Back Physiotherapy: A Look at Short and Long-term Treatments
Tony Beecroft, September 2016
Back pain is common among adults however the pain can be alleviated with specialised back physiotherapy. Back pain may range from mild to severe and can be caused by a variety of things such as: sitting for long periods of time, carrying heavy luggage and nerve irritation.
Back physiotherapy treatments vary depending on the severity of the pain and on the patient's needs and preferences. Some patients may require short-term treatments which include staying active and having a healthy lifestyle while others may seek long-term treatment like undergoing intensive back physiotherapy.
Back Physiotherapy: Short-term Treatments for Back Pain
• Stretching. The most basic physiotherapy for back pain is stretching. Stretching helps maintain a normal range of motion and provide relief for the muscles. If you have been to a physiotherapist, it is essential to follow the advised stretching routine as this will help ease the pain in various parts of the body such as the legs, hips, abdominal muscles and back muscles. Stretching should be done gradually, without force, whilst jumping and bouncing should be avoided.
• Comfortable sleeping position. Does your sleeping position help you rest comfortably? A comfortable sleeping position can help minimise back pain. When sleeping on your back, place your knees on top of a set of pillows to maintain the normal curve of your lower back. When sleeping on your side, insert pillows between your legs and draw your legs up slightly towards your chest. Main message, is to do whatever is comfortable for you.
• Exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Ever have problems with poor posture, stress or being overweight? Stay active on a regular basis and this will help keep your back strong and healthy. Go for a walk, run, swim or do yoga. Choose an activity that you love and one that helps ease any pain.
• Hot and cold treatments. A warm bath or placing a hot pack on the affected area can help soothe the pain. Furthermore, an ice pack or a bag of frozen veggies could also be effective depending on your individual situation. Make sure you wrap any ice packs in a cloth before placing it on the affected area. Putting ice directly on your skin may cause a cold burn.
• Stay active. Bed rest was often suggested to help treat back pain. But now, people who keep an active lifestyle often recuperate more quickly. Staying active may seem a little difficult at first but try moving around as soon as you can and do your best to push further each day. Start by walking to the nearest corner store and back to your house or take the stairs instead of the elevator. You might feel a little uncomfortable at first but with a few simple steps, you'll notice the progress at the end of each week.
• Optimism is key. This might sound a bit difficult but optimism is essential and will help you recover. Being optimistic helps ease muscle tension which is caused by worrying. Relax and stay positive despite the pain and do your best to recover quickly.
Long-term Treatment for Back Pain
• Dynamic stabilisation exercises. This is performed through a variety of exercises and may include pilates equipment and exercise balls. Dynamic stabilization exercises beef up the secondary muscles of the spine and help support the spine through different ranges of motion.
• Exercise for the core. Core workouts help strengthen the abdominal muscles and low back muscles. There is no such one muscle that creates 'the core', so its important to retrain muscles through movement, not just being strong in a stationary position.
If you are experiencing long-term pain, and aren’t experiencing any signs of recovery, visit a physiotherapist near you. Your chosen therapist will help manage your condition, give sound advice and provide suitable back physiotherapy. They will monitor your progress and offer tips on how to improve your quality of life despite being in pain.
At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy, we help you achieve clear and positive improvements with specialised treatments. We have worked with clients of all ages and physical abilities, and have assisted them with therapy, exercises, relaxation, and pain education. We identify the root cause and treat all injuries, from back physiotherapy, to physiotherapy exercises for shoulder pain and so on. We have you covered from top to toe!