Back pain is extremely common and patients are often referred to see a physiotherapist for advice and exercises aimed at preventing recurrence.
I use a specific exercise programme for patients with Back Pain devised with Mr Tony Reece who is a spinal specialist based at Rosshall and Nuffield Hospitals, Glasgow. This programme is evidence based and patients are encouraged to take responsibility for their own care.
Serious back injuries like fracture or dislocations are uncommon but can be devastating. These need to be recognised immediately and treated appropriately.
Also back pain which does not respond to physiotherapy treatment within an expected time frame would require further evaluation. A good example of this is low back pain in adolescent and young adult sportsmen/women who should have a spondylolytic defect excluded.
Radiculopathy - often referred to as sciatica. This refers to a set of conditions that causes one or more of the nerves leaving the spine to stop working properly,often causing pain (radicular pain), weakness, numbness or difficulty controlling specific muscles. In a radiculopathy, the problem occurs at or near the root of the nerve as it leaves the spine where it may become inflamed or compressed by excessive pressure from the nearby structures including discs, bones and muscles. The pain can be referred into different areas of the leg and foot which the nerve powers/innervates.
Fortunately most back pain known as "non-specific mechanical low back pain" is caused by poor posture, stiffness or altered movement patterns which can lead to muscle imbalance and soft tissue injuries.
Physiotherapists have the knowledge and expertise to assist with pain relief, improve mobility and retrain movement patterns in order to enable recovery. The evidence shows that posture improvement and exercise including core exs are the key components in effectively helping patients to manage their back pain and minimize the likelihood of recurrences in the long term.