Low back pain is one of the most common and costly health conditions in Australia but unfortunately there are many myths about how it should be managed.
- around 25 per cent of Australians suffer from back pain on any day
- the muscles, ligaments, discs or bones in your back could all be the source of back pain. Fortunately, conditions like arthritis, cancer or infection are rare causes of back pain
- many people self-manage an episode of back pain by staying active and using simple pain medicines or a hot pack to relieve their pain. Resting in bed will probably delay recovery: movement is key
- most people with back pain do not need an X-ray, CT or MRI scan
- effective treatments are available from your local physio or GP. Most patients do not need to see a specialist.
- surgery is only suitable for a very small group of patients with back pain
When to see a physio
If your back pain is not settling with simple self-care options it can be helpful to make an appointment to see a physio. Your physio can provide treatment to relieve the pain and they can also teach you how to look after your back and prevent future episodes. If you have a long-term back problem the physio can design a suitable exercise program for you. Find a physiotherapist near you.
Other indications that it is time to call your physio include:
- back pain following trauma
- back pain accompanied by pain, numbness, pins and needles in your leg(s), and weakness or balance problems.
If your back pain is accompanied by fever/feeling unwell or bladder/bowel disturbance, you should see a doctor immediately.
An APA physiotherapist may prescribe a tailored series of exercises to prevent and manage injury and help optimise your health.
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Always consult with your physiotherapist for expert advice.