Lower back pain (LBP) is one of the most common reasons why people see a doctor or physio.

It’s that downright awful feeling that almost everyone will experience at some stage of their life.

Whether it is from awkwardly picking up a heavy object, after an intense workout or from standing/sitting for too long.

What is Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is generally described as tension, soreness or stiffness in your lower back. 

This can present in many different ways. 

The pain can be in one particular spot of your back, it could be widespread across your lower back, more on one side than the other or can travel down into your bottom and to the back of your legs. 

The lower back in made up of five lumbar joints named L1-L5 and the sacrum, with many different structures like muscles, nerves and ligaments in that region. 

Lower Back Pain Can Feel Like

  • Sharp pain 
  • Dull ache 
  • Stiffness 
  • Spasm
  • Pulling feeling
  • Intermittent pain

Causes Of Lower Back Pain

There are numerous causes of lower back pain. 

Some common reasons are : 

  • Muscle strains 
  • Joint stiffness
  • Poor posture 
  • Muscle imbalances 
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal  (stenosis)
  • Inflammation of the joints 
  • Scoliosis

Acute vs Chronic Lower Back Pain

Acute

From a recent injury/event, that gets better within 8-10 treatments which can last over 4-5 weeks.

Treatment consists of hands on therapy, stretching and eventually strengthening exercises. 

Chronic

Persistent pain that has been there longer than 3 months, interventions are longer term usually over 12 weeks and will include stretching, strength exercises, posture education and retraining. Sometimes this presents as back pain that comes and goes throughout the year. 

For more information see the Lower Back Pain fact sheet from The National Institutes of Health.

What Can Help Ease My Lower Back Pain

Backs are made for moving!

The best thing for your lower back pain is being as active as you can and to keep moving within your pain limitis.

Remember motion is lotion.

Other things that may help are:

  • Deep tissue massage 
  • Heat bags/patches
  • Mobilisations of stiff spinal joints 
  • Ultrasound 
  • Acupuncture or dry needling 
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Foam rolling 
  • Stretching
  • Low impact exercise such as walking, Pilates, swimming and cycling.

Two Stretches To Help Your Back Pain At Home

Remember to stop if you experience any pain and consult your health professional.

 

  • Lumbar Rotations 

Laying on your back, keep your feet and knees together and rock your knees side to side

 

  • Knee Circles:

Laying on your back, bring your knees to your chest and rock your knees in little circles

This is general advice only and should not replace medical advice specific to your situation.