top of page
  • chris70966

How to treat lower back pain

Updated: Jul 4


how to treat lower back pain

In this article we will go through all you need to know about how to treat lower back pain.


Summary

  • Prevalence: Up to 90% of the UK population will experience lower back pain (LBP) during their lifetime.

  • Primary Advice: Keep moving within your pain limitations.

  • Initial Steps: Use simple back exercises as recommended by the NHS.

  • Duration: Most 'simple' LBP resolves within 4-12 weeks.

  • Chronic Pain: 3-10% may develop chronic LBP lasting more than 3 months.

  • Self-Management: Focus on active exercises and avoid over-reliance on passive treatments.

  • Bio-psychosocial Model: Address psychological and environmental factors.

  • Professional Help: Consult a GP or specialist physiotherapist if pain persists beyond 12 weeks.

  • Team Rehab UK: Expertise in spinal research, surgical rehabilitation, and preventive care.


Understanding Lower Back Pain (LBP)

During our lifetime, most of us will experience some form of lower back or neck pain. Research estimates that this can be as high as 90% for lower back pain (LBP) and 70% for neck pain when looking at the UK population. To put that into context, the last census showed that in mid-2020, the UK had a population of just under 67.1 million people. This equates to over 60 million people with lower back pain and around 47 million with neck pain. That’s a lot of people!

It comes as no surprise then that some studies have shown that lower back pain is the most common reason that you will visit your GP if we remove both headaches and tiredness from the equation.


Initial Management of Lower Back Pain

In the overwhelming majority of lower back pain cases, in the absence of Red Flags (symptoms that in some cases can imply a more serious underlying cause, such as Cauda Equina Syndrome), the advice is to simply keep moving within your pain limitations. Sometimes, speaking to a pharmacist about short-term, over-the-counter medications to help you do this can be helpful.

Simple back exercises such as those recommended by the NHS can keep you moving as much as possible during your recovery. They are very generic, however, so stop them and get professional advice if they aggravate your symptoms.


Anatomy of the Lower Back

The lower back is commonly defined as the area between the bottom of the rib cage and the buttock creases. In the vast majority of cases, most ‘simple’ LBP is considered to be self-limiting, normally settling within 4-12 weeks under its own steam.


When to Seek Professional Help

Where pain is not controlled, or if you are worried about your symptoms, it is advisable to speak to your local GP practice or specialist physiotherapist. Many surgeries now have First Contact Practitioners (FCP), some of whom may be musculoskeletal specialists. At Team Rehab UK, some of our specialist physiotherapists are also FCP practitioners. They can advise you on further self-help, exercises, and triage to see if further investigations are needed.

As of April 2024, the funding for these NHS services and the regulations around them have changed, so the availability and nature of services may vary.


What if My Lower Back Pain Does Not Get Better in 12 Weeks?

First of all, don't panic. Most of the time, you will still make a full recovery, sometimes aided by the correct guidance based on a specialist undertaking a proper assessment of your presentation. If you feel you have not had this, then this is where Team Rehab UK really comes into its own.

It would be highly inappropriate, however, to claim that we have a golden bullet for everyone. Somewhere between 3-10% of people, or up to 6.7 million, may go on to develop chronic lower back pain (pain lasting for more than 3 months consecutively). Although this group is proportionally small, it accounts for nearly 50% of all resources allocated to the treatment of LBP. The bottom line is, it is impossible to stop everyone from developing chronic LBP even in today’s age of medicine. What we can do, however, is strive to limit this occurrence where possible, and help those where it is not preventable to still reach their full potential and continue to lead normal, rewarding lives.


Long-Term Management and Self-Care

Despite what you may be told, there is no reliable evidence to support monthly top-ups once you are better. Team Rehab UK is vehemently against over-treatment for chronic conditions and supports ongoing self-management strategies, such as prescribed physiotherapy exercises, Pilates, yoga, etc. Everyone is an individual, and the best exercise regimen is personalized to your needs.


Avoiding Over-Reliance on Passive Treatments

What you should not be doing, unless every single avenue has been exhausted, is becoming reliant upon clinical practitioners undertaking passive treatments on a regular basis. Passive treatments include bony mobilisation, massage, fascial release, and acupuncture. While these can be beneficial in the short term, long-term reliance is not advised.


