Back pain is common affecting over 80% of Canadians at some point. Pain can be mild, severe or debilitating. Fortunately, most back pain gets better within a few days or weeks.  A small percentage of people end-up with persistent back pain lasting longer than three months. Symptoms include pain in the back itself or pain that spreads to the buttock or leg. It can also cause tingling or burning in the leg or foot. Activities like bending, sitting and lifting are often painful and restricted. 

Causes of back pain

Back pain doesn't necessarily mean there's a serious problem. Most back pain results from injury or inflammation of the muscles, ligaments, discs, or small joints of the spine. Usually there isn’t just one cause but many contributing factors, including:

  • Working in awkward or bent postures
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Improper or heavy lifting
  • Weak back and core muscles
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Being overweight 

How physiotherapists help

Physiotherapists are highly skilled at examining and treating people with back pain. Research consistently shows the best way to recover is to get active. Resting can delay improvement by increasing muscle stiffness and pain. Your physiotherapist will determine the best way to get you moving and on the road to recovery.  

Your physiotherapist will:

  • Assess your condition, ask questions, watch you move and bend, and examine your back
  • Screen out serious causes of back pain requiring medical follow-up
  • Develop a customized treatment plan for your problem
  • Provide specific treatment (e.g., manual therapy, modalities, acupuncture, heat, cold) to reduce pain, restore mobility and strengthen your core
  • Teach you how to manage your pain and prevent (or minimize) a reoccurrence

Find a physiotherapist who treats back pain and injury near you.