The benefits of physiotherapy for back pain

Posted on: 06 November 2013 by 50connect editorial

Back pain is a very common condition among older people, but simple exercise and physiotherapy can reduce its impact on your life.

Back pain and physiotherapy

It has been estimated that around 80% of people will suffer from back pain at some point during their lifetime. The type of pain will vary – some individuals will suffer twinges while others will have severe pain that goes on for years – and resting is often not the answer. Staying as active as possible can help; however, it is important to make sure that the activity will not cause any further problems.

Is physiotherapy beneficial for back pain?

Physiotherapy can help with mobility and a doctor may refer you for this type of treatment, which is also known as physio or physical therapy.

Physiotherapy can also help the body to heal following a surgical procedure or injury, as well as helping with respiratory issues and general illness. Back pain can be reduced, as can the chance of it coming back. Physiotherapists are recognised as healthcare professionals.

When will physiotherapy help back pain?

Physiotherapy is a treatment that can be used on back pain at any point; however, it has been shown that patients opting for physio within two weeks of their first consultation for pain in the lower back reduce the chances of further treatment by half when compared to those who waited 90 days for physiotherapy.

What happens at the physiotherapy session?

The physiotherapist will first carry out an assessment so that the reason for the pain can be identified. The recommendations given will be tailored to your own requirements and will help to ease the problem. You may be advised to do stretches and exercises, and it may be that you are advised to have massages for soft tissue mobilisation. Electrotherapy is another possibility.

Other suggestions may include improvements to your posture, lifting items safely and relevant changes to your lifestyle, and there may be other options to enable you to take control of the situation. A treatment programme of physiotherapy will often take place over several weeks, and you will often be expected to do some exercises at home.

Is there anything else I can do?

Preventing back pain completely may not be possible, but there are a number of things you can consider to reduce the possibility of it happening again and to prevent the problems that back pain causes for your lifestyle. Things you can try include:

  • Good posture – this is particularly important for those who have a desk job or who spend a long time in their car.

  • Stay as active as possible – try swimming or walking, as both are low-impact exercises. It is important to choose an exercise that you like, as it needs to be done on a regular basis.

  • Learn the correct techniques for lifting or find useful equipment to do the task for you. Keep your back straight and bend only from the knees and hips.
  • Taken notice of the signals. If your back feels stiff after sitting still for a long time, use simple stretching exercises to bring back some flexibility.

 


For more information about back pain visit:

NHS Choices

Nuffield Health

Spine Health

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