Acute Low Back Pain

Acute Low Back Pain
It is a common belief that the majority of patients suffering acute (or recent) low back pain will  recover fully within 4–6 weeks with or without.treatment. Australian Researchers at the George Institute for International Health have shown that this prognosis is not as favourable as claimed. Therapeutic treatment has been proven to speed up recovery. However the prognosis for these types of patients especially compensation patients is that the recovery time is longerthan previously thought. This indicates that Low Back Pain is a significant, often long term, health problem. Indeed,only headache is higher in the complaints department for neurological conditions.
Typically, medication,rest and other modalities are given to assist in acute pain. It is essential that these clients are referred without delay to the appropriate health provider for optimum recovery and to prevent chronicity of the problem. Exercise has shown to effectively speed up recovery from acute low back pain by regaining range of movement and strengthening the back and abdominal muscles.
The research shows that specific muscles such as multifidus do not automatically fully recover after an episode of acute low back pain. This perhaps is one explanation for the slow recovery some people may experience after suffering acute back pain that have not seen a physiotherapist for treatment. Exercise for acute back pain sufferers must be specifically tailored to the individual patient taking into account their diagnosis and clinical presentation. Exercise needs to be prescribed by a qualified professional who has assessed the back fully and not be in the form of a generalised exercise handout given to all acute back pain patients. Generalised exercise programs can significantly exacerbate these acute patients. Physio In Practice Contact details
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapists are highly skilled in assessing, diagnosing and managing the treatment of acute low back pain patients. There is indication that even a small number of physiotherapy sessions of education, management advice, exercise prescription and treatment are enough to show significant pain reduction for the acute patient.
Treatment can include and is not limited to:
• joint mobilisation
• soft tissue mobilisation
• taping
• exercise (including stretches and core strengthening)
• acupuncture or dry needling
• traction
• electrical modalities.
Physiotherapists are trained to provide exercise in a controlled,
gradual and progressive manner catering for specificity.
Exercise may be prescribed in a variety of ways including:
• home exercise program with individualised progression
where appropriate
• hydrotherapy
• individual or small group training.
Physiotherapists are able to assist in speedy recovery of the acute patient who is preferably referred earlier rather than later for treatment.
Physio In Practice Sources
Rebbeck T, Green T, APA Low Back Pain Position Statement Executive Summary. Ullrich PF, Exercise and Back Pain (2009), www.spine-health.com. Martin BI, Deyo RA, Mirza SK, Turner JA, Comstock BA,
Hollingworth W, et al. “Expenditures and health status among adults with back and neck problems”, JAMA 2008 Feb 13:299(6): 656-64. Low Back Pain Fact Sheet (2003), NIINDS Pub No. 03-5161.
Hides JA, Richardson DA, Jull GA (1996), “Multifidus Muscle Recovery is not automatic after resolution of acute, first episode: low back pain”, Spine, Volume 21(23), December 1, 1996.2763-2769.
George Institute (2008, July 10). “Low Back Pain Recovery Slow”, and “Worse For Those On Compensation”, ScienceDaily.