Introduction to

Back & Spine

Back and spine pain is a very common complaint – an estimated 60-80%of people are affected at some point in their lifetime. Anyone can get back pain at any age, but it's most common in people between the ages of 35 and 55. It is one of the main reasons for sickness absence from work and probably the most common reason for someone attending our clinics.

What causes Back and Spine pain?

The back and spine is a complex area and pain can be caused by a number of different structures. There are a variety of possible reasons for a person to experience pain in this region. Pain can be caused by inflammation or structural changes in the vertebral joints caused by arthritis or spondylolithesis. It could also be from a muscle injury to the paraspinal muscles, or due to problems or irritations of the nerves that 'feed' off the spine ('sciatica'). These nerve irritations could include disc prolapses or be from a flare-up of degenerate disc disease. Pain eminatting from the back and spine also doesn't always have to be structural in nature - 'mechanical' back and spine pain caused by poor posture or muscle instability is often more common. The onset of the pain can be a good indicator of what structures might be at fault and a thorough assessment is usually required to examine the back and spine.

What can be done to help?

Medication can be a useful first step in helping to relieve pain in the back and spine area. This can be discussed with your GP or Pharmacist. Another early intervention which is often encouraged is Physiotherapy. A specialist assessment can give a good indication of what might help your back and spine pain. Often techniques used by Physiotherapists such as manual therapies and exercises can assist in the rehabilitation process. Sometimes further assessment is required in order to establish the exact cause of the problem. This can include scans (MRI, X-ray) or seeing a specialist spinal consultant.

What exercises can I try?

Due to the complexity of the back and spine, and the variety of possible problems, it is very difficult to prescribe exercises that will help recovery from a problem in this area. We recommend seeing one of our Physiotherapist's who will be able to show you the correct exercises for your individual needs. Often, a few simple exercises done correctly can go a long way to alleviate back and spine problems.

Common Back and Spine conditions that we treat:

  • Acute muscle spasms
  • Degenerate disc disease and other arthritic changes
  • Nerve root injury (disc prolapses)
  • Sacroiliac dysfunction

Our Physiotherapy team can assess for and treat all of the above, often without the need for surgical intervention.

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