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There and Back Again: A Physio’s Tale

LOW-BACK-PAINWhether it’s your first episode of low back pain, or re-occurring back pain, there are lots of questions you will ask yourself. “What caused my back pain?” “Is it going to get better?” “Who will make this pain better?” “Can I play rugby at the weekend?” as well as many more questions.

There are lots of causes of low back pain and the exercises that worked for Dave from next door might not be the best choice of exercise for you. That is why it is crucial you get advice about your injury and how you should manage it as soon as possible. Different people will require different types of treatment also and this is where physiotherapists are like no other health care professional. You may require manual therapy, acupuncture, Pilates exercises, strength training, massage, or a combination of all of the above. We, as physiotherapists, will work with you to identify the most appropriate treatment for you.

In my experience from working in England’s National Health Service (NHS) and in private practice here, as well with rugby teams, early intervention is crucial and can dramatically reduce the number of days you will be in pain. In the NHS, to be seen by a physiotherapist, you have to go to see your GP, who then refers you to the physiotherapy department. Your referral then sits on a waiting list for 4-6 weeks, while all the time you are in pain and developing secondary issues and pains associated with your injury.

In New Zealand, physiotherapists are primary providers, therefore can assess, diagnose and code your injury for ACC purposes. Certain private insurers sometimes do require you to see a GP before authorising physio treatment but more often than not you can walk into your local physiotherapist and lodge your injury claim on the spot.  This user friendly focus makes it a whole lot easier for you to seek professional advice as early as possible.

Why suffer for longer than you have to? Generally, the sooner you get your back moving in the way it likes, as well as receiving information on how to manage your pain and how to avoid those annoying aggravating factors, the better. That is where physiotherapists use their excellent clinical reasoning skills to identify the cause of your pain and then set in place a plan to get you back to playing rugby, lifting your kids up, riding your bike, or whatever it is that you enjoy doing.

So if you’re in pain make an appointment today and lets get you Back In Action.

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