Low Back Pain

What is it?

Low back pain (LBP) refers to pain that is experienced either at the lower part of your back and/or radiates into your buttock and down the leg. 

It affects a third of the UK population every year and is the leading cause of time off work. Left untreated, LBP back can be extremely painful and debilitating. 

How it might show up in your life?

You struggle to bend, lift or even carry light objects

Housework often flares your pain and is a real chore

Painful to put your socks and shoes on

Painful looking after and playing with your kids/grandkids.

Prolonged sitting or driving is painful

You need to lie down to relieve pain

You are always reaching for the next painkiller

Where you might feel pain?

Centrally in the back or to one side

Into the buttock and/or down the leg

On the bony point of the pelvis to one side

How it might feel?

Constant or Intermittent pain (comes and goes)

Spasm

Dull or aching

Sharp, shooting, stabbing or burning pain

Why do I get Low Back Pain?

LBP has many causes and, interestingly, the research tells us that most people struggle to recall how their pain first came on.

This is because most episodes of LBP are due to the build-up of pressures that are placed on the structures of the back (muscles, ligaments, joints, discs and nerves) over a prolonged period of time. Think about sitting all day.

The body is incredibly resilient and will deal with the demands we place on it for long periods of time (months and years) until eventually it has had enough and sends us a message (PAIN) telling us to do something about it.

Postural related back pain is a great example of this. Typically, due to the way society and technology have developed, we have become a population that does a lot of sitting, which puts the body in a position that can lead to LBP.

Consider the following example…

We wake up and sit for breakfast, then we then drive to work, where we sit at the desk for hours, before jumping in the car to drive home. We then sit down to eat, and retire to the sofa to relax before finally going to bed where we sleep in a curled up position.

As you can see, a lot of sitting! It is these prolonged postures that if we don’t do anything about, may lead to pain.

We need to remember that our bodies are designed for movement. It is how we keep our muscles, joints, bones and mind both strong and healthy.  

Common Causes of Back pain:

Joints

The joints of our back are amazing and allow us both stability (think about standing upright) and mobility (bending forwards, backwards, and rotating). In order for these joints to stay healthy and function well, they need to stay hydrated with nutrients, which they get through movement and a clever mechanism of pressure and release. This helps to draw the nutrients into the joint.

 

When we sit for long periods, we just don’t get this, which can lead to joints becoming stiff, painful and inflamed. 

Discs

We have discs that sit between each level of our spine and their role is to absorb and distribute load through the spine evenly to allow us to move efficiently. Think of them like a doughnut, only way stronger!

 

These discs have an inner centre that reacts in response to how we move. For example, if we bend forwards the inner centre of the disc moves backwards and then vice versa for when we bend backwards.

 

Over time, if we sustain postures such as sitting, the inner centre can begin to press on or break through the back wall of the disc, causing pain, inflammation and pressure on the nerve. Sometimes referred to as a slipped disc. When the nerve is irritated or compressed, we can experience pain in the back and down the leg, also known as sciatica. 

Lumbar Stenosis

Lumbar stenosis is a condition in which arthritis of your joints can lead to a narrowing of your spinal canal, which then causes compression and irritation of the nerves that exit your lower back and go down your leg.

 

Think of it this way… your nerves are like water pipes. They carry signals and messages to the muscles and skin in your pelvis and legs to tell them to move or feel certain things.

 

As your joints get worse with arthritis, the space where this nerve (or waterpipe) exits gets smaller. This begins to slowly put a ‘kink in the waterpipe’ (compression) and as a result you get less water through, only this time it is blood, oxygen and electrical signals. Everything you need to function well.

 

Stenosis is generally worsened by prolonged standing and walking and people find relief through sitting and leaning forward. They will report the ‘shopping trolley sign’, which is where they lean on the trolley to alleviate their symptoms whilst doing the shopping.

Other Causes Of Low Back Pain

Age, activity and other health factors can contribute to Degenerative Disc Disease or Osteoarthritis, Spondylosis, Osteoporosis, Spondylolisthesis, compression or stress fractures in relation to over training or traumas from incidents such as road traffic accidents. Other conditions can also refer pain into the low back area. 

How do we treat Low Back Pain?

We use our 4-step system to assess and treat your back pain as outlined below. This ensures you have the best possible chance of getting better and the problem not returning in future. 

1) Assess

First we listen to you and take a detailed history of your back pain. Then we assess your back, hips and lower legs using simple movement tests and screens. 

We then explain your likely diagnosis and proposed treatment plan of exactly what we need to do to get you better. 

