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Low Back Pain: Causes, Costs, and Effective Treatments

Lower back pain physio assessment

Low Back Pain: The Cost and Lessons Learned

Low back pain is the most costly musculoskeletal condition in the western world today. It affects more than 80% of the population at some point and costs the community over $50 billion per year in the US alone. Despite this financial burden, the greater costs are to the activity levels and general health of affected individuals and their families.

At Saunders Physiotherapy, many clients visit our Adelaide clinic seeking relief from long-standing back pain. Their low back pain either persists or recurs frequently, causing pain and limiting their ability to live fully. They seek a comprehensive approach to their care to improve outcomes.

Often, these patients have previously sought assistance but failed to find a long-term solution. Advice might have ranged from “rest” to trying various exercises or being told the pain is psychological. Some are informed they have degenerative spine issues and should avoid bending or flexing their spine.

These messages can be misleading and often inaccurate. Specific forms of back pain respond better to certain exercises, and graded exposure to exercise is crucial for long-term resolution. Misguided advice can lead to inappropriate activities, contributing to ongoing pain and preventing effective reconditioning of the spine. Cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health may decline as fitness, strength, and balance deteriorate.

Fighting Back from Low Back Pain

At Saunders Physiotherapy, we aim to provide an accurate diagnosis and prescribe appropriate treatment strategies, supported by education and an effective exercise program tailored to your low back pain and individual needs.

Physiotherapist assessing a patient with low back pain.

“Our therapists are trained in the assessment and management of low back pain and well-versed in related research that guides best practice care. When these strategies are employed appropriately, spinal muscle deficits associated with pain improve significantly, reducing the likelihood of ongoing low back pain by 70%. Patients can trust their back and engage in activities they need or want to undertake. We aim to rehabilitate our patients so they can literally ‘get their life back’.”

Dr. Saunders highlighting the skills and services offered at Saunders Physiotherapy in Adelaide
Patient performing an exercise under physiotherapist supervision.

David (name changed) exemplifies this approach. A 37-year-old with a long history of low back pain, he experienced acute pain episodes that limited his activities. David had learned to avoid activities that triggered his pain, without a clear strategy for resolution.

Following an initial examination, it was clear David’s pain episodes were likely triggered by poor neuromuscular control. David’s treatment included specific hip and trunk exercises, manual therapy, dry needling, and mobilisation tailored to his needs.

Physiotherapist performing manual therapy on a patient.

David had previously attempted various exercises, only to find they exacerbated his pain. However, with a personalised exercise program, David experienced both short-term relief and long-term resolution. He progressed from home-based exercises to higher-level exercises at the gym, ultimately returning to running and golf.

Patient playing golf after physiotherapy treatment.

If you have ongoing low back pain or wish to prevent its onset, contact the team at Saunders Physiotherapy for an initial consultation. A detailed review of your history and risk factors for injury will be undertaken.

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