During our lifetime many people will experience an episode of low back pain.
In Australia, approximately 25% of people suffer from low back pain, of which only half seek care. In some cases, the pain will eventually resolve, and the individual is able to return to normal activity.
In certain circumstances however, acute low back pain may persist causing significant pain and loss of mobility.
In these situations, appropriate treatment is necessary to alleviate pain and restore movement for a return to normal pain free activity.
Acute Mechanical Low Back Pain
The term acute simply refers to pain that has started relatively recently .
The overwhelming majority of back pain is mechanical in nature. This means that the source of pain arises from the various structures found in our lower back, such as spinal joints, discs, vertebrae, ligaments or muscles
What Causes Back Pain?
- Overuse or disuse
- Poor posture
What Is Mobilisation?
Mobilisation is a safe and effect manual treatment technique that helps to reduce pain and stiffness in our spinal joints.
Mobilisation involves the application of a smooth, controlled and varied level of force, applied to spinal joints in a specific direction.
The level or grade of the force applied is dependent on whether pain or stiffness is the main area of concern regarding the affected joint.
Generally, low forces are used to alleviate pain, whereas slightly higher forces are used to relieve joint stiffness
Photo Credit – Integrity Physio
How Does Mobilisation Work?
Normally our spine moves freely in various directions allowing us to bend, extend and twist while performing functional activity.
However, our joints may become dysfunctional due to trauma, overuse or poor posture.
When this happens, our muscles may go into spasm and our joints can stiffen or lock up, producing pain while preventing normal movement.
Mobilisation is a manual technique where the physiotherapist applies a small and graduated force in order to facilitate muscle relaxation and allow the various joints to glide in the directions that they’re supposed to, thus freeing up our spine in the process.
The technique is usually applied to the affected joint as well as the joints above and below the affected level. Multiple levels are usually treated because any stiffness or pain at a specific level has an effect on adjacent joints.
Over time, the graduated pressure applied over a joint, has two main effects. Firstly, it relaxes any muscle spasm associated with muscles around the joint and secondly, it facilitates the natural gliding motion of our joints that contributes to normal movement about our spine.
This results in the relaxation of tight muscles and decreases joint stiffness in our spinal joints. The overall effect is a decrease in pain and improved flexibility in our lower back, allowing for a gradual return to everyday activity.
Mobilisation is an extremely valuable technique that may be used alone or in conjunction with other physiotherapy interventions.