Back pain is commonly caused by:
- Bending and/or twisting the back
- Heavy lifting
- Poor sitting posture
- A blow to the back, such as in a motor vehicle accident
- A sporting injury
When you visit your physiotherapist, your back will be examined to determine if it is a spinal/joint problem, a muscular/soft tissue problem, or a nerve problem.
Treatment usually include:
- Hands on treatment such as spinal manipulation and soft tissue massage as required
- Exercises to stretch and strengthen the back
- Pain relieving modalities
- Education on correct lifting techniques and seating design
- Posture correction exercises
8 out of 10 people in the Western world will suffer from back pain at least some of the time. The good news is that most of the time, the cause of the pain is not serious and the pain will often resolve with simple measures like Heat, Ice and painkillers.
However, 50% of these people will get their Back Pain Back!
Australian physiotherapists have had a world-leading role in the research that has helped us to understand why this happens. The stomach muscles play a pivotal role here.
We have 4 main stomach or Abdominal Muscles:
Rectus muscles – These contract when you bend forward and give the “six pack” look to the abdominal wall.
External Oblique muscles.
Internal Obliques muscles -Both of these are positioned at the sides of the trunk – and act to twist the trunk to the left or right.
Transversus Abdominus Muscle – This is the deepest layer of the abdominal muscles. It is responsible for Trunk Stability and this is crucial in preventing recurrance of Back pain.
Research has shown that the Transversus Abdominus Muscle switches on automatically just before we move our trunk, when we bend and when we lift. This muscle acts like a corset –it wraps itself securely around the trunk, keeping the vertebral column (which makes up our back) steady and prevents slipping or straining of the components of the back during the movement. Having a strong Transversus Abdominus Muscle means that you have good Core Stability.
After a bout of back pain, this automatic action of switching on the Transversus Abdominus Muscle can become less efficient. The Transversus Abdominus muscle switches on just after we move or else doesn’t switch on at all. Now, when we move our trunk, bend or lift, we have nothing holding our vertebral column steady.
This muscle is the key to preventing Back Pain from coming BACK.
So the solution to recurring backpain is to regain the Core Stability. Irrespective of the original cause for the pain – e.g. Disc problem, Sciatica, Osteoarthritis, Muscle or ligament strain – from heavy lifting, sport etc, -we need to retrain the Transversus Abdominus muscle to switch on strongly, at the correct time.
If you have had recurring back pain, you will benefit from seeing one of our physiotherapists. They will treat the cause of your pain and then - most importantly for preventing recurrences - assess your core stability. Your Physio will then teach you how to strengthen your Transversus Abdominus muscles.”
Sit-ups, Toe- touching exercises and double leg raises were exercises previously thought to strengthen the back. These actually place a great strain on the back and should be avoided by Back Pain sufferers. Once your physiotherapist has re-trained your Core Stabilising muscles doing their job correctly, you may be suitable to progress onto your own home programme of exercises, a pilates class or a gym-based programme.