The most common reason for visiting the general practitioner (GP) is a common cold and flu, however, this is closely followed by back pain! A GP is likely to prescribe pain medication for back pain and proceed to refer you to have a scan, either an X-ray, a CT or an MRI. These scans may reveal things such as a disc bulge, disc deterioration or other musculoskeletal changes. It is easy to assume that your back pain may be caused by the findings in your scan.
Research has shown that anatomical changes can cause significant pain, however, you can also have drastic anatomical changes which don’t cause any pain at all. Additionally, this research suggests that treatment, according to the results of the scan only (not including additional findings), may be detrimental. This is why physiotherapists question if scans are the best place to start when trying to find the source of your back pain.
How can we help?
When addressing back pain, it is better to treat the symptoms rather than the radiological findings. Physiotherapists at The Body Refinery often see scans that show both major disc abnormalities and pain. Our practitioners look deeper than just the anatomical changes even though they’re the quickest and most obvious to find. Because of this, it means the prescribed treatment plan would differ significantly from just treating the findings in the scan. This, therefore, will result in a higher chance of the treatment being successful.
The majority of low back pain complaints are caused by what is known as ‘mechanical lower back pain’. In fact, up to 80% of Australians will experience ‘mechanical lower back pain’ in their lifetime, and of that 10% will have a significant disability from it. The term mechanical means the source of the pain may be any of the musculoskeletal structures involved in the back. For example; the spinal joints, discs, vertebrae, or soft tissues.
Heading to your physiotherapist is likely to be the best place to start your treatment for low back pain. You’ll not only save on the cost of unnecessary scans, you’re also likely to become pain-free, faster!
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Book your initial appointment in our New Farm studio by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07 3358 3915.
Can’t make it to the studio? Start our 4-week Low Back Pain online program.