Lower back pain is extremely common. There are many causes of lower back pain which include muscle strains, joint related problems and disc problems.
One of the most common causes is ‘degeneration’, or wearing out of the intervertebral discs. Repeated overuse, during bending, lifting and sporting activities can lead to degeneration of the outer layer of the disc. If this degeneration is sufficient enough, the disc can ‘prolapse’ outwards. Occasionally, a single specific incident such as bending over can cause pain and put pressure on nerves and other structures resulting in significant pain down your leg.
What are the symptoms of disc related lower back pain?
Often when a disc prolapse occurs it ‘impinges’ on a nerve root, causing pain down the legs. Coughing and sneezing increases the pressure within the disc and makes the pain worse. Frequently changing position relieves the pain, but it can be made worse by sustained flexed postures such as sitting, driving and standing. The nerve root that is impinged produces pain most commonly in the sciatic nerve distribution. This produces pain in the buttock, the hamstrings, the back of the knee and the calf, heel and even down towards the toes.
How can physiotherapy help?
People should understand that most episodes of back pain resolve, usually within a few weeks. Finding the cause of back pain is key to proper treatment. At Dynamic Physio we will be able to correctly diagnose the problem and advise you on the correct management. The use of joint mobilisation with the rehabilitation exercises are the key to improving low back pain. Further stretching and strengthening exercises will help prevent the problem from occurring in the future as well as key postural advice and use of a lumbar roll may also assist you.