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Lower Back & Pelvic Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints facing Australians today. It can have an impact on all aspects of our lives including our work and social activities. Over 85% of people will experience back pain at least once in their lives, but with good management 90% of people will make a full recovery within a couple of months. While in most cases back pain is little more than an inconvenience it is important to have your back pain properly assessed by a physiotherapist to ensure you make the fastest recovery possible.

Why did I get lower back pain…?

Lower back pain affects men and women equally, and is generally most common in people aged between 20 – 50 years, although it can affect anyone at any age. While it is impossible give an exact individual cause of lower back pain, the most common reasons people will experience lower back pain is generally due to either too much or too little physical activity.
Some of the factors that can affect your lower back are:

  • Poor posture (Sitting, working and sleeping)

  • Too little or too much flexibility (hypo – or hyper – flexibility)

  • Poor core muscle control and core stability

  • Myofascial tightness (muscles and connective tissue)

  • Degenerative change to the spine (eg: Arthritis, osteoporosis, degernative discs)

  • Direct trauma to the lower back

  • Lifestyle factors such as: obesity, stress, low physical activity, weight gain due to pregnancy or incorrect posture/technique during physical activity

How do I prevent lower back pain…?

For most people lower back pain is related to lifestyle factors such as muscular strength and posture. Some of the top tips for preventing lower back pain are:

  • Posture: Maintain good posture in all your daily activities, so remember not to slouch or stand too stiffly throughout the day. A physiotherapist will be able to help assess your posture.

  • Physical activity: It is important to stay physical active, today we are working longer hours and having to spend longer sitting in front of computer screens. As such it is important to try and maintain a moderate level of physical activity (when not at your desk), not only for your back, but also for your general health and wellbeing.

  • Core Strength: Over the last few years the term core strength has gained a reputation as crucial component of back health. When we talk about core strength, we are talking about using the muscles that surround and support your spine to help provide stability. At Ironside Sports and Physiotherapy clinic our qualified Physiotherapists and Pilates instructors will be able to assist you in improving your core strength.

  • Relax: It sounds simple, but stress can have a direct impact on your health and this is no exception in the case of lower back pain. Reducing your stress levels is a great way to try and help reduce your back pain.

  • Work: Look at how your office is set up and what tasks you have to perfrom across the day. Periods of prolonged sitting or standing as well as a lot of heavy lifting and manual labour have a significant impact on your back. It is important to consider what tasks you perform at work and if there is a better, more ergonomical way to perfrom them.

Pelvic Pain and dysfunction

There is an old saying that states the virtues of building your house on stone and not sand, this is true when it comes to the human body. The back and pelvis are related in form and function, and if one is dyfunctional it will have a direct effect on the other. You need your pelvis to provide a good base of support for your spine to work from. There are a lot of pathologies that result from pelvic dysfunction, most of which are a simple fix under physiotherapy treatment.

​The most common complaints around the pelvis are:

  • SIJ pain: SIJ stands for sacro-illiac joint, this is the point where your spine joins your pelvis, and it the point where a lot of load is transferred. Dysfunction often results when there is a disruption in the correlated left and right sides of the SIJ. Pain in the SIJ is very common during and post pregnancy as well as in jobs that require a high level of manual labour.

  • Pubic symphesis Pain: The pubic symphesis is the point of the front of your body where the two halves of your pelvis join. It is similar to the SIJ and the pathologies tend to relate a lot to a dynsfunction in pelvic movement or stresses placed upon this joint during pregnancy. Pain fom the pubic symphesis will usually be felt as painin and around the groin. In some sports where a large range of movement is required of the legs (such as dance, martial arts and racquet sports) the pubic sympheis can be stretched and this can sometimes result is a slight dislocation of the joint, althoughthis is an uncommon injury. A physiotherapist will be able to help deal with all aspects of pubic symphesis dysfunction.

How will physiotherapy help my back….?

A physiotherapist is highly skilled in identifying the cause and aggravating factors to your pain and will be able to help control your bain and rehabilitae your back. In an consult with a physiotherapist there are a number of treatment options that will be considered and utilised:

  • Initial assessment of your back and what may of caused your back pain. This will include looking at your range of movement, your muscular strength as well as the tightness in your muscles and other tissues.

  • Manual therapy of your back may include massage, tissue releasing, working on stiff joints as well as many other specalised techniques that are related to your specific issue.

  • The therapist may also utilise dry needling, a pain free technique where very fine needles are inserted ito specific points along the muscle to help induce relaxation of the muscle. If you ever have any concerns about this technique your therapist would be more than happy to discuss them with you.

  • The therapist may suggest that you complete a home exercise program to help strength the muscles that support your spine and a stretching program to help release tight muscles that may be contributing to your pain.

  • It is common for a physiotherapist to use electrophysical agents to help reduce your pain: this could include the use of ultrasound and electrical stimulation to reduce pain and the use of a hot pack or ice pack to help reduce the pain and swelling.

When you come to see your physiotherapist please wear clothes that the therapist will be able to work around and you will be able to exercise in (if required). If you have had any x-rays or other rediological images taken please also bring these along so your therapist can use all the available information.

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