Back Pain

Back pain is very common – 85% of people will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.

In most cases low back pain can be treated with conservative (nonsurgical) methods. Problems can be avoided by knowing what causes the pain and what to do to prevent it.

Below is a short list of some of the most common injuries that we treat in our Nanaimo physiotherapy clinic:


Sciatica describes pain felt along the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back, down through the buttock, hamstrings and into the lower leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. The spinal sections it originates from include L4, L5 or S1.

Sciatica is commonly misdiagnosed, which can result is either slow or non-responsive treatment. Leg pain can have various sources. It can be a local leg injury or it may even be referred from your lower back. The main nerve that travels from your lower back to your leg is your sciatic nerve. Irritation or pinching of your sciatic nerve can cause severe leg pain known as sciatica.

Disc injuries

The discs in the lumbar spine are designed to transfer load. Occasionally with sustained bending or with trauma the disc may become damaged. This can cause back and sometimes leg pain (“sciatic pain”) and other nerve-related symptoms in the legs.

Ligament/facet joint sprains & muscle spasms

These injuries are often caused by heavy lifting, prolonged bending or sporting injuries. The joints in the lower back can be overstretched, and the muscles surrounding the spine can become tight and spasm to help protect your back.

Postural back pain

Poor posture is one of the most common causes of back pain. Sleeping position, poor workstation set-up, standing and sitting posture may all be contributing factors. Typically patients presenting with postural back pain need to address muscle imbalances and often work on core stability.

Degenerative changes

Back pain and stiffness may develop from ‘wear and tear’ to the spinal joints and discs. These degenerative changes are typically gradual in onset and may be aggravated by long periods of standing.

A thorough physiotherapy assessment of back pain will allow diagnosis and identify the underlying causes of the problem. Our highly experienced physiotherapists can tailor a treatment programme to meet your goals.

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