Back Pain Treatment

Physiotherapy Treatment for Back Pain

Physiotherapy: Is physiotherapy treatment indicated?

Unless a patient has previously seen a physiotherapist, they are unlikely to understand or know what they do. As with any job, there are many styles of physiotherapy and many different individuals that work under the same job title, for that reason no two therapists are the same. However the treatment generally remains the same throughout the profession for a wide range of conditions.

Physiotherapy Assessment

A physiotherapist can assess whether physiotherapy treatment is indicated and if referral is needed for further investigation. This may include X-Rays, co-management with a chiropractor or other health professional.

The Patient History

An assessment includes patient history and note taking relating to the past and current difficulties posed by the presenting condition. This also includes information about the aggravating and relieving factors for example, what makes it worse and what seems to help relieve it. The history taking is an invaluable source of information which physiotherapists use to help formulate a working differential diagnosis. Past and present injuries like fractures, dislocations, loss of consciousness and past and present illness may bear some reflection on the presenting condition in one way or another. It’s also important to know whether or not the condition has been treated before and if so, the style and type of therapy provided.

Physiotherapy Management for Muscle and Joint Pain

Physiotherapists use manual therapy techniques, therapeutic modalities, rehab exercises and modified clinical Pilates amongst other things in management of individual presenting conditions.

Physiotherapy Treatment for Back Pain

Physiotherapists will initially focus their treatment for acute back pain on reducing inflammation around the structures and tissues that may be damaged by trauma or degeneration. An example of this style of physiotherapy for back pain may be when there’s a disc protrusion and / or sciatica causing nerve inflammation, sensory disturbance. Physiotherapists knowledge about acute management of inflammation helps speed the recovery process when directed early on in many cases. Physiotherapists know that the effects on physical function tend to match the inflammatory process and they employ techniques geared towards reducing it. Physiotherapists then use other methods of mobilization to help restore some movement back into the joints of the spine.

Immobilisation / Splinting / Bracing / Supports

The RICER/s principle: Rest, ice, elevation, compression and referral are all important aspects of RICER in First Aid in Australia: In the case of back pain, different scenarios determine whether immediate treatment and / or immobilisation are indicated. In many cases physiotherapists may determine it is best practice to protect the damaged area while recovering during the weak vulnerable stages of re-injury. By using an aid to protection from further damage the recovery and rehab exercises prescribed can be carried out with more confidence. Lower back braces, sacro-lumbar belts, protective abdominal belts and other protective aids to back pain may be indicated for individual cases of back pain.

Physiotherapy and Other Modalities?

Therapeutic Ultrasound, TENS, interferential and EMS may be used as part of therapy for management plans, however in recent times physiotherapists have placed less importance on these modalities as part of their treatment programs. For example, low level laser therapy combined with exercise has been shown to be more beneficial than exercise alone in the long term treatment for chronic low back pain.

Physiotherapy and Core Stability, Back Strengthening Exercises

Physiotherapists are expert rehabilitation specialists and come into their own in this area of therapy. Physiotherapists will design, implement, co-manage and update specific rehabilitation exercises to strengthen core back and abdominal muscles to help with rehab for back problems.

What’s the differences between a physiotherapist and chiropractor for back pain treatment?

A physiotherapist and chiropractor both use different criteria to assess whether a patient is a candidate for their care. They also use different treatment modalities, different treatment methods and different outcome measures as a result of these differences. However as we will see the professions are moving closer in co-management in treatment for a wide range of conditions. Alternative medicine has moved forward so significantly that now the modern patient may not be asking who should I go to, but instead they may be asking, why shouldn’t I go to both physio and chiro?

Back Pain and Manual Therapy Techniques Used by Chiropractors and Physiotherapists

Physiotherapists are not normally fully competent in manual adjustment techniques when they graduate from their 4 year undergraduate degrees from University in Perth, West Australia. As such their contraindications to carry out treatment for back pain are less limited than chiropractors as they do not adjust the spine. Physiotherapists do not normally use manual spinal adjustment techniques as a part of their back pain treatment, instead they use mobilizations like PAVMS and other therapeutic modalities. Mobilisation techniques for back pain are extremely important, useful and are often used iwith physiotherapy treatment. Mobilisations used by physiotherapists may be no less important than chiropractic adjustments to joint restrictions for mechanical joint pain and they could also help reduce back pain.

Suggestions for your next step in back pain relief:

Establish which treatment is best for your back pain or combine both chiropractic and physiotherapy. Physiotherapists and chiropractors may work together in managing your condition. A physio may provide therapy prior to a chiropractic treatment or vice-versa. There are many occasions where co-management of back pain may be of benefit in relieving symptoms with physiotherapy techniques and chiropractor adjustment techniques on a case by case basis. So rather than just choosing one form of therapy over the other, it might be worth looking for a multi-disciplinary Perth clinic that provides both chiropractic and physiotherapy. Wembley Physiotherapy Clinic can co-manage your back pain, sports injury or other muscle and joint condition when indicated with other clinics and health professionals including Perth Sports Injury Clinic.

Wembley Physiotherapy Clinic Rehab Facilities

Our Perth physiotherapy clinic provides rehab facilities for physiotherapists to show our patients their exercises. With any rehab program, compliance is essential and should not be overlooked as strengthening your core and stretching tight muscles effectively can help relieve back pain over time. At Wembley physiotherapy Clinic our physiotherapists don’t just treat the signs and symptoms of back pain – they relate your condition back to you, help educate you with understandable language and give you means to help prevent it happening again. Take a closer look at our website, enquire over the phone, and make an appointment, we’re here to help. Wembley Physiotherapy Clinic (08) 9383 7883