Physio Fit Adelaide proudly offers quality care to the local Modbury, Findon, Flinders Park, Seaton, West Lakes, Beverley, Hope Valley & Para Vista residents.
This is something that annoys many in the allied health field – why do we treat a back so differently to many other joints?
You might be wondering what I mean by this…
I mean that when people come in with say, knee pain, we aim to reduce the pain, increase the movement and then gradually load the joint back up to better than pre-injury levels, or as I like to tell my patients – we calm stuff down and then build it back up.
Why don’t we treat low backs this way?
The back seems to be a problem area for many therapists across all disciplines. I’ll admit that it can seem to be a complicated joint when you look at every single little thing that could go wrong. It can be overwhelming! Your back moves in many different ways and is incredibly strong, whilst incredibly mobile! Just think of the incredible feats of strength you see people doing WITHOUT injuring their backs!
I think that this may be the reason that it typically isn’t treated effectively and if you’re reading this then I can almost guarantee that you have, or have had, frustrating back pain. So if you’d humour me for a few minutes, let me offer a solution to your pain… there is HOPE for you yet!
Your low back is built to move!
It kills me when I hear people say, “Ohh I just can’t do that anymore, my low back can never get better – my Physio told me to change my lifestyle to avoid certain activities.” This is a nonsense and lazy approach to treating low backs!
The truth is your back CAN and SHOULD be able to go through the full range of movement and, by avoiding movements, you will develop more stiffness, pain and decrease movement further. Avoid all movements that hurt suddenly doesn’t seem like such great advice anymore does it?
What about my scans?
Throw them in the bin….Seriously! Have a look at this fascinating graph below from Adam Meakins (The Sports Physio). What this shows is that degeneration and pain are not interrelated!
Forget muscle pain or nerve pain or joint pain, it’s all pain and it all needs to be dealt with accordingly. We have so much amazing research now, which I won’t bore you with, that gives us the tools to help you decrease and be in control of your pain. Your perceptions about your pain will be far more important than ANY structural damage!
In fact, think of degeneration as you think of wrinkles and grey hairs – annoying, maybe; but painful? No!
So let’s put the scan away and focus on what really works to FIX YOUR LOW BACK… Manual therapy, movement and strengthening!
So what does help my low back?
Manual Therapy – This is such an effective tool to reduce pain initially and to get you feeling like you can move again, BUT…it shouldn’t last forever and if it does, I hate to say it but that therapist is taking you for a ride!
Mobility – It’s so ESSENTIAL that we get your back moving, and moving well, through all planes of movement as soon as possible so prevent further issues that you may face in the future from not using it! Have you ever had your arm or leg in a cast? How incredibly hard was it to bend your elbow/knee when you got it off? It was so STIFF and PAINFUL right? It’s the same with your back, if you guard the movements, everything else around it will tighten up and then normal back movements will BECOME PAINFUL!
Strength – I say it over and over, but that’s because no proper back treatment can be complete without a strengthening program. In order to FIX YOUR BACK PAIN and prevent future issue, we need to work together to strengthen the muscles that support your back. When your back muscles are weak, they get tired easily and that makes them spasm and, what happens when muscles are overworked and spasm? You got it! They become painful! And contribute to YOUR BACK PAIN!
What to expect at Physio Fit Adelaide
Initial assessment with a physiotherapist includes thorough discussion of the nature of your pain (where, type of symptoms, duration and intensity of symptoms) as well as a bit about you! We can’t help you get better if we don’t know what it is you want to get back to! So we will also discuss your work, physical activity and other life demands to determine what management you need to get back to those things stronger and more robust than before!
We will then conduct a thorough physical assessment. This will involve both hands on assessment from the therapist but also practical assessment. This will include things related to your specific history, for example: bending, twisting, lifting, squatting and definitely that exercise in the gym or work that gives you your pain.
We will also make sure we keep track of how things are changing and add or subtract things from your program when necessary to make sure you’re always getting the best care possible! We’ll provide you with a management plan to help you understand your condition and your path forward to become pain free!
Don’t delay your recovery – Take action today!
The occasional niggle or tightness may be nothing to worry about, but failing to pay attention to sharp or lingering pain may end up causing you a lot of problems in the future. If your low back pain is stopping you from doing what you normally love to do, then it is time to get it looked at by one of our experienced physiotherapists. In general, low back pain that is affecting your day to day life is a sign that something needs to be looked at.
Often we just assume things will get better by themselves or with enough rest, but this is rarely the case, so take action and get back to doing what you love as soon as possible!