How Physio Can Help Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain Feature Image – Blog 4 (1)

Have you ever wondered how Physiotherapy can help overcome Low Back Pain?

Let’s take a moment to look at this and ask a few questions.

  • Do you know what Physiotherapy is?
  • Is Physiotherapy just massage and theraband exercises
  • Can Physiotherapy can help your lower back pain?

Physiotherapy has evolved over the last number of years, as has our understanding of the human body. Some physiotherapists have embraced the new research, and some have remained in the past. That is not to say the old way doesn’t resolve low back pain. I feel it’s just not as efficient as the new way.

Let’s look at what Physiotherapy does for lower back pain:

  • Valuable time with your therapist.
  • Seek answers to your questions.
  • Receive reassurance.
  • You learn why you are in pain.
  • Your body recovers and gets stronger.
  • Less pain.

Was this what you were expecting OR were you expecting something like this?

  • You get some gentle exercises.
  • You get a sheet with exercises on it.
  • You get rushed out the door.

The public perception of modern physiotherapy is entirely different from what people expect.

As a therapist, we want to see you get better and back to things you love doing.

How do physiotherapists make our pain go away?

“Firstly we sit down and have “The Chats”. We set the groundwork, and we listen to your story. Understand where your body has been. Now when I say “where it has been” I am referring you the abuse you have given over the last number of years.”

We look at current pain, old injuries, most significant injuries. Current stress sleep diet and lifestyle factors and establish if they are contributing/preventing progress in your rehab.

Then we move onto a movement and stability screening. This is where the NERD in the physios start to come out.

How can you move, squat, lunge, walk, run, jump, bend forward, sit down. We are not just looking at you and going hmm… ahhh, ah yes. We’re looking to see what strategies you are using to move.

Regarding lower back pain and bending forward, we see if you engage the ground with your feet as you return from touching the floor. This will tell us if you are overusing your back muscles and not using your lower limbs to come back up.

Some people might use all the muscles in their back to bend forward and stand back up. Some people might use all their lower legs. While the movement is the same, the strategy in which each person completes that action is unique.

Then we might look at your breathing pattern to see if any clues to your pain are in that system.

But why breathing pattern. Think of it this way, imagine trying to write an essay, whilst squeezing your pen as hard as possible. The writing will not be elegant. Now imagine trying to move and bend forward, holding your breathing. It is the same thing. People with low back pain tend to brace and have their breath a lot to “stabilise” their core. But this only leads to more compensation down the line.

Next we look, at your strength and endurance. Can we maintain stability in certain positions? Can we learn, reach and twist? It’s like a game of statues you played as a kid. Can you move, stop in a position and hold it? No? Well, there is another issue.

We’re hosting a Webinar all about low back pain on the 29th of April at 7pm.

We encourage you to join us if you would like begin the journey of becoming pain free.

But where is my massage?

Ok, if you want a nice fluffy massage, you can go to a spa to get one. Sorry!!! We are physios, not massage therapists.

A massage is a tool we use to desensitise the nervous system (Calm It Down). When we are in pain, our tolerance to pain reduces. Everything hurts because our Nervous system is in protection mode, telling us something is wrong. So we can use massage and Deep tissue release to help reduce muscle tone and reprogram your body to stop compensating.

Once we’ve done all that, then comes the tricky part. We have to give you your homework.

Yes, sorry, coming to physio for 40 mins will not fix six months of pain in one session, so you have to do some work yourself to get yourself back on track.

We need to stress your system with exercises, just enough so that your body learns it is safe to move but not too much, or it will revert into its old compensation patterns, and all our work will have been undone.

This is where the art of being a physio comes into play. We have access to many tools to help us get you back on track. Some people respond better to specific devices like massage or isometric exercises. Some people don’t. Exercises and knowledge help guide our clinical reasoning to develop a bespoke program for you, your goals, and your body’s needs.

The fundamental goal of physiotherapy is to get you back doing the things you love. When you are injured, that’s just not possible, you’re sore you don’t know when you will be able to walk again. You are full of doubt and questions, and let’s face it, it’s just shit.

Physiotherapy solves those questions and the problem you have (being in pain and not doing the activity).

How we solve those problems differs from physio to physio. Finding the proper physio for your needs will come down to how well you communicate with them. Communication is key to any successful relationship. That’s what it is. It’s a relationship where the therapist works with you to get you back on your feet. While it is a service, our skills have far out-passed it just being a service. It’s a journey of exploration, of education. A journey into a world they exist in every day. Yet you rarely stop to get to know your body, get it to know its story.

Come tell us your body’s story!

Kula Health