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What is a chronic low back pain?

Chronic lower back pain is a frequently occurring condition across the population and is characterised by pain in the lower back which lasts for more than 3 months. It can be debilitating for certain individuals and has a negative impact on function and daily living.

How is chronic lower back diagnosed and managed?

It is usually diagnosed through a physical examination carried out by a Doctor or Physiotherapist. Depending on the nature of your back pain and associated symptoms, the medical specialist might order some scans to help determine if there is a specific cause for your pain. In most cases however, MRI findings might not correspond to your symptoms and would require a treatment based on the physical findings of your Doctor or Physiotherapist.

    How can Physiotherapy help?

    The Physiotherapist will carry out an assessment of lower back region as well as your movement and posture. This would include an assessment of the range of movements in your lower back and a neurological examination of your lower limbs to rule out any nerve involvement. The Physiotherapist will also address other contributing factors such as muscle strength and flexibility, aberrant movement patterns and negative lifestyle habits which might be perpetuating the pain.

    Treatment may include but is not limited to:

    • Advise and education pertaining to your condition
    • Soft tissue therapy
    • Movement with mobilisation
    • Heat therapy
    • Electrotherapy
    • Dry needling
    • Movement and posture re-education
    • Neurological mobilisation
    • Home exercise program

    What can I do to prevent chronic lower back pain?

    In recent years, chronic lower back pain has been attributed to have a multi-factorial nature thus prevention should also take a similar approach.

    Here are some tips in addressing and preventing chronic lower back pain:

    • Maintaining good work-life balance and managing stress levels
    • Having good sleep and recovering properly
    • Having a good exercise regime

    Acute lower back pains if left unaddressed can become chronic thus it would be advisable to consult a Physiotherapist to help you manage the condition and prevent chronicity.

    Can exercise help with my chronic back pain?

    Certainly! Recent studies have shown that doing some form of general exercise regularly is just as good as performing core exercises in the management of chronic back pain. The other unseen benefit of exercise is the release of endorphins during the physical activity which acts as a natural painkiller for the body. If you are uncertain on which exercises are appropriate for you, have a chat with our Physiotherapist who will be able to advise you accordingly.