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Lower Back Pain

The lower back or "lumbar" spine is made up of the last five (5) vertebrae of the spine along with the soft tissues that connect and control these vertebrae.  In between each vertebrae sits the intervertebral disc which acts as a cushion and provides shock absorption. Whist exiting the spinal cord at each level of the lumbar vertebrae are the lumbar nerve roots that supply the lower limbs. 

What are the signs and symptoms of Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain is a term that is generally used to describe pain originating in the lumbar spine which may radiate pain to any region of the lumbar; lower abdominal; hip; groin or lower limb regions.  It may be range in intensity from mild to severe and can also cause symptoms such as pins and needles; tingling or numbness in any of these areas.

Common Causes of Lower Back Pain

  • ·         Structural injury or pathology (this only in 10% of cases).
  • ·         Lack of  muscle control/strength in certain postures and when performing everyday functional movements such as sitting, bending and lifting.
  • ·         Poor conditioning, strength and endurance of different muscle groups. For instance weak quadriceps reducing ones ability to squat correctly.
  • ·         Lifestyle factors such as lack of sleep, sedentary lifestyle and stress
  • ·         Psychological factors such as too much focus on pain, fear of movement, anxiety and low mood.
  • ·         Nervous system changes that result in lower pain thresholds
  • ·         Genetic factors – these are influenced by what we do in our lives.

  Role of Physiotherapist

A physiotherapist will use appropriate assessment skills to determine the factors contributing to your spinal pain. Rather than just treat your symptoms we work to understand the factors that underlie your pain disorder and develop a treatment and management plan taking these factors into consideration.