Lower Back Pain and Neck Pain
Lower Back Pain, a very common condition. Studies show that about 1 in every 5 Singaporeans1 suffers from back and neck pain, and you have some 80% chance of suffering from back and neck issues sometime during your lifetime.
Common causes of back and neck issues include:
- Straining the muscles or ligaments
- Pressure on the inter-vertebral discs
- Nerve compression or entrapment
- Damage to the vertebra (spine).
Back and neck pain Conditions
Back and neck issues may either occur suddenly or over time due to repetitive strain. The same survey found that about 1 in 10 Singaporeans suffer attacks of pain once a month or more frequently. In most cases, nothing abnormal shows up in tests such as X-rays and there is no permanent damage.
Acute low back or neck pain refers to pain felt in the lower back that lasts for a short time (i.e. less than three months). Both Back and neck issues considered chronic if it has been present for more than 3 months. Chronic back pain can be experienced from the neck to lower spine and it can either be localised or radiates into the leg (lower limbs) or arms (upper limbs).
Pain is a complex symptom that affects us both physically and mentally. Therefore, your response as individual as you are. (See “Multiple Pain Layers“)
Unfortunately, from a relative perspective, the 99% of lower back pain stems from benign musculoskeletal problems such as muscle or soft tissue sprains and strains. These cases are referred to as non specific low back pain.
- Apophyseal osteoarthritis
- Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis
- Degenerative discs
- Scheuermann’s kyphosis
- Spinal disc herniation (“slipped disc”)
- Thoracic or lumbar spinal stenosis
- Spondylolisthesis and other congenital abnormalities
- Leg length difference
- Restricted hip motion
- Misaligned pelvis – pelvic obliquity, anteversion or retroversion
- Abnormal Foot Pronation
- Poor ergonomics
- Poor posture
To conclude, there are various physiotherapy treatment options for Low Back and Neck Pain such as manual therapy or traction. But the most important first step is to correctly diagnose the exact cause of the pain with clinical reasoning and differential diagnosis*. See our physiotherapy for back pain for common types of spinal conditions.
- Feb 2000 survey conducted by Back Society of Singapore
* Differential Diagnosis process whereby a given condition or circumstance, called the presenting problem or chief complaint, examined in terms of underlying causal factors and concurrent phenomena as discerned by appropriate disciplinary perspectives and according to several theoretical paradigms or frames of reference, and compared to known categories of pathology or exceptionality.