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Lumbago: Lower Back Pain

2020/09/02 Home Education and advice

Lumbago: Lower Back Pain

What is Lumbago (Lower Back Pain) ?

At some point during their lifetime, 4 out of 5 people will suffer from lower back pain. Lower back pain is defined as pain in the lumbar area of the back. An injury or issue that affects the muscles, ligaments, or the intervertebral discs may be the cause. Some people are more at risk to develop this pain than others. These are typically people who often sit and have a bad posture, are overweight or who perform demanding physical tasks. 

What are symptoms of Lower Back Pain? 

Lower back pain may be acute or chronic. It is the duration and the symptoms that distinguish them.

Acute Lower Back Pain – less than 6 weeks

Acute lower back pain typically lasts less than 6 weeks and is sometimes called lumbago. The symptoms that generally accompany this type of pain are the following:

  • Very sharp and dull pain sometimes more intense in a specific region
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Inability to stand straight (back bent)
  • Significant reduction in activities
  • Difficulties in carrying out daily activities
  • Pain-related sleep disturbance
  • Fatigue

Chronic Back Pain – more than 3 months

Chronic back pain typically lasts more than 3 months. The principal symptoms are:

  • Deep, dull pain like a burn in the lumbar region
  • Intense pain when the person stays in one position for a long time
  • Stabbing pain when the person is lifting something
  • Fatigue and malaise
  • Difficulties in moving
  • Depression related to limitations caused by the duration of chronic pain and its consistency

What are the possible causes for Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain is generally caused by several factors including:

  • The level of physical activity (lack of or too intense exercise)
  • The type of job and the tasks performed
  • Posture at work
  • Working seated for long periods of time
  • Lifting loads with a bad posture
  • Overweight

Lower back pain may also be caused by certain illnesses: kidney infections, ulcers, appendicitis, tumors, pneumonia and vertebral deformities (scoliosis, etc.).

Why consult a health professional to help heal or prevent lower back pain? 

Physiotherapy & Lower Back Pain

When back pain is already present, a physiotherapist can help provide relief.

The Physiotherapist will:

  • Determine the cause(s) of the problem
  • Offer corrections to the posture and/or daily activities
  • Recommend exercises to reduce the pain and help with healing

Occupational Therapy & Lower Back Pain

Whether your back pain comes and goes or is regular, an occupational therapist can help prevent the pain from reappearing. They can also support you with the resumption of your daily activities.

The Occupational Therapist will:

  • Adjust your workstation to help minimize the risk of injury
  • Offer advice on proper posture

The physiotherapist and occupational therapist can help you reduce the pain and its risk of recurrence and allow you to resume your everyday activities.

Lower Back Treatment Session: What to expect

At the beginning of your appointment, the therapist will conduct a physical evaluation in order to get a better understanding of your condition. Questions will be asked to determine:

  • The history of onset of pain
  • Your current state
  • Your symptoms and their location: the therapist will ask you to show them the painful area
  • Any injuries and your medical history
  • Any medication you are taking, if applicable
  • Your current and past sports activities
  • Your functional abilities
  • Your goals

Once the evaluation is completed, the therapist will conduct an analysis. They will analyze your posture from different angles. They may also evaluate the ergonomics of your workstation.

The following step will include a physical examination to determine the mobility and flexibility of the back, neck, pelvis, and legs depending on the area in pain. This will also be an occasion to verify if certain movements reduce the pain. 

This evaluation will help guide the creation of a personalized exercise program for the patient. 

Workstation Evaluation

An occupational therapist’s services may help reduce the risk of injuries related to bad posture. The evaluation of the workstation by a professional will ensure proper adjustments are made.


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