Do you have lower back pain? Is it preventing you from doing the things you love? Let us help you with the following pro tips for getting your back pain under control. At least 4 out of 5 people will experience low back pain at some stage in their lifetime – it’s pretty common! If you have low back pain currently, and you want to take the first steps to work through it, let’s get started.

First of all, STOP!

Do you have any of the following symptoms?

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Major trauma to your low back
  • Pain radiating down your legs
  • Pins and needles or loss of sensation in your legs
  • Loss of control of your bladder or bowel recently?

These signs, where low back pain is present, indicate something more serious may be underlying your pain. You should see your healthcare professional immediately, especially if these are recently worsening.

The best current literature available for low back pain advocates for the following:

1. Avoid bed rest – maintain your normal activities where you are able. Low back pain without the symptoms previously mentioned above is not a serious illness and has good prognosis. The pain you are feeling is likely not correlated with physical damage to your back, it is just sensitive to a few positions. That means you can go about your daily activities where you are able with the confidence you are helping your recovery!

2. Basic pain relief – the guidelines recommend simple anti-inflammatories (ie; ibuprofen, Nurofen, Voltaren) to be most effective, with the knowledge that for some people they can cause an upset stomach or other side effects. Take these as per the indication on the packet if needed, and see your pharmacist or doctor if you need further guidance or are concerned about using them.

3. Exercises – although there is a great discrepancy as to what form of exercise is best, the guidelines indicate that exercise is useful for the resolution of low back pain. These can either be done in the form of the normal daily exercise classes that you enjoy, a simple walk outside for 15-20 minutes, or get in touch if you would like to hear about some of our favourites. 
Note: Don’t feel as though you need to flare your back pain up doing these; the emphasis is on comfortable movement – just do what you can.

Please note: Imaging (ie; X-ray, MRI, etc) is recommended against the guidelines for low back pain without the symptoms mentioned above. However, if symptoms persist or worsen this may be useful.

We hope this information and the above steps help to get your low back pain under control. If you have any ongoing struggles or would like to get more advice on how to properly rehabilitate your low back and how to prevent injuries from happening in future, please get in touch and have a chat with one of our Physiotherapists! We’d be happy to get you back on track.

David LalorPhysiotherapist at Active Health Waikato