What is acute low back pain?
Acute low back pain describes pain in the lower back which has recently occurred (less than 12 weeks old).
What causes acute low back pain?
There are several different structures in your lower back including your spinal bones (vertebra), spinal discs which absorb any shock or stresses on the spine, muscles and ligaments. Any of these structures can be damaged and cause low back pain.
Muscle imbalances can lead to postural problems which can cause back pain and any trauma including a fall, lifting heavy objects or a car accident can also cause back pain.
Back injuries also occur when you do something you dont normally do or something strenuous for example playing a new sport or lifting a heavy object.
The pain may also occur due to a build-up of stress on the back that slowly becomes an injury.
What are the symptoms of acute low back pain?
The symptoms of acute low back pain include any painful sensation felt in the lower back region ranging from a dull ache to a sharp pain.
Your low back pain may be brought on by specific activities such as prolonged sitting/standing or may be constant.
If you have any of the following symptoms it is important to seek urgent medical care as these are signs of a more serious problem:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Leg weakness
- Weakness around your saddle area
- Bladder or bowel problems
How is acute low back pain diagnosed?
Your physiotherapist will carry out a full subjective and objective examination and perform a series of tests to distinguish what the cause of your back pain is. It is rare for back pain to indicate there is a serious problem however your physiotherapist can also carry out special tests to rule out any serious pathology.
What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for acute low back pain?
Following a complete assessment, your physiotherapist will create a treatment programme based on their findings and there are several different treatment options available to treat acute low back pain. Your physiotherapist will choose the most appropriate methods of treatment based on your symptoms and responses to treatment. Usually several treatment methods are combined.
Treatment can include:
- Joint mobilisation
- Heat/ice therapy
- Stretching exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Ergonomic advice
- Graded return to function/exercise programme
- Advice and education
- Advice regarding anti-inflammatories
Benefit of physiotherapy for acute lower back pain?
Physiotherapy has been shown to be an effective method of treating acute low back pain. The particular benefits you receive from physiotherapy will depend on your original symptoms and treatment goals.
Benefits of physiotherapy for acute low back pain include:
- Increased range of movement
- Decreased stiffness
- Decreased pain
- Improved posture
- Improved workstation ergonomics