Low back pain is the most common disability in people younger than 45.
What is chronic low back pain?
Chronic low back pain is an extremely common condition where your back pain has lasted for over 3 months- this is said to be chronic. It may also be worsening. Chronic low back pain may also be a symptom of another condition such as stress.
What causes chronic low back pain?
There are several different causes of chronic low back pain including: injury, disease or stresses on bones, ligaments, muscles, joints, or nerves. The structure affected sends a signal through your nerves and spinal cord to the brain where the pain is registered and therefore felt.
Low back pain can be categorised as: mechanical, inflammatory, referred pain, metabolic or can be caused my mental conditions such as stress and depression.
Common conditions causing back pain include:
- Muscle strains
- Bulging discs
- Ligament sprains
- Bone injuries
The pain can be caused due to a trauma or can be an overuse injury.
What are the symptoms of chronic low back pain?
Your back pain may be constant or may come and go and you may experience flare ups.
Any painful sensation in the lower part of your back that has lasted for over 3 months is classed as chronic low back pain. The pain may also radiate down one leg or it may be localised to one area. You may also experience pins and needles, numbness, or weakness if the cause of the back pain is due to nerve root damage/irritation.
You should seek immediate medical attention if you have any of these symptoms:
- High temperature
- Numbness or weakness in one or both legs
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Unexplained weight loss
- Constant pain
How is chronic low back pain diagnosed?
It can be very difficult to diagnose exactly what is causing your back pain, particularly with chronic low back pain. Research suggests there are also several links with stress and depression being associated with low back pain.
Your physiotherapist can carry out a full subjective and objective assessment to determine what structures may be causing your back pain and therefore what the best treatment method may be.
What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for chronic low back pain?
Based on what is causing your low back pain and what your symptoms are there are several treatment options available. After assessment your physiotherapist will create a tailor made treatment plan based around your goals and lifestyle.
Treatment can include:
- Stretching exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Ice/heat therapy
- Core stability exercises
- Joint mobilisation
- Advice regarding anti-inflammatories
- Coping strategies
- Advice and education about your condition
- Postural advice/adaptations
Benefit of physiotherapy for chronic low back pain?
There are several benefits of physiotherapy for chronic low back pain in order to manage symptoms and prevent re-injuring yourself.
Treatment assists with:
- Reduced pain
- Improved strength
- Increased flexibility
- Improved posture
- Prevention of back pain re-occurring
- Management of flare ups