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References:

1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2016) Back problems. Retrieved 9/3/17 from http://www.aihw.gov.au/back-problems/

2. Walker, B.F., Muller, R. & Grant, W.D (2003). Low back pain in Australian adults: the economic burden. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, (15)2, 79-87. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15038680

3. Brukner, P. & Khan, K. (2012) Brukner & Khan's Clinical Sports Medicine/ Peter Brukner, Karim Khan 4th Edition. North Ryde, Australia: McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd.

Back & Neck Pain

Back pain is the 3rd leading disability burden in Australia and is often seen as a normal part of aging as 1 in 6 Australians (3.7 million) reported back problems between 2014-2015(1). Low back pain cost Australians 9.7 billion dollars in 2001, presenting as a huge economic burden to the community(2). With 70-90% of the population experiencing back pain sometime in their life, it is no suprise that our therapists treat back pain on a regular basis(3). Here at Game Time Physiotherapy, we want to improve these statistics and change the minset that back & neck pain are a normal part of life, because they are not.

If we look at the neck, a common presentation is pain and stiffness with prolonged/ incorrect postures. Advances in technology have led everyone to be fixated on screens for extended periods of the day, without conscious control of their neck and head alignment. Prolonged postures working at a computer all day, or hours on end scrolling through instagram can cause cervical stiffness and muscle tightness leading to pain, reduced range of motion and even headaches. Posture with other activities can also cause an overload of cervical structures as well. It could be overhead presses during a crossfit class or lots of paddling when you are out surfing. Sub-optimal postures can lead to cervical stiffness and muscle guarding. Physiotherapy would look to restore normal joint articulation, muscle tone and improve postural awareness and neck muscle control to ensure you perform at your best with whatever it is that you love to do.

Low back pain is often seen as a normal part of life, but here at Game Time Physiotherapy, we refuse to accept this common outlook. A common presentation of acute low back pain in our clinic is that of discogenic back pain. This involves disruption of the normal parameters of a vertebral disc, most commonly that of the lumbar spine. Sudden low back pain when reaching for the remote, or as you come out of the bottom of a squat, with shooting pain down the back of one or both legs or pins & needles/numbness down the legs are common presentations.

Each vertebrae articulate with the segment above and below through joints called facet joints. These facet joints can become "stuck" leading to pain and muscle guarding with movements. Preceeding physical work, slumped postures, muscle tightness can all contribute to facet joint dysfunction.  Pain is usually localised in the back without neural symptoms or referral. 

Another common cause of low back pain is hyper mobility or “too much movement” at a certain level. This is commonly seen in young cricketers and dancers, where excessive forces are put through the spine, with inadequate muscular control between each segment. Patients often report catching/clicking with morning stifnness.

 

Physiotherapy treatment would initially look to reduce pain and symptoms, followed by methods to facilitate normal joint articualtion, whether it be joint mobilisations to get the facet joints moving again, or neural gliding exercises to help the sciatic nerve build its tolerance to slide and stretch. A large quantity of prescribed exercises will involve core retraining as it is essential in improving patient outcomes and keeping you at your best, without ongoing back pain.

 

These conditions are just a few we see and treat successfully everyday here at Game Time Physiotherapy. If you have a question about your neck or back pain, send us a message and we will be in contact as soon as possible.

Have a question about your back pain?

Common pathologies treated sucessfully by physiotherapy

include:

  • Discogenic back pain

  • Sciatica

  • Facet joint dysfunction

  • Postural overload/dysfunction

  • Segmental instability

  • Thoracic stiffness  

  • Neural impingement

  • Cervical headaches.

  • Symptoms associated with osteoarthritis

Pain should never be accepted as 'normal' as it limits our ability to perform at our best and effects the quality of sleep we get. To take control of your back or neck pain, book an appointment online now to resolve this common disability for good. 

References:

1. Australian Institute of Heath and Welfare. (2016). Back Pain and Problems. Retrieved from http://www.aihw.gov.au/back-problems/ 

2. Walker, B.F., Muller, R. & Grant, W.D. (2003). Low back pain in Australian adults: The economic burden. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 15(2), 79-87. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15038680

3. Healthdirect. (2015). Back Pain. Retrieved from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/back-pain