The Truth About Lower Back Pain

October 05, 2015


Back pain is incredibly common – but since the causes are often cumulative – each case is slightly different and to be effective, treatment plans must be tailored to the individual.


Posture plays and important role in spine health but it's not always the case that straighter is better: the spine has natural curves but will also have some sideways variation. It's not the visual but the functional that counts. After all: no one is completely symmetrical and our spines are shaped by our activities (or inactivity) as much as they are by our build.

The vertebrae of the low back are larger than the others and their bodies are solid chunks of bone. This is because they carry the weight of the body above. The more weight they carry, the more stress is placed on the muscles, ligaments and discs around them.

Regular exercise is vital for keeping low back pain (/patient-care/frequently-asked-questions) at bay – the Sunday overdo is more risky for your low back than no exercise at all. However, the best predictor of all for spine health is the isometric strength of the spine muscles themselves. Core stability training can be logical intervention and can make a difference with back health.

While an acute injury may require some rest, complete bed rest is not the answer. The spine thrives on movement – that's how it heals itself. Low back muscles play an important role in supporting the spine – too much time sitting or lying down and they will lose their strength. Patterned movements such as walking are more helpful than bed rest in the short and long-term. If the pain is very bad, then walking in a swimming pool will help, as well as feel safe.

Effective treatment of low back pain

There is a dizzying array of treatments for low back pain. Some are proven as effective while others are touted as "cures" but may not be at all.

Sonoran Spine only advises treatment that has established clinical worth.

The key to effective treatment is accurate diagnosis, which provides a specific range of treatments for low back pain:

  • Physical therapy – stretching, massage and deep tissue work
  • Isometric strength training of the spine muscles themselves
  • Work on back health related to lifestyle – too much sitting and poor lifting techniques
  • Appropriate medication
  • Interventional therapy - specific local injections into inflamed joints
  • Surgery

Posted in Expert Blog

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