The low back (lumbar spine) is a complex structure consisting of a series of joints, discs, ligaments and nerves. Pain may be caused by any of these structures as well a muscle strain.
Pain and swelling in the small joints (facets) can be caused by wear and tear (osteo-arthritis) or trauma (sprain or traumatic arthritis). A disc may cause symptoms related to degeneration, herniation, annular tear or bulge.
The nerves can cause pain to radiate down the leg if they are irritated by a narrowing of the canal as they exit the spine (foraminal stenosis) or as they course down the body (central stenosis). This narrowing can be temporary if it is caused by inflammation or a disc protrusion or long-term if the cause is bone over-growth from degeneration.
Although muscle spasms can cause pain in the back, the most common muscle problem is a lack of support caused by weakness or poor coordination. Understanding your patterns of weakness and re-establishing muscle support in conjunction with the restoration of good posture is integral to the long term health of your spine.
At The Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic your therapist will partner with you to determine the best course of treatment for your injury. When you are having symptoms the most important first step is to understand what you have. Your therapist will provide a thorough assessment to determine whether your symptoms are caused by the joint, disc, ligament, muscle or nerve.
Once the injury is diagnosed the next step is to determine where you are in the recovery sequence. Treatment is predominately determined by your stage of healing as more acute injuries usually require a plan to reduce pain and inflammation. As you continue to heal the focus of your therapy shifts to the restoration of flexibility, rebuilding strength and re-establishing normal movement patterns. The final stage is to determine a strategy to help you return to full activity, sport and long-term prevention.
Our therapists have extensive experience in the care of both acute and chronic back conditions including disc herniation, disc bulge and degenerative spine conditions. We work with clients after disc, stenosis or fusion surgeries. We provide both operative and non-operative therapy for adult and adolescent conditions.
We also have experience in working with clients with less typical spinal problems such as spinal fractures, syringomyelia, spina bifida, spinal tumors and spinal cord myelacia.