Whether back pain rules your life or you get an occasional twinge, this summary will help you understand how physiotherapy can help. Research shows that in most cases it is best to keep as normally active as possible.
Almost everyone experiences back pain at some point in their life. The pain may occur suddenly and be gone in a couple of days, or it maylast for weeks or even longer. Back pain usually gets better, but often recurs. The pain may be limited to the back itself, or it may spread to the groin, buttock, leg or foot on one or both sides. It may also cause pins and needles, numbness or burning sensations in one or both legs or feet.
Back pain can be the result of a range of conditions that affect muscles, tendons, ligaments, discs, nerves or other soft tissues or joints. Most back pain does not have one simple cause, but may be due to a range of factors, such as poor posture, repetitive activity and bad habits. Pain does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem.
Physiotherapists are highly skilled at supporting people with back pain. The physiotherapist may offer manual therapy and will explain how you can manage the pain, contribute to your own recovery and prevent the problem from recurring. Research clearly shows that physical activity and exercise help, and a physiotherapist can provide an exercise programme based on your health, ability and fitness levels.
The physiotherapist will assess how your back is working and affecting your life, and the level of fitness you need for your usual activities. They will ask lots of questions, watch your movements and examine your back. They will also explain how to manage the pain, contribute to your own recovery and prevent the problem recurring.
Your consultation is likely to include:
Contrary to popular belief, for most types of back pain rest does not help recovery.
Most cases will settle in a few days but if you have not returned to your normal activities seek help.
Note: These symptoms are very rare, but if you have severe pain that gets worse over several weeks, or if you are unwell with back pain or have had a recent serious fall or accident, go to the GP.
See the GP straight away if you have: