Back Pain

Injuries and conditions: back pain


This is commonly referred pain from the lumbar spine or sacroiliac joint. Can be related to piriformis syndrome or sciatica. It is important to get this assessed properly to diagnose and treat the injured structure.


Can be related to stiffness or muscle spasm around your thoracic spine, rib cage or chest bone. This responds well to physiotherapy treatment. It is important to rule out any other causes of chest pain, such as from your heart or lungs.


Throughout your spine you have discs between the vertebra that act like shock absorbers. They become a problem if too much force is put through them either acutely or over a long period of time. The lumbar discs are the most commonly injured which can result in sciatica, pins and needles, numbness, muscle spasm, weakness and loss of reflexes. Depending on the severity disc injuries can respond well to physiotherapy.


See Slipped disc


This is an umbrella term for pain in the lower back which can include all structures in this region. It is important for us to diagnose the problem so we treat the correct structure.


Most commonly found in the back or neck as a protective mechanism against further injury. Normally has an underlying cause such as a joint or disc problem. It is important for our physiotherapists to assess and diagnose the underlying cause; otherwise the muscle spasm is likely to return.


This can be found nearly anywhere in the body when a nerve pathway has been affected. It can present as weakness, numbness, pain or pins and needles. Most commonly felt in your arms or legs.


This is a fancy name for wear and tear that can happen in most of your joints, most commonly being knees, hips, back, neck, shoulders and fingers. The joint become worn like a rusty chain on a bike and cause pain. Commonly aggravated by the cold and wet weather. Can have acute episodes of aggravation and painful swelling. Physiotherapy can be very helpful with OA using treatments such as mobilisation, exercises, acupuncture etc.


See nerve pain.


The piriformis muscle is a deep muscle in your buttock that can give local pain and sciatica symptoms down the leg. This muscle runs very close to your sciatic nerve and can aggravate it. It also has an important role in stabilising your lower back and pelvis and is often problematic with other injuries in this area. Responds very well to massage, stretches and acupuncture.


It is very common for pain to be referred from one structure in the body to another area. The main two ways this occurs are through nerve compression (sciatica) or trigger points in muscles. It is common to get pain referred from the lower back down the leg.


This is a very big joint that connects your spine to your pelvis. It is a very common cause of lower back pain and sciatic type symptoms. Must be treated well as they generally do not get better by themselves.


This involves the sciatic nerve being compromised and sending pain, numbness or pins and needles down the back of your leg. It is often aggravated by a disc bulge, a joint or muscle pinching the nerve. Physiotherapy treatment can be very beneficial in all cases.


The medical term for a curve in your spine. Can be helped by stretches, mobilisation and strengthening (Pilates).


Don’t worry; the disc does not slip out of place! The disc actually bulges out. This bulge varies dramatically in severity varying form a slight bulge with minimal pain to a large bulge that can give symptoms down the leg all the way to the toes. Symptoms including, pain, weakness, numbness and pins and needles. It is important to treat these quickly to stop the bulge getting stuck in that position.


In between your neck and your lower back is called the thoracic spine. Pain in this region is commonly due to stiffness affecting your posture which leads to pain, muscle spasm and sometimes referred pain to other parts of the body.


There are tight bits of muscles that can refer pain to other body parts. We treat these very successfully with massage, trigger point release, acupuncture and stretches.


See osteoarthritis.