One of the most frequent complaints doctors hear from patients is about lower back pain. Strains, pulled muscles, and other problems in the back area are often diagnosed and treated with medications to help relieve pain, and sometimes physiotherapy to address its cause. Here are some of the ways people with back pain can be helped by physiotherapy.

When Is Help Needed?

Not all back pain requires help from a healthcare professional, as self-care will often remedy the pain caused by muscle strains or pulls. However, there are situations in which you should consult a doctor or physiotherapist regarding pain in your back.

If you experience pain due to an injury, such as an auto accident, then you should contact a doctor to have your back evaluated. Also, if the pain is accompanied by numbness, a pins-and-needles sensation in your legs, or a loss of balance or weakness, then you need to have your back examined.

Diagnosing Back Pain

Most back problems can be diagnosed without needing x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, as a doctor, chiropractor, or physiotherapist can use their hands to find problem areas. They may request x-rays or an MRI if the pain is accompanied by weakness, numbness, or pain radiating into your legs to find out if your pain is the result of spinal damage. However, most back problems can be diagnosed by a manual examination.

Exercise Therapy

If you have chronic back pain, then a physiotherapist may recommend exercise therapy to help keep the muscles loose and active. Stretching exercises at Scarborough Pilates can help loosen tight muscles, maintain flexibility, and improve balance. Other forms of exercise often recommended by physiotherapists include yoga and Tai Chi, because they are low impact and involve slow, steady movements.

In many cases, an exercise program emphasizing core strengthening is a good long-term solution for chronic back pain. When the core muscles of the abdomen, sides, and back are strengthened, they can better support the spine and help reduce pain. Practising yoga is often recommended for strengthening the core, but an experienced physiotherapist may customise an exercise program to meet their clients’ specific needs.

Massage Therapy

Physiotherapists may also recommend massage therapy if the patient has muscle spasms, but massage therapy can also relax muscles that are tense due to stress. It can also help reduce back pain in most patients, especially those who are experiencing pain not caused by trauma, arthritis, or damage to the spine. Along with massage therapy, manual manipulation of the spine can sometimes bring pain relief if a nerve is being pinched by a misaligned joint.

Losing Weight

Changing your diet to help you lose weight may also be recommended by doctors, chiropractors, or physiotherapists to help relieve pressure on your back. Being obese or having excess weight around your middle can put a strain on your muscles and skeletal system, which can exacerbate back pain. By losing weight, you may be able to help reduce your pain.

A physiotherapist can help reduce back pain in many ways so that you can live a normal, pain-free life.


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Sara T. Loving

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