What is the Best Treatment for Lower Back Pain?

John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

Practical Treatment Approaches for Lower Back Pain

Back pain is a common ailment that affects individuals differently due to various factors such as underlying causes, genetics, and overall health conditions. As a result, tailored treatment for lower back pain must meet the specific needs of each individual. This article will explore various effective treatment options for lower back pain, emphasising the importance of individualised care.

Phase I: Back Pain Relief and Protection

The primary goal of lower back pain treatment is to manage and alleviate pain. Addressing pain should be the initial focus, as it is often the last symptom to develop and should be the first to improve. Physiotherapists employ various treatment tools for pain reduction and inflammation control, including ice therapy, electrotherapy, acupuncture, de-loading taping, and soft tissue massage. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen may aid in pain management during this phase.

Phase II: Restoring Normal Range of Motion and Strength with Early Back Exercises

The lower back may feel better as pain and inflammation subside, but caution is necessary. Although pain may be absent, weakness makes the discs, muscles and ligaments vulnerable to re-injury. In this phase, physiotherapists focus on restoring normal lumbar spine motion, evaluating muscle length, resting tension, strength, endurance, proprioception, balance, and gait. Initiate a lower abdominal core stability program to strengthen the crucial muscles responsible for dynamically controlling and stabilising the lower back and pelvis. Physiotherapists will customise back exercises to meet the individual needs of each patient.

Phase III: Restoring Full Function

The desired activities, whether related to work, sports, or daily life, determine the specific treatment goals to restore the full function of the back. Physiotherapists will tailor the rehabilitation program to help patients achieve their functional goals. The treatment plan may include exercises, stretching, and functional movements to promote optimal performance and prevent future injuries.

Phase IV: Back Exercises for Preventing Recurrence

ongoing rehabilitation is crucial to minimise the risk of recurring lower back pain. Consistency with deep abdominal core muscle exercises is crucial. Patients are encouraged to continue a modified version of these exercises several times weekly. Physiotherapists play a vital role in assisting patients in identifying the most suitable activities for the long-term maintenance of a healthy back.

Additional Back Pain Treatment Options

In addition to the above phases, several other treatment options may assist you. Please discuss this with your physiotherapist, depending on the source of symptoms.

Back Brace

A back brace or corset can relieve sciatica or disc bulge sufferers. Wrapping or binding a towel tightly around the stomach and back can help determine if a back brace would be beneficial. Strong deep core muscles combined with a back brace can help prevent future recurrences.

Acupuncture or Dry Needling

Acupuncture, an ancient practice, has been used for pain relief for thousands of years. Although the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, acupuncture can relieve pain effectively. Many physiotherapists are trained in acupuncture or dry needling and can advise on its potential benefits.

Remedial Massage

Massage therapy offers muscle relaxation benefits and can be particularly helpful when muscle spasms or chronic tension are present. Regular remedial massage can also be a preventive measure against low back pain.

TENS Machine

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) machines are electronic devices that may help reduce pain and decrease reliance on pain-relieving drugs.

Posture Supports

Poor sitting posture often contributes to sciatica. Several back posture products, such as lumbar D-Rolls, Bassett frames, and kinesio tape, can passively support the back and promote proper posture.

Weight Loss

Excess weight places additional strain on the lower back. Engaging in an exercise program, such as walking or swimming, combined with a healthy, calorie-controlled diet, can aid in weight loss and reduce lower back pain. Consulting a doctor, physiotherapist, or dietitian can provide valuable guidance.

Expected Results of Back Pain Treatment

Most lower back pain sufferers experience recovery within 4 to 6 weeks. However, individual recovery times may vary based on the nature of the injury and the treatment plan developed in collaboration with a physiotherapist.


Personalised lower back pain treatment should focus on the unique needs of each individual. By following a comprehensive treatment plan encompassing pain relief, restoring the normal range of motion and strength, functional rehabilitation, and preventive measures, individuals can achieve long-term relief and minimise the risk of recurrent lower back pain. Consulting a physiotherapist or healthcare practitioner is essential to receive a tailored treatment approach based on specific diagnoses and individual circumstances.

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