Most people will experience some sort of back pain from time to time, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk. Often, it’s nothing to worry about and will go away by itself, but there are certain warning signs to look out for that tell you it’s time to see a physiotherapist.
Referred pain, tingling and numbness
You should see a physiotherapist immediately if you feel any referred pain. This is when you feel pain, tingling, pins and needles or weakness at a separate location from the site of stiffness or injury. For example, pain in your neck that travels down through your shoulder or arm, or pain in your lower back that travels down your legs.
These sensations indicate that your nervous system is being affected, such as a pinched nerve blocking signals from reaching your limbs. Such neurological interference should be resolved as soon as possible to prevent long term over-sensitisation, muscle weakness and movement problems.
Pain that lasts for more than a week
Any back pain or soreness that lasts longer than a week should be seen to by a physiotherapist, especially if it’s restricting your movement or aggravated by coughing or sneezing.
We can isolate any injuries and prescribe a rehabilitation programme or refer you to the appropriate specialist should we suspect the pain is a symptom of something more sinister.
Some of the back pain we treat has an obvious cause, such as acute injuries from sport or even something as simple as sneezing or getting out of a car awkwardly. Other back pain is harder to diagnose, as it can be caused by an array of interrelated symptoms, from chronic postural problems to stress and depression.
Many people who don’t manage to resolve their back pain simply accept it as a part of their life, but pain is never normal. The cause may be hard to pin down, but through a combination of exercise and lifestyle changes we have been able to reduce or eliminate back pain that our patients have been living with for years.
Little niggles that keep coming back
If you have consistent niggles in your back that keep returning, this is usually caused by a specific area of tightness or weakness that can be resolved with the right training. This is almost impossible to diagnose without professional assistance, which is where a visit to a physio comes in.
We’ll ask about your work environment, your exercise routine and any activities you do, then closely examine your back muscles and associated structures in your hips and shoulders for any tightness, weakness and compensatory movement patterns.
This allows us to prescribe stretches and exercises tailored specifically to your own strengths and weaknesses rather than what’s recommended by Dr. Google, along with advice for how to reduce strain on your back day to day.
Even if these niggles aren’t severe, it’s worth having them resolved when they’re minor and easy to treat instead of waiting for them to become severe. The more painful and sensitive your back is, the more difficult it is to rehabilitate.
Stop worrying and see us!
One guaranteed way to make your back pain worse is to stress yourself out worrying about it. Most of the time, back pain can be resolved with simple, non-invasive treatments and guided exercise. Don’t build it up into something scarier than it is, just book an appointment with us and we’ll put you on the path to a pain-free back.