Back Pain


What Causes Back Pain?

Postural Stress

Poor posture stresses your spine. Ligaments are over-stretched, muscles tire and joints and nerves are put under pressure.

Muscle Strains

Minor back muscle strains quickly improve on their own, but more severe strains will need physiotherapy treatment to relieve pain and promote healing.

Ligament Sprains

Stretching ligaments too far or too quickly makes them tear and bleed into surrounding tissues, causing swelling and pain. Motor vehicle and sporting accidents are common causes.

Disc Problems

Discs are anchored to the vertebrae, above and below, so they cannot ‘slip’ out of place. They can wear down with age, but most disc problems arise from injury. Discs can bulge (prolapse), herniate or even rupture.


The sciatic nerves run from the lower back, through the buttocks and down the back of your legs. Irritation anywhere along this pathway will cause pain in the back and legs.


Vertebral and facet joints can be affected by arthritis, causing degeneration and inflammation within the joint and the growth of bony spurs on the edges of the vertebrae.

Muscle Weakness

Recent research has shown that weakness of the deep abdominal muscles can contribute to increased strain on the lower back.

(APA, 2002).


Depending on the cause and type of pain, our physiotherapists will treat back pain in a variety of ways:

  • Advice and early activity (recent research indicates that one of the most important treatments for low back pain is movement).
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Specific stabilisation exercises.
  • General exercises and stretches.
  • Ergonomic advice.
  • Postural advice.

Once your back pain has been successfully treated your physiotherapist will encourage self-management through specific exercise prescription. If severe pain persists, other causes will need to be investigated. Your physiotherapist can order x-rays or recommend that you see a doctor.

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