2) Mobilise

We then begin treatment. This usually involves a combination of hands-on techniques as outlined below to help improve joint stiffness, decrease pain and improve muscle and nerve tension.

Soft tissue massage and mobilisation

Joint mobilisation

Acupuncture and Dry Needling

Muscle Energy Techniques

Taping

Advice around lifestyle, posture and ergonomics.

We begin to build your exercise rehab programme ensuring it fits around your life and is not overwhelming.

3) Strengthen

Once pain has begun to settle and we are moving in the right direction, the emphasis shifts to helping you build the necessary strength and resilience of muscles and joints in order to get those long-lasting results. We work with you 1:1 in our dedicated rehab space and/or start you in our group PhysioFit Pilates classes. 

4) Optimise

Now that you are well on your way to being pain free, we show you how to build on these results. Many of our clients choose to start our Physio Led Pilates classes which are an excellent way to stay consistent with your exercises and to keep you on track going forwards.

Note: Most people don’t need scans but if during the assessment or subsequent treatment sessions we decide your condition does need further investigation like an X-ray or MRI, we have the facilities to refer you privately if you wish. Usually, we can get this organised and have a result within 3-5 days. 

How do I get started?

If you are ready to book in then you can either phone the main desk on 0191 814 9717, or use our easy online booking system by clicking here and selecting the ‘Physiotherapy Assessment/First Appointment’ option at a day and time that suits you. You will usually be offered an appointment within 48 hours.

Like to speak to someone first?

No problem, please call the main desk and if needed we can have a physio call you back to discuss your specific situation. 

Testimonials

What Our Clients Say

Paul Scrafton
Paul Scrafton
2023-09-21
Physio linked to additional stretches/exercises and Pilates at JL Physiofit have improved my core strength and flexibility.
Rebecca Lowes
Rebecca Lowes
2023-09-18
Michael helped me with leg pain leading up to my first half marathon. I ended up running the whole distance with no pain and was able to enjoy the experience by taking his advice and getting treatment the week before the big run. Would recommend to anyone.
Neil Taylor
Neil Taylor
2023-09-15
Hi , i have had individual physiotherapy by Bev for my back and feet (plantar fascia )and have subsequently been able to join a beginners Pilate class run by Bev . The class is demanding , enjoyable and appropriate to my physical capability.
Alison Bailey
Alison Bailey
2023-09-15
I thoroughly enjoyed my Pilates class this morning. I found my teacher to be very thorough, aware of each pupils ability and very encouraging. Highly recommended. Thank you .
Sharon Oldroyd
Sharon Oldroyd
2023-09-15
Started treatment in September 2022 after hospital appointments with consultant and scans on my left knee. I booked to see Michael as I was having major pain/grinding noise and unable to do exercise or even walk up/down the stairs properly. He assessed my mobility and strength and developed a tailored, gradual rehab program that has helped me to build strength and confidence in my knee as well as helping me slowly get back into exercising. It's made a vast difference working with Michael as I'm not an easy person to work with and always push myself too far. All my exercises were shared via email and accessible via an app. Now I'm exercising 5 times a week, spinning, strength, cardio, HIIT, rowing and running (I can finally use my home gym). Thank you for your patience and understanding my needs. Would highly recommend Michael and JL PhysioFit.
Diana Robertson
Diana Robertson
2023-08-26
I am really enjoying beginners Pilates and feel like I have made good progress. The trainers are very good and it is a positive low-key atmosphere and everyone is friendly and welcoming.
Julie Tough
Julie Tough
2023-08-24
Enjoying this physio type class, definitely feeling the benefit.
Moira Luccock
Moira Luccock
2023-08-23
Good class today with Michael. Well taught by Michael with options to suit our abilities. Stretching so feel I have progressed. Light hearted banter too - what more could you want! Moira
Lesley Hughes
Lesley Hughes
2023-08-22
Good team that listen to what clients have to say before doing each Pilates class, so if you have a niggle they work with it. Exercises are testing but doable, even if at the time you are not sure about it, and if you can't then they come up with a variation for you to do. Friendly classes and staff.
Nick Winslow
Nick Winslow
2023-08-17
I attend pilates regularly and cannot overstate how much I value the advice ,motivation,and fun this provides.There is a real rewarding sense of progression.JL himself is my usual instructor ,but the entire team have an infectious enthusiasm that fosters self improvement.
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Ready to Book?

All of our appointments can be easily booked online or if you’d prefer to discuss your needs prior to booking in then please call 0191 814 9717 and we will be happy to chat.