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Lower Back Pain

What is it?
Lower back pain is one of the most common, if not the most common, injury and can affect as many as 80% of people at some point in their life. Lower back pain can account for as much as 56% of all sick days in certain occupations and can have a significant impact on a country’s economy. Lower back pain is a symptom that can arise from a host of causes, including intervertebral disc herniations, spinal conditions such as spondylosis, spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis, spondylitis, poor posture, extended periods of sitting, to name but a few. Patients with lower back pain have been observed to have altered movement patterns, and this could either be caused by, or the cause of, the lower back pain.

Symptoms:
Lower back pain is characterised by painful sensations in the lower area of the back, typically between the lowest rib and the pelvis. However, it can be experienced outside of this area. It can be experienced as a constant dull ache that can last for extended periods of time, or can be short sharp stabs of pain that only manifest during specific movements. Other symptoms can include muscle spasms, difficulty in standing up straight, walking or going from standing to sitting. Symptoms of sciatica are common in people suffering from lower back pain.

Common Causes:
Injuries, disc herniations or muscles strains due to bad posture or lifting technique, poor core control (reactive stability), muscle imbalances, prolonged periods of using bad posture.

How to treat it?
The quickest way to improve back pain is to identify the underlying cause, whether it is a muscular imbalance or a structural issue (bones, ligaments, etc.).
Exercise with the correct technique has proven to be an effective treatment for lower back pain, with manual therapies being equally good. Combining the two will lead to the best results.

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