Hardy Blogs
Back Pain
Matt Hardy

Treatment for low back pain – a client case study

Welcome back to the blog. Thank you for taking time to read this success story of one of my recent clients.

Who was the client?

A lady in her late 50’s

Why did they come to see me?

Over the last few years she has had episodes of pain that usually last a couple of weeks and then settle down. This episode was different and after 2 weeks the symptoms were persisting and she felt they may have been getting worse. I had treated her husband for some knee pain and she decided to come see me to see if I could help.

How long did we work together?

3 sessions over 4 weeks and a 1 month follow up by phone

What did we do?

At the assessment we found that her work pattern had changed. She had been working from home a lot more due to the covid pandemic. Her desk set up wasn’t the best and she was spending a lot of time sitting.

Her spinal range of movement was reduced and she struggled to bend and felt very stiff. When looking at her back we found that her extensor muscles weren’t relaxing and going into a spasm from time to time giving her localised sharp pain. Due to this tightness she was unable to curl her back into a slumped position.

On assessing her strength we found that her legs as a whole were relatively weak especially her hamstrings.

We treated her with 3 strategies. 1, soft tissue massage to her lower back muscles to help desensitise and relax them. 2, movement exercises that she completed every day to encourage her back to bend and rotate and 3, general leg strengthening exercises that she completed 5 times a week.

Following the first 2 weeks she revisited the clinic. We saw some improvement in her pain and range of movement. We once again completed a session of soft tissue massage and progressed her leg strengthening exercises.

At the final face to face session at 4 weeks she was progressing really well with her exercises. Her pain had settled and she was almost able to touch her toes. Something she ‘hadn’t done for years’. At this session, hands on treatment wasn’t required as she had no pain. We spent the session planning how she was going to manage her pain for the upcoming month and how, if everything went to plan, she would manage her back long term.

I caught up with her a month later on the phone and she was still pain free and could now touch her toes! She was happy with the long term management plan that we put in place and was committed to working on it long term.

As of writing this (3 months after our phone conversation) she is still pain free and continuing with her self management plan.

What can we learn from this?

Although back pain can be a long term problem and be intermittent with the right advice it can be managed. Something that is often overlooked when people have pain is how generally active is the person and how generally strong are they. I often see in my clinic people who have long standing back pain and through no fault of their own aren’t doing the best things to manage the pain. Movement is so important. We know walking is a very effective way of managing pain, it also helps to maintain leg strength as we get older. However, it isn’t great at strengthening the muscles of the legs if they are already weak. I always recommend having some strengthening exercises as part of your weekly exercise.

If this has encouraged you to give rehab a chance, please feel free to call or email me. You can also book online via the links on the site.

Thanks again for reading

Matt

Hardy Performance Physiotherapy is a private physiotherapy service that offers high quality rehabilitation for acute and long term conditions, based in Warwick and Southam, Warwickshire.