Commonly Used Terminology
Bulging Discs (herniated disc / slipped disc) - A common spinal injury referring to damage to the discs that lie in between each vertebral bone. These discs act as shock absorbers for our spine while also allowing movement of the spine with regards to bending, extending and twisting. As we get older, these discs get weak and often lose their intact nature resulting in bulging which reduces vertical disc height and may impinge on nerve roots causing sciatica.
Sciatica - Refers to any pain in the buttock or leg originating from the nerve roots in the lower back. Pressure on the nerves as they exit the spinal cord through holes (foramen) in the vertebral bones may cause severe pain often describe as shooting pain, burning pain, tingling or pins and needles. There may also be associated numbness or weakness in the leg. Common causes of sciatica are joint inflammation, locked facet joints, arthritis or bulging discs.
Degeneration - A terminology used to describe gradual wear and tear to the discs, joints and bones of the spine generally in older people. There are three grades of classication ranging from mild > moderate > severe.
Lower Back Pain Treatment
Most lower back injuries can be successfully treated by physiotherapy treatment. The key is for an accurate assessment and early treatment by a trained practitioner who will advise you on how to avoid worsening the problem and how to maximise healing potential.
Here at Infinite Health, our highly trained physiotheraists will assist you through the healing process, on to resuming pain-free activities, return to day to day normal activities and most of all reduce the risk of recurrence in the future.
Every lower back treatment plan is different and specific to each individual but should have the following aims and checkpoints.
Phase 1 - Back pain relief, healing and protection. Hands on treatment and advice.
Phase 2 - Restoring normal ranges of motion and strength. Involves basic exercises.
Phase 3 - Restoring full function and resuming normal activities. Further strengthening exercises.
Phase 4 - Preventing a recurrence. Developing a specific concise home exercise program.
Lower Back Pain
The causes of lower back pain are numerous but roughly fall into either sudden (traumatic) or sustained overstress injuries. These can be further categorised into acute, chronic or acute on chronic.
A traumatic injury occurs during a particular movement or incident which suddenly overloads the structures in the back beyond their capability i.e. heavy lifting, twisting - golf, or motor vehicle accidents.
Sustained overstress injuries are more common to the majority of the population and is usually a result of positional stress i.e sitting, sleeping, repetitive lifting or sport.
With these injuries, the structures of the back suffer from accumulated microtrauma over an extended period of time with 'the final straw' eventually causing symptoms of pain.