Not long ago I woke up with a stiff neck.  It was painful to look up, so I was forced to look down to avoid pain.  In order to look people in the eye I had to bend backwards, hyperextending my low back.  I soon realized that if I continued this, my back would start hurting and the cause of it would have nothing to do with my back.  This is why it is important to perform a comprehensive evaluation in someone with low back pain to find and treat the cause of the symptoms rather than focusing solely on the symptoms alone.  Here are a few causes of low back pain that a Physical Therapist can assess:

Improper Technique

Whether it be lifting, running or cleaning the house, poor technique can cause unnecessary strain on the low back and other body parts.  The patient is often asked to simulate activities that cause back pain to allow the Physical Therapist to see the cause.  Improper technique is corrected to improve pain during the activity, as well as prevent further damage.

Muscle Imbalances

Muscles in the hips and abdominals are important for stabilizing the low back during activity.  Weakness in these muscles can lead to straining of the back muscles, causing pain.  Strengthening of the appropriate muscles can help to stabilize and protect the low back from injury.

Movement Restrictions

Muscle and joint tightness can lead to abnormal movements in daily activities.  This can lead to improper technique, which places us at a higher risk for injury.  Appropriate stretching or

Often people experience low back pain with the cause of the pain coming from a different body part.  A Physical Therapy examination will assess each body part as well as your movement to determine abnormalities that may be contributing to your back pain.  Then a personalized plan will be developed to address the cause of the pain, rather than focusing on treating only the back.  In my case, improving my neck mobility would allow me to stand up straight, and decrease my back pain.  If you are experiencing low back pain or have any questions, please feel free to reach out and we will be happy to assist you.