Low Back Pain

Low back pain is the most common orthopedic issue, with 80% of people reporting an episode of low back pain in their lifetime.  While painful and unpleasant, most low back pain is not serious and resolves with conservative management.  Across the board, clinical practice guidelines recommend avoiding early medical imaging, as it is unnecessary in 99% of cases and can negatively impact treatment outcomes.

With acute low back pain, you will recall a specific trauma, like a slip on the ice or trying to lift a heavy object. 

With chronic low back pain, you may not recall a specific event that started the pain, as it is usually due to a combination of inefficient posture and movement mechanics, as well as weakness and/or tightness in certain muscle groups.

Inefficient mechanics with sport specific or lifestyle movements. 

– Hip and core weakness. 

– Hip and upper back stiffness. 

– Inefficient posture.  

– Pain in the back. 

– Difficulty bending or lifting. 

– Difficulty with daily activities, like dressing, working, etc. 

– May also have symptoms radiating into the buttock or leg.

At Home Diagnostic Tests

Self-palpation. 

 

At Home Care

– Avoid irritating activities. 

– Comfort care: NSAIDs, heat, ice. 

– Open book. 

– Bed rest is counteractive!

When to Seek Help

Most acute low back pain will resolve on its own with at-home treatment, but early physical therapy has been proven to reduce recovery time, as well as the likelihood of further medical intervention, like imaging, pain medication, injections, or surgery.  If you experience loss of bowel or bladder control, symptoms radiating into both legs, numbness on your inner thighs or genital region, or loss of lower body muscle control, report to the emergency department immediately.

 

Inspired Athletx Treatment

Through a thorough clinical examination, your physical therapist will determine the source of your pain, as well as factors that predisposed you to low back pain.  Low back pain is likely to reoccur if you do not address the predisposing factors, so treatment beyond the spinal area is key.  Manual therapy will address the spasm in your low back, and will also address contributing muscle and joint stiffness, including (but not limited to) your hip flexors, thoracic spine, lats, glutes, and diaphragm.  Once mobility has returned, you will learn how to find and maintain appropriate lumbar spine and pelvic posture, beginning at rest and working into sport specific movements.  Core and hip strengthening will allow you to maintain this new posture and move efficiently through sport and life.