Lower Back Pain
Injury to the lower back. Not only is it a pain in the back, but it’s also a pain in the butt!
In this article, we will provide a brief overview of lower back pain and a general overview that will serve as a good starting point for further discussions.
What is lower back pain?
Lower back pain, also known as ‘lumbar spine pain,’ is one of the most common injuries and issues we treat at MPR Health in Roseville. In fact, 70-90 percent of Australians will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives. This frequency brings with it complexity. Lower back pain is so common that there is almost too much information available on the subject, covering everything from core control to sciatica.
Low back pain can be extremely severe and debilitating, acute and traumatic, chronic and recurring, or even cause nerve pain down the legs.
Traumatic lower back pain
Gardening, cleaning, in the gym, and lower back injuries can occur in many day-to-day scenarios in our busy modern lives. The most common lower back injuries come from lifting and twisting. These movements can cause extra stress on the lower back and especially the lumbar discs leading to muscle spasming and disc bulging. But not all injuries in the lower back occur from lifting. Hyper-extension or rotation of the lower back can cause the facet joints in the lower back to sprain. These movements are common in tennis and golf and can also occur from a fall or slipping on a wet surface.
At MPR Health we know that injury is an unfortunate reality in life and we never want our patients to avoid activity for fear of injury. A traumatic injury can be severe and very painful, but given the right healing environment and adequate time, full healing should be possible. Our role as practitioners is to help you through your traumatic lower back injury and get you back to your life as safely and quickly as possible.
Degenerative lower back pain
At MPR Health, disc bulges and/or degeneration are the most common contributing factors to both acute and chronic lower back pain.
Degeneration in the lower back can affect the joints, ligaments, muscles and discs and often will affect all of these structures to degrees. Degenerative tissue can have different characteristics to healthy tissue which can lead the area to tightness in the morning or after sitting for extended periods of time, recurrent general soreness and achiness in the lower back and can even be more prone to injury due to a change in tissue quality.
The goals for treatment and management are different with degenerative lower back pain when compared to traumatic onset lower back pain as unfortunately full tissue healing is not an expected outcome. Due to the long term changes in the tissues of the lower back, the goals of treatment and management focus on returning function to the area, increasing movement in the joints of the lower back and strengthening the lower back. These goals can often get patients to a completely pain free point and more importantly able to maintain the health of their lower back with minimal intervention and treatment.
At MPR Health we strongly believe in empowering our patients with clear communication and education on their health and injuries. This is incredibly important with lower back pain so that patients are able to take control back of their pain and put a stop to their pain affecting their lives.
We can’t discuss lower back pain without talking about disc bulges
The lumbar spine has 5 discs that exist between all of the vertebrae and help with movement, shock and load absorption, and the adaptability of our lower backs.
Healthy discs are incredible structures that enable our bodies to do incredible things with minimal strain. Unfortunately, injury, age, and our modern world can often lead our lumbar discs to be degenerative and susceptible to injury. These injuries can be very severe and can even impact the spinal cord or nerves going down your legs causing ‘sciatica’.
When the disc bulge impacts your nerves the brain will likely spasm the muscles of your lower back to limit the amount of movement in your lower back to avoid any further injury. This protective mechanism is important to understand in treatment as often the muscle spasming can be one of the most painful parts of a disc injury, but treatment focused on the muscle spasming and tightness can often end up causing more problems by decreasing the guarding stability of the area.
At MPR Health, to combat this we will often use lumbar support braces to help increase the stability to the lower back for a short time whilst the disc is in the first few weeks of healing. We believe it is often best to work with the body, instead of fighting against it. If the brain wants the lower back to feel more stable and supported, we’ll listen.
Sciatica and lower back pain
Sciatica is the condition everyone thinks they have, but, in reality, it is very rare. About 1% of lower back pain presentations are true ‘sciatica.’ Sciatica is inflammation of the sciatic nerve running down the back of the leg to the foot. Sciatica is often characterised by a sharp shooting pain that runs down the leg to the foot and is very painful.
Often sciatica is misdiagnosed or confused with lumbar nerve radiculopathy from compression on the nerves in the lower back. This compression can cause similar symptoms but is more likely to present as a deep severe ache in the buttock region and back of the thigh.
Both are harsh and severe conditions that need to be treated with care, accurate planning, and communication. If you think that you may have either of these issues, discussing your specific presentation with one of our practitioners is best.
Lower back pain can be extremely debilitating, and adults with back problems are over 250% more likely to report high-stress levels worsened by their pain experience. If you have been experiencing chronic back pain or even nerve back like radiculopathy or sciatica, talk to one of our practitioners at MPR Health today to get started on your journey to a better back.
“At MPR Health, disc bulges and/or degeneration are the most common contributing factor to both acute and chronic lower back pain.”
– Kristopher Sanford M.Ost. Co-owner of MPR Health.
Osteopathy North Shore Sydney
We're ready when you are
MPR Health proudly offers a wide range of Osteopathy services & treatments covering back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, hip pain, headaches, upper back pain, sports injuries, work-related injuries and ergonomic assessment.
Suite 5/132 Pacific Hwy,
Roseville NSW 2069.