Physiotherapy For Lower Back Pain and Sciatica

Low back pain can vary from an occasional dull ache to severe shooting pains with back spasms. Low back pain can be associated with leg pain otherwise known as sciatica. There may also be pins and needles and numbness in the leg, and occasionally weakness of the leg muscles may develop.

Our physiotherapists are experienced in assessing, diagnosing and treating low back and sciatica including identifying the underlying cause of your condition.

Whether it’s a simple low back ache due to our sedentary lifestyle, low back pain from excessive gardening or exercise, or severe pain with associated leg symptoms, by diagnosing your problem we can make sure you get the right treatment to reduce your symptoms and get you back to normal activities as soon as possible.

Treatment starts with an initial consultation and assessment of your problem. From there we can recommend appropriate physiotherapy treatment to reduce your symptoms to get you back to your activities again.

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Call Gatley on 0161 491 1999 or the Heatons on 0161 432 3232

Our Experienced Physiotherapists Regularly Treat Patients with Lower Back Pain at our Clinics in Gatley, Cheadle, Heaton Moor, Stockport and Didsbury

In the majority of cases physiotherapy treatment is the most effective way of treating back pain and sciatica. It will include a combination of soft tissue massage, joint mobilisations, postural advice and lifestyle alterations reducing pain and stiffness and getting you back to normal function as soon as possible.

Lower Back Pain Diagnosis

During your first session with a physiotherapist, following a detailed assessment,  we will identify the exact location of your back pain and identify the underlying factors that may have contributed to it.

The aim of our initial assessment is to establish a precise diagnosis so you know what is wrong with your body and what we can do to help you. 

physiotherapy for lower back and sciatica

What are the common causes of lower back pain?

Here are some of the common causes of lower back problems.

Mechanical low back pain 

Most cases of low back pain are known as “non-specific” (there’s no obvious cause) or “mechanical” (the pain originates from the joints, bones or soft tissues in and around the spine). These are often caused by an injury, for example lifting or activities such as gardening.

Disc prolapse

Disc prolapses, otherwise known as slipped discs or bulging discs, is a common source of low back pain. As well as causing back pain, a disc bulge can press on a nerve causing leg pain (sciatica), numbness, tingling or weakness in the leg. 

Often misdiagnosed, physiotherapists are experienced and trained to diagnose your back pain/sciatica and from the relevant findings following the detailed assessment, will form a treatment plan for you.

Lumbar spondylosis

Lumbar spondylosis relates to age-related changes in the low back area. It can include changes in the discs (reduction in height), and the joints (known as the facet joints). Physiotherapy treatment is very effective for low back pain caused by wear and tear. Your treatment will involve hands on treatment, the exact treatment depending on the findings of the assessment.

Lumbar stenosis

Closely related to the natural age-related changes in our spine (spondylosis), stenosis causes low back pain and / or sciatica when standing or walking, and is eased when sitting. As well as hands on treatment, your physiotherapist will provide strategies and exercises to help you manage your condition.

Facet Joint Arthropathy 

The joints in our low back are called ‘facet joints.’ Just as our knee joint is prone to ‘wear and tear’ so are the facet joints. Back stiffness and pain is often present on moving after sitting or inactivity.  Physiotherapy treatment will include hands on treatment. In addition, your physiotherapist will provide strategies and exercises to help you manage your condition. 

Spondylolisthesis 

Spondylolisthesis causes one vertebra to slip forwards of the other.

It is caused by several factors including,

  • repetitive trauma to the spine, such as cricket or gymnastics,
  • a sudden injury or trauma to the spine, such as a fracture
  • a birth defect

Symptoms can include low back pain and stiffness which is worse with standing and relieved when lying down.

Call Gatley on 0161 491 1999 or the Heatons on 0161 432 3232

How do I know if my back pain is bad enough to need treatment?

If you are suffering from low grade back ache, back pain and/or sciatica which has not settled within two weeks, it is appropriate to be assessed by a physiotherapist.

Following the assessment, the physiotherapist will devise a treatment plan which will be discussed with you. Physiotherapy treatment usually involves hands on treatment and the physio will instruct you on what you can do to assist your recovery. This will more likely involve some home exercises with advice on positions and activities to avoid preventing aggravation of your pain.

If you have lived with the low back pain and/or sciatica for some time which is worsening or just not improving, is disturbing your sleep and is getting in the way of daily life, a physiotherapy consultation would be beneficial.

Early intervention usually means less treatment is needed to reduce/eliminate the pain and discomfort.

What are the benefits of physiotherapy treatment for low back pain?

