Low Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common and often disabling condition which affects up to 80% of the adult population. The challenge for medical practitioners in treating low back pain patients is considering the biopsychosocial nature of the condition. 

The latest research into this area has significantly improved our understanding of assessing, diagnosing and treating your low back pain. 
 

Video by Professor Mike Evans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOjTegn9RuY
 

The Facts:

Just like other areas of the body the lumbar spine can suffer minor muscle and ligament sprains and strains (this is what happens when people say “I put my back out”). These injuries account for 90-95% of all acute low back pain episodes and usually heal within 2-4 weeks.

Episodes of acute low back pain that last longer than the normal healing time (2-4 weeks) can be attributed to other factors:

  • Psychosocial factors – pain beliefs, fear of movement, anxiety, depression, work satisfaction, stress, family and social support networks etc.

  • Movement impairment factors – postures and positions subconsciously adopted in an attempt to alleviate the pain, but can actually contribute to the pain.

Approximately 95-98% of lower back pain cannot be attributed to findings on a scan!

  • Only 2-5% of lower back pain sufferers can attribute their pain to positive radiological findings (MRI’S, CT scans and X-Rays).

  • There is a very poor correlation between pain and imaging findings.

  • Disc degeneration, disc bulges and tears are common in pain-free (asymptomatic) populations.

Pain does NOT equal damage!

  • The lumbar spine is a very strong structure; it is difficult to cause significant damage to the spine.

  • The complex interaction of neural pathways makes the spine a very sensitive structure so that even a minor strain can cause significant pain

We Incorporate the Latest Evidence-based Treatments
Low Back Pain Treatment - OccFit

There is strong evidence to support:

  • Joint manipulations, soft-tissue treatments and active exercises and movements in the early acute phase in the first 1-4 weeks of low back pain. 

  • Multimodal, cognitive functional therapy, restoration/encouragement of normal movement patterns for both acute and chronic low back pain

  • Active recovery (no bed rest) –  “Motion is lotion!”

Surgery

  • Should be a last resort

  • Indicated for patients with evidence of severe nerve root compromise (constant pain, numbness, pins and needles and weakness in one or both legs) and those with significant degeneration, fractures or tumours

For more on low back pain, or if you are suffering from low back pain