Lower Back Pain
Back pain is the largest single cause of sickness absence from work and, for many people, can be a chronic problem. At least half of people with back pain have recurring problems. In most cases, the pain is caused by minor damage to the ligaments and muscles in the back. This may occur from sitting or standing in the wrong position, straining the muscles when lifting or twisting, or from being overweight. Sometimes back pain is caused by a slipped disc or disease in the spine itself, such as arthritis.
Our physiotherapists are highly qualified and skilled at assessing patients with lower back pain and diagnosing the cause of the problem. A small number of patients will require referral for further investigation and the opinion of a consultant surgeon or rheumatologist, but the most appropriate treatment for the majority of patients is physiotherapy. Treatment will include a combination of passive therapy (heat & massage, mobilisation / manipulation, acupuncture, electrotherapy) to relieve pain and muscle spasm, exercise to improve the strength of the core muscles and make the joints flexible and postural / lifestyle advice to minimise the strain that is placed on the spine during work / leisure activities.
Sciatica is a painful and sometimes debilitating problem that affects lots of people. Symptoms range from just the odd twinge to pain so intense that to move is unbearable. Even getting off the sofa can be a major feat. Most people find out they have sciatica when they visit the doctor after the pain becomes intolerable. The sciatic nerve is actually a group of nerves that exit the spine together at the lower part of the back. These nerves are directed to various points in your legs. Sharp pain, aching and numbness are all symptoms of sciatica and can affect the patient in different ways.
Sciatica rarely requires surgery and can respond quite well to other forms of treatment. Rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medication and physiotherapy are often all that is required to make a full recovery. Re-injury rate is very high if you do not strengthen your core muscles to protect your spine. Our physiotherapists are very experienced in guiding patients through carefully designed core stability rehabilitation programmes. These exercises have been shown to greatly reduce the recurrence rate of sciatica and general lower back pain. These core stability exercises are based on the same principles as Pilates.
As well as expert advice on exercises to strengthen your lower back, you will receive hands-on treatment. This is likely to include a combination of manipulation, massage, acupuncture, stretching and electrotherapy.