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Lower Back Pain Treatment in Singapore

Nearly everyone will experience some form of back pain in their lifetime. While it can be frustrating and debilitating, it can be relieved with minimal care, that too within a few weeks.

One of the common back problems we have treated among our patients in Singapore includes lower back pain. The low back is the area behind the belly, from the rib cage to the pelvis. It is also called the lumbar region. Commonly the result of a strain injury, lower back pain usually resolves on its own. However, for chronic cases, it is advised to seek suitable treatment, like physiotherapy, to manage the pain.

Types Of Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain can be categorised as acute, subacute or chronic:

  • Acute pain: Lasts from a few days to 4 weeks
  • Subacute pain: Lasts between 4 to 12 weeks
  • Chronic pain: Lasts 12 weeks or longer

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 20% of people with acute back pain develop chronic back pain.

What Causes Lower Back Pain

There are multiple potential causes for lower back pain, such as

  • Sprains & strains: A sprain occurs when a person has overstretched or torn a ligament. Doing the same to a tendon or muscle results in a strain. Common causes of lower back pain, back sprains and strains can be due to overuse, sports injuries, twisting awkwardly, or lifting something too heavy or improperly.
  • Intervertebral disc degeneration: It occurs when the rubbery discs wear down as part of the normal ageing process and lose their cushioning ability.
  • Spondylosis: It refers to the general degeneration of the spine with age. It is associated with normal wear and tear in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine.
  • Arthritis: It refers to the inflammation of the joints in the spine, and can include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae.
  • Sciatica (also called radiculopathy): It is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve that travels through the buttocks and extends down the back of the leg. People with sciatica may feel shock-like or burning pain in the low back, combined with pain through the buttocks and in one leg.
  • Spinal stenosis: It refers to the narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
  • Spondylolisthesis: When spondylosis is left untreated, a vertebra of the lower spine can slip out of place, pinching the nerves exiting the spinal column.
  • Psychosocial factors: This includes depression and anxiety, or issues arising from a particular work or family environment.

What To Do If You Have Acute Lower Back Pain?

Acute lower back pain is usually treated with:

  • Medications: These are designed to relieve pain and/or inflammation, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen. You may also consider muscle relaxants, which are prescription drugs taken on a short-term basis to relax tight muscles.
  • Topical pain relief: These include creams, gels, patches, or sprays to stimulate the nerves in the skin, and provide warm and cooling sensations to relieve pain.
  • Heat and/or ice: This may help ease pain, reduce inflammation, and improve mobility.
  • Gentle stretching (not vigorous exercise): Done upon advice by your healthcare professional, such exercises help lengthen the back muscles to relieve pain.

What To Do If You Have Chronic Lower Back Pain?

The longer symptoms linger in the low back, the harder it becomes to treat. As a rule of thumb, you should stay active and avoid too much bed rest. However, if your pain develops further, you are advised to seek a physiotherapist for help in managing your lower back pain.

How Can We Help You?

There are many different treatment options to help relieve lower back pain symptoms. While severe pain can cause worry, it is not always an indication that something is wrong. Yet, it is important to seek help to understand your condition and find a remedy. Our physiotherapy specialists in Singapore will conduct a thorough assessment to provide the best treatment option for your lower back pain. These include:

  1. Manual therapy (hands-on mobilisation of the joints in your back): Precise hands-on techniques to relieve stiffness and improve movement of the joints and muscles in your spine.
  2. Movement exercises: Restore motion, re-correct your posture and decrease radiating or referred pain through exercises.
  3. Progressive strengthening exercises: Focused on establishing core stability and endurance.

While pain in your low back may reduce over time, you may not understand the underlying conditions causing the pain. It is thus important to be assessed by a physiotherapist before attempting to manage back pain on your own.

A detailed assessment noting the type of lower back pain, its causes, aggravating factors and relief methods will allow us to prescribe the right physiotherapy treatment option for you. Get in touch with our team in Singapore and prevent your pain from worsening! We also provide help for other musculoskeletal conditions such as hip and shoulder pain.