 35 years of age, we see patients of all ages in clinical practice. ​

Peoples’ movement patterns play a primary role in making lower back pain such a prevalent issue. Effective treatment must target the underlying cause of back pain to help prevent future recurrence.​

Is passive therapy the answer?

Passive treatment techniques alone such as manual therapy, soft tissue massage, dry needling or the use of complex machinery may help to provide symptomatic relief. However these passive therapies do not address the underlying cause of lower back pain or lifestyle factors that may be perpetuating the condition.

Patients who experience ongoing back pain despite seeing health professionals often have not received appropriate education to change lifestyle factors perpetuating their condition.

What are the factors that commonly perpetuate Lower Back Pain? 

The following factors frequently perpetuate lower back pain:

  • Poor posture
  • Excessive sitting
  • Frequency of forward bending in our lifestyle
  • Continued participation in activities that overload the spine
  • Inadequate recovery periods from training or activity
  • Poor core stability​
  • Inadequate lower back strength , flexibility or control
  • Sedentary or unhealthy lifestyle
  • Inadequate fitness
  • Being overweight
  • Adopting unhelpful attitudes such as:
    • The ‘see if it gets better by itself’ approach leading to delays in receiving appropriate treatment
    • ‘No pain, no gain attitude’ causing ongoing injury aggravation
    • Resignation that ‘It’s just the way it is’ or ‘I’m too old’ leading patients to miss out on appropriate evidence based treatment
  • Stress, anxiety, depression, negative beliefs, fear avoidance.

What can I do to address my condition?

The single most important thing you can do to address your lower back pain is to have it assessed – ideally by a qualified and experienced Physiotherapist with post graduate training in the McKenzie ‘Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy’ Approach.

Your physiotherapist can help to identify and rectify any factors in your lifestyle that might be perpetuating your condition and provide appropriate evidence based treatment to optimize your outcome.

Treatment may comprise:

  • education
  • activity modification advice
  • soft tissue massage
  • manual therapy (e.g. mobilization / manipulation)
  • dry needling
  • traction
  • lower back taping
  • the use of a back brace
  • the use of a lumbar rollfor sitting
  • electrotherapy (e.g. TENS, ultrasound)
  • exercises to improve strength, flexibility, core stability and fitness
  • hydrotherapy
  • clinical Pilates
  • postural correction (see posture)
  • ergonomic advice (see ergonomic desk setup)
  • biomechanical correction
  • a functional restoration program
  • a gradual return to activity program

Is my back pain likely to recur?

The recurrence rate of lower back pain is very high. In fact, there is an approximate 90% chance of lower back pain recurrence if patients do not change their movement patterns appropriately.

It is therefore vital that the underlying cause of the condition is addressed to ensure an optimal long term outcome.

Where can I find a McKenzie trained Physiotherapist?

At Mornington Medical Group. All physiotherapy bookings and enquiries can be made at reception on 5975 2633.

Useful Web Links: www.physioadvisor.com.au

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