Spinal Pain and Stiffness

Spinal pain and stiffness is probably the most common presenting complaint that private practice physiotherapists encounter. The causes are many, and while identification of specific triggers is important there are similar guiding principles in treating spinal pain and stiffness.When the spine loses its normal mobility qualities, the ligaments andcapsules around the joint often become tight and can develop adhesions. The muscles surrounding the spine can also go into a compensatory spasm to protect the area. This is often worse when the pain and stiffness is accompanied by acute inflammation, such as after lifting a heavy weight. Physiotherapy aims to assess how each joint in the spine is moving and to detect areas where normal movement has been lost. By applying pressure on a precise point on a specific angle, a stretching effect can be applied to the tightened ligaments and joint capsules which improves overall flexibility and decreases pain. Some physiotherapists achieve this effect through spinal manipulation techniques. Interventions to address muscular tightness and pain are also commonly provided. The strength of the core muscles supporting the lower back and flexibility of the hip and hamstring muscles is also important to assess and treat with appropriate exercises if necessary to optimise full recovery. 

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Last Updated - July 25, 2014

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