Despite a vast amount of research in the area, low back pain remains a huge issue worldwide. About 3.7 million Australians (16% of the total population) have back problems, based on self-reported data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2014–15 National Health Survey. This data excludes Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis of the spine. For this reason, the total prevalence of back problems is likely to be underestimated.
Back problems are more common among those aged 65–79, affecting 28% of men and 26% of women in this age group. The chronic and widespread nature of back problems often lead to poorer quality of life, psychological distress, bodily pain and disability which all contribute to fuelling the cycle of chronic low back pain.
At Pro Health Care we take a multi faceted approach to low back pain. Our treatment for low back pain includes pain education, conservative techniques such as massage, dry needling, Pilates, yoga and other manual therapy techniques. These terms are probably all familiar to anyone who has been suffering with their back for an extended period of time. These techniques will be used in conjunction with a well structured progressive exercise program.
We place a big emphasis on resistance training that is focused on the whole body and trunk.
Rather than the machine based strength training commonly used, our patients use squats, dead lifts and a large number of other free weight exercises to increase the strength of the whole of their posterior chain (back, gluteal and hamstring muscles) and change the biomechanics of how they move day to day. This was found to be more superior than other exercise based treatments in a 2016 study by Searle et al.
Our team of physiotherapists work closely with our exercise physiologists to ensure our patients have the best long term outcome. They are very rigorous with the techniques we teach to ensure that the patient fully understands the key areas they need to work on. Once we are happy with their technique, the emphasis is then placed on progressive overload or, in other words, increasing the amount of weight they lift. Patients will either train in our gym under the supervision of an exercise physiologist and a physiotherapist. Others will follow a programme in their own gym and come back periodically to check their technique. Both ways work well and we have had good success with some very long term and painful backs.