Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain Belfast

Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints we see in the clinic and it can affect anyone at any age. 

It can occur as the result of a particular incident or for no obvious reason. 

There are many structures that can cause lower back symptoms:

  • Lumbar disc
  • Facet joints
  • Ligaments 
  • Muscles
  • Nerves

Physio Performance will identify what is causing your symptoms and how best to fix them.  

We will discuss what could be causing your lower back pain and how to fix it. 

Lumbar Discs

The discs are situated between each vertebrae and they act to cushion the lumbar joints and provide stability.  

They can cause lower back pain for a variety of reasons.  

The discs can bulge or protrude.  This is sometimes referred to as a ‘slipped disc’, but in reality the disc is being squeezed outwards, like pressing down on a balloon.  

The bulge can sometimes press on the nerves in the lower back, causing sciatica down the leg. 

Rarely, the disc will rupture, causing inflammation and pain in lower back.  

The lumbar discs degenerate as we age, which is a normal process.  However, this can lead to pressure on the vertebral joints.  

The signs and symptoms of disc problems include:

  • Sudden onset of pain, but not always
  • Lower back pain in the mornings
  • Pain on bending forwards or sitting for long periods
  • Pain, pins and needles, and numbness radiating down the leg and into the toes

The good news is that disc bulges can return to their normal shape. 

Physiotherapy treatment involves restoring normal movement, strengthening the muscles that surround the spine, and advice on posture and activity. 

If symptoms persist then a spinal injection may be required.  

A small portion of people require surgery to shave the protruding disc but this is only offered in extreme cases if all else fails.

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Facet Joints

The facet joints are situated either side of the spine.

They are extensions of the vertebrae and provide stability to the spine when you bend forwards and backwards and rotate side to side.

The most common pathology in these joints is degeneration.  

As the pressure on the joints increases, they begin to grow small edges of bone, known as osteophytes.  

This is a normal process as we grow older, but sometimes the osteophyte can press on the nerve, causing sciatica.

Treatment is similar to that for disc problems i.e. flexibility and strengthening exercises, advice and postural correction.   

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Sciatica

Sciatica means leg symptoms that come from your lower back.

This can be pain, pins and needles and/or numbness.   

The nerves of the lumbar spine supply different areas of skin in your legs.  

These symptoms could be in the groin area or they could radiate as far as the toes.  

The nerves of the lower back also supply the bowel and bladder.  

If you are having issues with your bowel and bladder that are associated

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