Acute low back pain: What to do before you see your Physio – by Luci Minogue

An episode of acute low back pain can come on at any time, without warning. It can be as simple as reaching forward to open the kitchen drawer and you suddenly experience intense pain in your lower back and possibly down your leg also.

We know that seeing a Physio as soon as possible is important to our patient’s recovery. Therefore, at InnerStrength of Bayside, we leave emergency appointments most days to allow for this. Treatment will be multifaceted and will consist of advise in ways to to minimise your pain, hands on treatment if indicated, stretching and strengthening exercises to do and possibly taping of your lower back.

Here are some things you can do whilst waiting for your physiotherapy appointment.

  1. Listen to your body – if a movement, position or activity increases your back pain or particularly your leg pain, avoid it. You may not be able to move around as easily as normal, but try to rest in positions or do movements which do not increase your symptoms, such as slow short episodes of walking, stretching your back into extension (standing and leaning backwards through your lower back or lying on your stomach and pushing up through your arms with your hips on the ground, or stretching into flexion (lying down and hugging your knees into your chest).
  2. Stay active and avoid complete rest – the old advice to rest in bed when you have back pain is now outdated and has been shown to lengthen your recovery time as you are likely to stiffen up and your muscles become weaker. There will be times that you need to rest, but otherwise try to do short walks or activities that either relieve or do not increase your symptoms.
  3. Heat – try lying down in the most comfortable position you can find, this could be lying on your back, stomach or on your side, putting a heat pack or hot water bottle over the area of pain for approximately 20 minutes. It should be a comfortable warmth, not too hot. Repeat this every 2 hours. If this does not help or increases your pain, you can try ice.
  4. Stay positive – up to 70% of people will experience low back pain at some stage of their lives. With appropriate treatment you are extremely likely to overcome this episode of pain and return to your normal activities and lifestyle. Our Physiotherapists will be able to advise you on ways to prevent this episode from happening again.

Please call us on 8555 4099 or BOOK ONLINE to make a Physiotherapy consultation.