This is the most common type of back pain. The pain usually comes from injury to the ligaments, joints and muscles in the back. This can happen anywhere along the spine but is most common on the base of the spine, resulting in lower back pain, stiffness and discomfort radiating into the buttocks or legs.
Symptoms: The pain normally presents itself as a sudden onset and patients will often describe a sudden sharp pain in their back when lifting or bending incorrectly, trauma or a fall. Symptoms can also present themselves gradually over time, usually from repetitive movements.
Treatment: Symptoms can improve by using manipulation, mobilisation and massage.
Prognosis: Most patients will make a full recovery between 1-5 weeks, depending on each individual case.
This is normally the main cause for chronic lower back pain and pain into the legs. Between two vertebrae is an intervertebral disc. These are made up of several fibrous rings encasing a fluid filled sac and provide movement and shock absorption to the spine. A large amount of stress gets put onto our spines everyday making it relatively easy to injure an intravertebral disc with injury normally occurring either from a sudden force or by repetitive movements. This can weaken the fibrous rings and allow the jelly-like liquid to leak out, which can then press on either the spinal cord or a nerve exiting the spine.
Symptoms: The type of pain can vary but is usually a sharp pain in the lower back and also pain, pins and needles or numbness into the leg (known as "sciatica"). Sleep is normally disturbed and sitting is extremely uncomfortable.
Treatment: Disc problems can be treated using traction, manipulation and mobilisation to the surrounding joints. Also dry needling and massage can help to relieve symptoms along with an exercise program, including stretches. Lifestyle advice will assist to avoid recurrence.
Prognosis: Herniated discs can be complicated as every case is individual. The average herniation takes 3 months to heal, some cases can improve more quickly and some can take longer. Recurrence depends on the severity of the initial injury and lifestyle.