Low Back Pain
What is Low Back Pain?
Low back pain (LBP) is extremely common, in fact, it’s report to be the most common cause of job-related disability (1). Acute back pain can last from a few days to a few weeks, while chronic back pain is pain that lasts longer than three months. LBP is also more likely to occur in individuals between ages of 30-50, partly due to the changes that occur in the body with aging.
Cause and Symptoms
There are a number of different causes for LBP. To name a few, the muscles or ligaments in the back can stretch or strain due to excess activity or the outside of the discs in the back can tear or herniate, leading to pain or discomfort. When the disc presses on the sciatic nerve it might lead to sciatica (pain in the legs and/or feet). If you’re experiencing numbness, shooting pain or loss of strength in the legs and/or feet, it might be a good idea to contact your GP.
A few common signs and symptoms are:
- Dull, aching pain in the lower back
- Limited mobility
- Pain or tingling that travels to the buttocks, legs, or feet
- Pain getting worse after prolonged sitting
- Pain that’s worse after waking up/sitting for long periods of time and better after moving around
LBP is different for everyone and may present in a number of different ways. Treatment is also dependent on your symptoms and which activities lead to pain or discomfort. Make sure to contact your physiotherapist to get more information on your complaint and help with rehabilitation.
Some general tips for treating LBP at home are:
- Take a short rest period (but no longer than a few days) by avoiding strenuous activity
- Modify your activity – stay active but avoid activities and positions that aggravate the pain
- Heat/Ice therapy
- (Over-the-counter) pain medications (ask your GP for advice)