Almost everyone will experience back pain at some point in their life. In most cases, back pain doesn’t occur due to disease but due to a poor lifestyle that slowly starts impacting the health of your spine.
Thankfully, physiotherapy can help relieve a lot of this pain with various techniques and approaches. Here we’ll take a look at what those approaches are while also looking at the causes of back pain and how you can prevent it. Let’s get started.
Causes of Back Pain
The human back is a complicated part of our body that consists of muscles, tendons, disks, and bones. The spine consists of 24 bones, also known as vertebrae. The spine holds and protects the spinal cord, which is a nerve network that transmits messages and movements throughout our entire body.
In most cases, a person suffers from back pain when the muscles around the spine are under stress or strain. The back pain mostly occurs in the lower neck area and lumbar spine (lower back). This part bears more pressure and weight than the upper and middle back.
There can be many reasons for a backache, some of which are listed below.
- Strained muscles around the spine
- Injuries or fractures
- Spasms or strain due to workout
- Poor posture, like a hunched back, and forward neck
- Sleeping on a mattress that does keep your back straight
- Other structural problems like ruptured disks, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, etc., can also be the cause of backaches
Symptoms of Back Pain
Back Pain is one of the common problems which everyone has experienced at some point in their lives. The causes of back pain can be different; some are due to poor lifestyle habits, whereas others can be due to injury or accident. Even if the causes are different, the symptoms of back pain are mostly similar.
Some common symptoms of back pain are listed below:
- Having persistent stiffness and pain in the spine
- Sharp burning pain in the neck or lower back after lifting a heavy object
- Pain in the middle or lower back after sitting or standing for long periods
- Lower back pain radiating all the way down to the hips and back of the thigh
- Backache while sitting straight
Seek medical attention for back pain when:
- The pain spreads from the lower back to the thighs
- You feel numbness and tingling in your arms, legs, and groin area
- You have a fever or bowel incontinence accompanied by backache
How Physiotherapy Treats Back Pain
The best way to prevent back pain from becoming a lifelong issue is to get physiotherapy at the right time. Consult a physiotherapist when you experience back pain from being in a certain position or having persistent back pain.
Once your physiotherapist examines your condition and the severity of back pain, they will prepare a customized treatment plan for you. Doing the therapy and exercises as suggested by the medical professional will not only relieve pain but also ensure that the backache doesn’t return.
Manual Therapy Techniques
Manual physical therapy is done by using hands instead of a tool. Soft tissue mobilization is a kind of manual therapy in which the practitioner puts pressure on the muscle tissue surrounding the spine to relieve pain and rigidness.
The goal of manual therapy is to relax the tensed muscles, which allows the blood to flow into the affected area. The pain starts to reduce when the blood circulation increases in the muscles around your spine. Soft tissue mobilization helps to restore the normal functioning of your back.
Another kind of manual therapy is a manipulation technique in which a physiotherapist uses movements with changing speeds, fast and slow. Gentle to forceful pressure to release joint tension and increase mobility.
Exercises to Reduce Backache
A physiotherapist will recommend exercises to strengthen the back and gain balance. The exercises are focused on stretching the tight muscles and strengthening the muscles that are too weak. These exercises will be first taught to you by the expert.
Once you learn these exercises, you can practice them at your home as per your physiotherapist’s recommendation. Some of the exercises which help in reducing pain are bridges, planks, and cobra stretch, although these are only a small example of the many exercises available.
Intramuscular Stimulation, or IMS
Also known as dry needling treatment, it is the treatment used by physiotherapists as well as chiropractors to reduce musculoskeletal pain. This treatment should be done by professionals who have certification in IMS or dry needling. Although it is referred to as ‘dry needling, there is no injection involved in it.
The physiotherapist uses acupuncture needles and places them on the triggered points of the back muscles. When a needle touches a muscle knot, the muscles start to relax, and the pain reduces in the affected part.
How to Prevent Back Pain?
In the long run, back pain can be traumatizing for your body. It affects your daily activities and mobility, which is not only physically difficult but mentally too.
It is better to start taking measures to prevent back pain from occurring again in the future. As they rightly say, prevention is better than cure.
Below are some of the listed preventive measures to avoid back pain:
- Stay active and keep your body moving regularly to avoid tight and rigid muscles in your back
- Maintain a good posture. If your work involves sitting for long hours, then have an ergonomic workspace, as it allows you to maintain a straight back.
- Maintain a healthy weight as per your age. An overweight person is more at risk of having backache than a person with a healthy weight.
There are many ways that physiotherapy can help with back pain. There are a multitude of approaches that a physio can take. They’ll decide on the best course of action once they’ve completed an initial assessment and come up with a customized plan.