Back pain left untreated can create even more problems. If you are not moving your back properly, your body will compensate by moving another section of the spine, potentially putting strain and therefore causing pain in that area. 

If you have sciatica which affects the nerve causing pain, pins and needles, numbness or weakness in the leg, physiotherapy treatment is essential to reduce the compression on the nerve which can cause long term damage of the nerve.

Importantly, the longer you wait for treatment, it can become more difficult to restore full pain free movement to your joints and muscles. Therefore, seek physiotherapy treatment as soon as possible.

How long does treatment typically take?

Treatment sessions are for 30 minutes.  Sessions will include ‘hands on’ treatment in the form of soft tissue massage and joint mobilisations  Your physiotherapist may discuss your posture and give you strategies to use to reduce your pain, for example, when sitting at your desk at work. Exercises, for spinal mobility and core stability, will also be given to help you manage the symptoms and to prevent them returning in the future.

The number of treatment sessions required will depend on how quickly your low back pain responds to the treatment. The average number treatments for low back pain is 4-6 sessions.

We will track your progress carefully, as it’s important to fully rehabilitate your problem. It is essential to restore the spine’s natural range of motion if possible and to give you exercises to improve the strength of the muscles to help prevent further problems in the future.

How is lower back pain usually treated by a physiotherapist?

Following an assessment and examination to determine the cause and diagnosis of your pain, your physiotherapist will devise a treatment pan which will be discussed with you. There are several ways a physiotherapist can treat low back pain.

Physiotherapy treatment at Gatley and Heatons Physiotherapy Clinics will include hands-on treatment and self-management advice. In addition, your physiotherapist may combine several techniques for the best outcome.

Some examples include:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Joint mobilisations
  • Posture correction
  • Acupuncture
  • Stability exercises
  • Mobility exercises
  • Advice to avoid aggravating positions
  • Kinesiology taping

Treatments can include lifestyle changes, such as lifting techniques, postural advice and ergonomic advice to ensure your sitting position at work is efficient. Your physiotherapist will give you home exercises including stretching, regular movements that can help to loosen the stiffened joints and core strengthening exercises to maintain your progress and prevent recurrence of symptoms in the future.

Call Gatley on 0161 491 1999 or the Heatons on 0161 432 3232

How will I know if I need an X-Ray or an MRI scan?

An X-Ray or MRI scan is not often required prior to physiotherapy treatment. An MRI scan would normally only be necessary if the assessment revealed nerve damage or your symptoms were unresponsive to treatment. If your physiotherapist feels that your symptoms warrant further investigations, this will be discussed with you and the physio will contact your GP or a Consultant for a further opinion.

Will surgery to help my lower back pain be likely?

Only a very small percentage of people suffering with low back pain / sciatica will require any invasive procedures, such as joint injections or surgery. Your physiotherapist will conduct a detailed assessment which will include special tests for the spinal nerves. Your physiotherapist will discuss the assessment findings and if there are any concerns, can communicate with your GP to advise the best course of action. This may include referral to a Consultant to decide the best management of your condition. Throughout this time your physiotherapist will explain each step and ensure you fully understand why a referral is necessary.

Get in touch

Please don’t suffer with pain or discomfort. If you have back pain or sciatica that is affecting your daily life, physiotherapy treatment can improve your pain and stiffness to get you back to activities and work as soon as possible.

How To Make an Appointment

We are usually able to offer an appointment time within 24 working hours of your call. 

Please either call the clinic or leave your details in the online enquiry form and we’ll call you back to confirm the arrangements.

Gatley: 0161 491 1999
Heaton Moor: 0161 432 3232

Why Choose Gatley & Heatons Physio?

We provide expert physiotherapy treatments from our clinics in Heaton Moor, Gatley and Didsbury and we regularly help patients from across Stockport and Manchester reduce their pain and return to normal activities.

We frequently work with clients in Cheadle, Bramhall, Poynton, Wilmslow, Northenden, Altrincham, Sale, West Didsbury, Withington, Burnage, Heaton Moor, Heaton Chapel, Heaton Norris, Heaton Mersey and Reddish, and we are regularly able to provide home visits for those who are not able to attend one of our clinics.

We have been established in these areas for many years and have a fantastic relationship with most of the Doctors in these areas. If needed, we will liaise with your Doctor about your condition, for example if medication is needed or a referral to another speciality.

We have an excellent reputation of providing high standards of clinical physiotherapy and a professional service through a trusted, personal and friendly approach.

We offer flexible appointment times to all patients including extended working hours and home visits.

Juan Pardo

Professional and caring treatment received with sound follow up advice. Would recommend to others without hesitation!

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