Back and Neck Pain

Low back pain

Back PainAt Guildford Physiotherapy Sports Centre, some of the most common injuries we treat is lower back and neck pain.

Our physiotherapists are equipped with therapeutic skills in manual therapy, manipulation and exercise prescription.  We will assess your condition to determine the best course of action to reduce your pain and disability.  This may include advice such as postural adjustments and modifications to your day to day activities which may be provoking your pain.

Basics of the Spine

The spine is made up of 4 regions, the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back), lumbar (low back) and sacral (base of spine).

There are primary curves called Kyphosis in your mid back and secondary curves called Lordosis in your neck and lower back.  An increased kyphosis in your upper back may be due to poor postural habits or congenital conditions such as scoliosis.  A loss of lordosis in your spine can be caused by poor postural habits, or an increase in muscular spasm due to back pain.  Guildford Physiotherapists will help to diagnose your condition and give you the best advice to overcome your pain.

The spinal column is made up of bones called vertebrae, with soft spongy pads of cartilage called Intervertebral discs (IV) in between. The spine is inherently a passive structure making up the framework while the IV discs allow flexibility through the spine and act as shock absorbers. Many layers of muscles surround the spine to provide support and stability, and control movement. 

Lower back and neck injuries can be classified as acute or chronic. Acute back pain generally lasts a few days or weeks, and is often mechanical in nature and caused by some form of trauma e.g lifting a heavy object, a fall, sports injury or prolonged activities such as gardening.  Neck injuries can occur from motor vehicle accidents resulting in whiplash, or from poor sleeping positions.

Chronic spinal injuries are generally longer than 3 months duration and can sometimes involve degenerative aspects such as arthritis.

Types of Spinal Conditions

Disc bulge (sometimes called herniated or ruptured disc)

The disc between the vertebrae may become damaged and bulge slightly, causing pressure on the surrounding nerves. This can cause symptoms of back pain, leg pain, pins and needles and possible numbness.Physiotherapy treatment is usually indicated, and occasionally further investigations such as an MRI scan may be required. 

Postural back pain

Many of our daily lives now is determined by activities involving sitting. We sit at home, at work on the computer and during driving.  Because of our increased "sitting" activities we tend to have a poor posture involving a slump position. Back pain and injuries are often caused by weak abdominal and back muscles, contributing to poor posture and reduced ‘core strength’

Degenerative changes

Back pain and stiffness may develop from ‘wear and tear’ to the spinal joints and discs. This can be degenerative in nature, be gradual in onset, and may become chronic. Early morning stiffness and pain with prolonged standing is a common complaint.

Physiotherapy Treatment

A physiotherapy assessment for back pain will allow accurate diagnosis of the problem, and a treatment plan to be formulated.

Treatment may involve joint mobilisations, massage, stretches, and exercises.

Physiotherapy rehabilitation for a back injury may involve a graded exercise program to strengthen postural muscles and improve flexibility.

Advice on back care, back injury prevention and a strengthening program is a core part of physiotherapy treatment for back pain.

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