Lower back pain (LBP) is something that you often hear about, and for good reason. LBP has a lifetime occurrence of 84%. The prevalence of LBP can be as high as 20% in adults, the likelihood of which will increase steadily over time with age. This ultimately means that most people will have a high chance of developing LBP at some point in their life.

Lower back pain will initially present as acute LBP, being recognized clinically as lasting less than four weeks, though this can and often will progress to chronic, lasting more than four weeks. Excluding cases of surgery, many recent guidelines strongly recommend non-medication-based treatments and instead recommend multidiscipline approaches, including manual therapy, exercise and rehabilitation.

Non-specific chronic low back pain (NS-LBP), is when assessments and imaging find no specific conditions or diagnoses. This is defined when LBP has been occurring for up to 3 months without any particular cause of pain. In many cases, there may have been a history of injury, possibly a strain or joint irritation that should be resolved by this point in time.

Studies have found that LBP has the highest prevalence of years lived with a disability, meaning that LBP is the most common disability that people live with for extended years of their life. This also means that chronic LBP is extremely prevalent. It’s common that those with chronic LBP may experience physical disability and a degree of stress.

Many recent studies and guidelines strongly recommend active treatment, as it’s been found there is a strong link between improving functionality and physical ability with improved pain levels. Health care professionals including Myotherapists, Osteopaths and Physiotherapists have a wide range of approaches to use for improving function and reducing pain. The following is a list of techniques and approaches for managing LBP.

▪ Myofascial release

▪ Massage

▪ Spinal mobilization

▪ Muscle energy techniques (MET)

▪ Tissue stretching

▪ Management recommendations

▪ Activity recommendations

▪ Workplace / lifestyle advice

▪ Modifications to current activities or exercises ▪ Self-care

▪ Rehabilitation exercises

▪ Pilates

▪ Core / stability exercises

▪ Home exercises

▪ Practitioner guided programs

You may have noticed that the education and exercise approaches may sound vague, and this is where the specifics come into play. While LBP is extremely common, pain and the experiences surrounding it are unique to each individual. While these techniques and approaches have all been found to be effective at treating LBP, treatment is informed by the needs, goals and outcomes of individuals.

Treatment involving a combination of manual therapy, along with active management (education) and exercise has been found to have the best outcomes for pain. Management and exercises will be based on different factors such as workplace, lifestyle, sports and activity levels. Considering these, your practitioner can establish the best treatment plan and over time modify these to best suit your needs.

CSSM Myotherapist James Sussman has a particular interest in treating tension headaches, neck related headaches, myofacisal pain and chronic neck and back pain.

Spending a lot of time strength training in the gym, James enjoys helping others who have any niggles or injuries to modify their program to keep them moving.

“Acute conditions can be stressful because of how suddenly they impact daily life and how disruptive this can be. When these are assessed they can be managed through treatment and goals which helps a lot with uncertainty,” James says.

“I love the challenge of appropriately reintegrating people back into sport as fast as possible while minimising the risk of re-injury.”


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