Back Pain

What Causes Back Pain

Low back pain is a very common complaint and can significantly limit sleep quality, work function, and normal daily activities.  Low back pain can be complex; pain may be limited only to the low back or may radiate down the legs as well.  Common causes of low back pain include muscle spasm, herniated disc, lumbar spinal stenosis, and arthritic changes.  Sciatica is a common complaint that often accompanies low back pain.  Fracture in the low back may happen after trauma, such as a fall, or because of osteoporosis.  Physical therapy is usually the first choice for non-surgical treatment of low back pain.

Possible Symptoms of Low Back Pain

  • Pain within the low back, pelvis, hip, and/or leg
  • Stiffness along the spine and/or hips
  • Weakness within the trunk or leg muscles
  • Numbness within the legs (note: numbness in the private region should be assessed by a physician ASAP)
  • Difficulty maintaining certain positions, such as bending forward/backwards or while walking

Common Treatments of Back Pain

  • Dry needling
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Ergonomics assessment/education
  • Heat/Cold
  • Lumbar traction
  • McKenzie Method
  • Soft tissue mobilization/joint mobilization
  • Therapeutic exercise

Treatment of low back pain will depend on the specific factors that contribute to the pain and disability. Manual treatments, such as soft tissue or joint mobilization, may be helpful if painful muscles are limiting normal movement. Education regarding efficient positioning at work and at home can help reduce painful positions during the day that bother low back pain. When pain and/or numbness travels down the legs, specific exercises may be prescribed to help reduce these symptoms. Access’s therapists can provide the expert evaluation and intervention necessary for successful treatment of low back pain.