Low back pain is the most common pain associated with the general population and contributes more than any other injury to time spent away from work or activity (1). The management of non-specific low back pain has changed significantly in recent years with a variety of treatments and modalities being advised from different practitioners in many different fields. Bed rest, overuse of anti-inflammatory medication and fear mongering around moving during episodes of back pain were commonly prescribed by healthcare professionals. Thankfully the latest research around management of low back pain has taken some positive steps in reducing the fear typically associated with moving and exercising with and around back pain.
The research surrounding the use of soft tissue therapies (massage, trigger point therapy, passive accessory mobilisations, manipulations, myofascial release) and modalities (ultrasound, LASER, electrical muscle stimulation, dry needling, cupping, acupuncture, cryotherapy, thermotherapy) is generally weak for assisting with long term recovery from low back pain. However, there is a place for these interventions as a means of providing short term relief from pain which may then allow you to more confidently return to some form of exercise and activity. At the Kevin Feely Athletic Therapy Clinic we provide a range of these treatments which may help to initially alleviate some of your pain.
The strongest evidence around treatment for low back pain now emphasises the importance of reassurance that your non-specific low back pain is not the end of the world and that the pain you are experiencing is normal and will improve. The use of NSAIDS (anti-inflammatories) still has a place in the early stages of low back pain for reducing pain levels and management of pyscho-social factors such as stressors in your current lifestyle can contribute greatly to your pain levels improving. Finally the most strongly recommended treatment for low back pain is the resumption of exercise therapy to whatever level your current pain allows as soon as possible (2). At our clinic we are experts in grading your return to exercise to suit your pain levels and providing you with an exercise programme to improve your pain and gradually build up your resistance and tolerance to help reduce the chances of your back pain re-occurring in the future.
1. Hoy D, March L, Brooks P et al (2014) The global burden of low back pain: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. Ann Rheum Dis 73(6):968–974
2. Oliveira, C.B., Maher, C.G., Pinto, R.Z., Traeger, A.C., Lin, C.W.C., Chenot, J.F., van Tulder, M. and Koes, B.W., 2018. Clinical practice guidelines for the management of non-specific low back pain in primary care: an updated overview. European Spine Journal, 27(11), pp.2791-2803.