Lower back pain is one of the main reasons for disability worldwide, potentially restricting activities of daily living and often leading to a decrease in productivity. 

Such limitations affect the working environment, as well as leisure activities. This kind of pain generally occurs more frequently in the older population. Lower back pain can be described as pain between the lower part of the rib and the upper part of the pelvis.

Interestingly enough, such pain can also be associated with incorrect breathing techniques. The diaphragm muscle forms a critical part of this system as it connects to the lumbar spine (lower back) and forms part of the supporting muscles of the back.

What are the symptoms of lower back pain?

Symptoms can vary – sharp or dull ache, muscle tightness or even referred pain. It is important to note that the level of pain experienced is not a measure of the amount of tissue damage.  In addition, the imbalance of muscles can, over time, lead to a decrease in function of the muscles supporting your back.

There is a strong belief that being inactive and assuming prolonged stationary positions is not the right remedy for lower back pain. Increasing your activity level can help resolve your back pain more quickly and even reduce disability. However, whilst experiencing pain people become scared to move and symptoms can worsen. Gaining more knowledge about the cause of back pain and the structures involved can aid in the treatment.

Physiotherapy and the treatment of lower back pain

Physiotherapy and exercise play a big role in speeding up the recovery of lower back pain. Your physiotherapist will do a full evaluation to determine the structures that may be weak or stiff. Treatment includes passive therapy which is aimed at loosening stiff joints and the muscles involved. Active treatment is aimed at improving the strength and flexibility of muscles surrounding the back. A consistent exercise regime may reduce the severity of future lower back pain.

Do remember that the correct breathing pattern is very important in reducing and preventing lower back pain.  While experiencing back pain, the diaphragm tends to work ineffectively, thus reducing the volume of air (and healing oxygen) inhaled. Speak to your physiotherapist about helping you to breathe correctly in combination with back stability exercises.

You can contact any branch of Lamberti Physiotherapy to find a professional and helpful physiotherapist who is able to provide a thorough diagnosis and treatment.

References:

  1. Recommendations for physiotherapists on the therapy of lumbopelvic pain during pregnancy. A systematic review. Esther Van Beten , Jan Pool ,Jan Mens, Annelies Pool Goudswaard. Journal of orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy. July 2014
  2. Lower Back Pain, Health and Fitness Journal, March/April 2015 Vol 17, Issue 2. Roy, Brad A. (PH.D.) Fascm Fache Vanlchkachon, Greg (MD.D).
  3. The presence of respiratory disorders in individuals with low back pain: A Systematic Review. Nele Beeckmans, Astrid Vermeersch, Roeland Lysens, Peter Van Wambeke, Nina Gosens, Tinne Thys, Simon Brumagne, Lotte Janssens. Elsevier 2016.
  4. Breathing patterns in patients with low back pain,Priyanka P. Ostwal , WaniS International Journal of Physiotherapy and Research, Int J Physiotherapy Resp2014, Vol 2(1):347-53. ISSN 2321-1822.