Physiotherapy for Back Pain

Today, back pain is the single most common complaint made by patients to doctors. Estimates say 80 per cent of Australians suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.

Physical therapy has been identified as one of the best ways to both provide pain relief and prevent the common causes of back pain. It involves a range of different techniques including exercises, joint mobilisation, stretching, massage and dry needling.

It is also well known for improving posture and mobility as well as reducing reliance on pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication.

explaining lower back pain

Common Symptoms of Back Pain

  • Sharp burning pain
  • Muscle tightness and spasm
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Tingling or numbness of lower extremities

Common causes of lower back pain

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis predominantly affects the spine, but may also affect the hips and shoulders. The disease causes the joints of your neck, back and pelvis to become inflamed, triggering stiffness and pain. Spondylitis symptoms usually surface between the ages of 15 and 45 years.

The exact cause of ankylosing spondylitis is unknown. However, for most patients with the disease there does seem to be a family connection, which has been linked back to the HLA-B27 gene.

Ankylosing spondylitis can suddenly present without a specific cause such as injury, overuse syndrome, infections or other medical conditions. This is a big differentiator to other causes of back pain.

The first stage of treatment often involves a combination of techniques to address pain levels and reduce inflammation. These can include heat, electrotherapy, dry needling and massage.

The second stage of treatment involves targeted stretches that are helpful in improving mobility in the spinal muscles which can also reduce pain. Massage, joint mobilization, dry needling may also be used at this stage, as determined by your physiotherapist.


Osteoarthritis occurs when there is damage either within or around joints that the body is unable to repair. It is a degenerative joint disease that causes joints such as your knees, spine, hips and hands to become still and painful.

Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic joint disease and almost 7 per cent of Australians (1.3 million) are thought to suffer from it. Osteoarthritis surfaces when the cartilage cushioning the end of the bones in your joints become rough over time. The risk of osteoarthritis increases with age. Women are also more likely to develop the disease.

Sports injuries and some occupations involving repetitive stress on a joint may result in that joint eventually developing osteoarthritis, while genetics may also predispose some people to developing the disease.

A personalized physical therapy treatment plan can help strengthen the muscles around your affected joint, reducing pain and increasing your range of motion. Regular gentle exercise including walking and swimming can also help. Gentle stretching and exercises can help reduce osteoarthritis pain and improve range of movement.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is one of the most misunderstood and most common causes of back pain. DDD is generally age-related as the accumulated effects of wear-and-tear on a disc triggers instability and pain.

As anatomical changes occur, more degeneration results producing changes to your spine’s structures. Combined, these changes trigger degenerative disc disease.

In addition to the cumulative effects of aging, back injuries and genetic make up can predispose you to developing this condition.

Degenerative disc disease usually does not result in long-term disability and in many instances can be managed effectively using conservative, non-surgical treatment strategies such as physiotherapy.

The key focus of physiotherapy is to improve mobility and reduce pain so daily activities and rehabilitative exercises are more tolerable.
Physical therapy treatments for degenerative disc disease can include remedial massage, hot and cold therapies and spinal traction which helps with muscle tightness and compressed nerves.

A physiotherapist can provide manual therapy to remove pressure from nerve roots and to relieve muscle and joint tension.

Southport Central Physio & Our Approach to Treating Back Pain

At the Southport Central Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic, our experienced team provide thorough consultations which are focused around identifying the cause of your back pain and helping you progress through each stage of recovery. If you are suffering from back pain, book in a session today and let’s see how we could help you.

Planning for your Appointment

Before seeing your physiotherapist, make a list of your symptoms and when they began, even if may seem unrelated. Jot down your personal information, any recent life changes or major stresses together with your family medical history. You should also list all medications, vitamins and other supplements you are taking. Finally, bring a list of questions to ask your physiotherapist during your consultation.

Request an appointment

Senior Musculoskeletal Consultant

Mr Kelvin Choi

  • Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology
  • Master of Physiotherapy 2018 GU
  • Certificate in Dry Needling
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach Level 1
  • Sport Injury Consultant
  • Registered Exercise Physiologist

Why choose our clinic

From the moment you book in for your consultation till the completion of your spinal treatments, you will realise the Southport Central Physiotherapy & Sport Injury Clinic difference.

  • Peace of mind
  • Trust
  • Clear communication
  • Dedication and commitment
  • Highest level of care
  • Problem-solving approach
  • Second opinions
  • Non-invasive treatment