Embracing the Bio-Psychosocial Model

It is also worth mentioning the ‘bio-psychosocial’ model that is supported and encouraged by most health organizations in the developed world. This model recognizes the importance of addressing any psychological and environmental aspects of your presentation as well as the physical. This does not mean that we think your pain is in your head, but simply that most of us will adopt behaviours and thoughts towards everyday tasks in response to our pain. Ensuring these are only short-term adaptations and not long-term habits is essential.


Professional Guidance and Treatment

All lower back pain should be treated with an approach that involves the patient in the leading role. Whether it is simple self-management, professional rehabilitation, or even surgery, you will need to be prepared to adopt a temporary (majority) or permanent (minimal) change in your lifestyle to reach your full potential.

Assessing and treating lower back pain across Northamptonshire and South Leicestershire is a challenge that we have significant experience in at Team Rehab UK Ltd. There are very few clinics in either area that have had the same exposure to spinal research, surgical rehabilitation, and preventive care as our own. Regardless of whether you require a first assessment or a second opinion, we are confident that we can provide both the honesty, integrity, and quality that you deserve.


Lower Back Pain Treatment in Northampton

At Team Rehab UK, we offer specialised lower back pain treatment in Northampton. Our approach combines evidence-based physiotherapy practices with personalised care plans to ensure the best outcomes for our patients. Whether you are experiencing acute pain or have been struggling with chronic lower back pain, our team is here to help you every step of the way.


Lower Back Pain Treatment in Corby

For those in need of lower back pain treatment in Corby, Team Rehab UK provides comprehensive services designed to alleviate pain and improve function. Our experienced physiotherapists will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals. We utilize a variety of techniques, including manual therapy, exercise prescription, and patient education, to help you achieve lasting relief.

 

Lower Back Pain Treatment in Brixworth

Residents of Brixworth can also benefit from our expert lower back pain treatment services. At Team Rehab UK, we understand the impact that lower back pain can have on your daily life. Our dedicated team is committed to providing high-quality care to help you manage your pain and improve your quality of life. From initial assessment to ongoing management, we are here to support you every step of the way.


Did you know that we also do Sports Massage in Northampton?


Key Points for Managing Lower Back Pain

  • Stay Active: Movement helps to reduce pain and improve recovery.

  • Seek Professional Advice: Some people prefer to see a physiotherapist early on in their recovery journey - there are arguments for both. What we would say however is that if your pain persists beyond 12 weeks, you have leg related symptoms such as weakness, numbness or pins and needles, or the pain is simply to intense, you should seek a professional opinion.

  • Adopt Self-Management Strategies: Engage in prescribed exercises and avoid over-reliance on passive treatments.

  • Consider Psychological Factors: Address any mental and emotional factors contributing to your pain.

  • Be Patient: Recovery can take time, and maintaining a positive attitude is crucial.


If you're struggling with lower back pain and need professional help, don't hesitate to contact Team Rehab UK. Our team of expert physiotherapists is dedicated to providing personalized care tailored to your specific needs. Whether you're dealing with acute pain or managing a chronic condition, we have the knowledge and experience to guide you towards recovery.


Take the first step towards a healthier, pain-free life. Schedule an appointment with Team Rehab UK and experience the difference that professional physiotherapy can make.

 

FAQ

1. How common is lower back pain in the UK?

Lower back pain is extremely common, with up to 90% of the UK population experiencing it at some point in their lives. This translates to over 60 million people.


2. What should I do if my lower back pain doesn't improve after 12 weeks?

If your lower back pain persists beyond 12 weeks, it's important not to panic. Consult a specialist physiotherapist for a proper assessment and tailored treatment plan.


3. What are the benefits of staying active with lower back pain?

Staying active helps reduce pain, improves mobility, and speeds up recovery. Movement prevents stiffness and keeps your muscles strong.


4. Are passive treatments like massage and acupuncture effective for long-term management?

While passive treatments can provide short-term relief, long-term reliance is not recommended. Focus on active self-management strategies for lasting results.


5. How does the bio-psychosocial model help in managing lower back pain?

The bio-psychosocial model addresses the physical, psychological, and environmental factors contributing to your pain. This holistic approach ensures comprehensive care and better outcomes.

For more information or to book an appointment, visit [Your Website URL] or contact us at [Your Contact Number]. Let Team Rehab UK help you achieve your full potential and lead a pain-free life.

 

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page