Hands-On Treatments For Lower Back Pain
Posted By: Andy Barker
It’s one job assessing a patient with lower back pain to work out was their problem is…
But an even harder task getting rid of their pain and keeping it away once they leave the clinic room.
Hands-on treatment techniques can be very effective at improving patient symptoms.
You might use massage, dry needling, instrument assisted techniques or something else.
They can all be great ways to improve lower back range of movement and reduce pain, enabling your patient to do some meaningful rehab.
But problem is many of these techniques only work for a short period of time.
You’ve seen this for yourself I’m sure.
You do some massage to your patients lower back, they jump up and feel great…
But their symptoms come back a day or so later…
Sometimes even after a few hours.
So you do the same thing in the next session and even the session after…
But symptoms come back as quickly as they went away.
Patients will only come back for so long, until they get frustrated that their symptoms keep coming back and they feel like they are not making progress..
I had exactly this issue as a new grad.
The harder I tried to fix lower back pain the more frustrated I became…
Mainly because I could not work out what I was doing wrong.
It was the same old story…
I’d spend my sessions massaging my patients lower backs and they’d jump off the bed feeling great!
But as quickly as they jumped from my bed, they were back on it.
My patients would message me the next day telling me their symptoms had come back.
Sometimes it wasn’t even the next day.
Straight from Uni I was working in pro sport at the Leeds Rhinos and the players would be straight back in my room after their gym or field training session…
Having only been on the bed an hour or so earlier!
I knew something had to change but I just know that doing the same thing clearly wasn’t working.
One thing I learnt quite quickly was that I was better off spending my time working on my patients hips rather than their lower backs.
Let me explain.
The hip is the joint below the lower back.
The ability of the hips to move, or not move, will affect the amount of work the lower back has to do.
Take this example…
You assess a patient that has a flexion based problem.
Your patients pain gets worse when they bend forward, like when putting their socks or shoes on, or when picking something up from the floor.
You see this type of patient all the time, right?
Think about what needs to happen at the hip for this movement to take place.
Clearly to bend forward the lower back needs to flex.
But so does the hip.
If your patient lacks hip flexion, this will mean that the body will have to find range of movement from somewhere else when bending forwards.
We know that the body will commonly find this range at the joint closest to the affected joint…
In the hips case, this is the lower back.
So what happens is that the lower back will take up the slack and will do the job for both itself (the lower back) and the hip.
It is no surprise then that the lower back becomes over worked and unhappy with all the extra load, and in turn starts to become painful.
You can clearly see how this is a big problem for you…
Because if you only treat the lower back and not the hips, then your patient will never get better.
As great as your soft tissue skills might be, the issue here is at the hips…
And unless you identify and fix this, your patient will struggle to progress.
Working this out was a massive game-changer for me all those years ago.
So always be sure to test the hips with any patient you assess with lower back pain.
Find this helpful?
Learn loads more about lower back pain and how to get patients out of pain (and keep them out of pain) in my upcoming FREE training webinar…
How To Make Sense of Lower Back Pain So You Are Safe & Feel Confident Even With More Complex Cases [ https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3pVE8MniShmeQlk2XzJj2w ]
It’s happening on Wednesday 23rd February 2022 at 7 PM (UK Time).
Book your FREE place here.
The New Grad Physio Mentor
P.S. Here what you will learn on the webinar…
- The #1 Red Flag Question You Need To Ask To Rule Out Serious Lower Back Pathology So You Feel Safe & Confident Your Patient Does NOT Need A Quick Onward Referral
- How To Easily Differentially Diagnose Lower Back Pain Patients & Without Having To Complete #101 Special Tests!
- Why You Need To Rule Out The Hip (& Rib-Cage) With EVERY Lower Back Pain Patient Or Risk Treating The Wrong Thing & Your Patient Not Improving
- Why Most Lower Back Exercises (And Treatments) Do NOT Work & What You Need To Do Differently If You Actually Want To See Your Patient Progress & Not Flare Them Up
PPS. You must be registered to watch the webinar and only the first 500 therapists that sign up can watch this for FREE.
So do not wait around and secure your seat right now!