Low Back Pain: Explained

Back pain is something that we, as physical therapists, see every day, and many individuals have chosen to come see us at Fort Dodge Physical Therapy to address pain that originates in their lower back. Research has shown that roughly 25% of people in the United States have had low back pain in the last 3 months. That’s 1 in 4 people! But, what exactly is low back pain and how do physical therapists treat it?


Low back pain can arise in a variety of different ways. This includes prolonged sitting or standing at a desk, improper lifting techniques, sporting event injuries, aging or osteoarthritis, or simply getting out of a chair or bed incorrectly.


The low back is a collective term for a group of bones, muscles, joints, nerves, and ligaments that work in conjunction with one another to ensure that individuals are moving properly. Some of the bones consist of the lumbar vertebrae, ilium or pelvic bones, sacrum, and coccyx. There are a large number of muscles that may contribute to low back pain. However, physical therapists most commonly treat the quadratus lumborum, erector spinae musculature, and abdominal musculature, just to name a few. Similarly, there are several joints that can be causing low back pain including the sacroiliac joint, intervertebral joints, facet joints, and the lumbosacral joint. Lastly, in between each lumbar vertebrae there is a disc that acts as a cushion for the spine. If that disc becomes irritated, inflamed, or worn down, that can cause low back pain as well.


As you can see, there are many different bones, muscles, and joints that can become irritated causing low back pain! The team of physical therapists at Fort Dodge Physical Therapy will determine what structure or structures may be affected and create a treatment plan to help reduce the pain and symptoms felt with damage to the structures. Some common low back pain pathologies that we treat include but are not limited to:

  • Sciatica

  • Degenerative Disc Disease

  • Muscle strains

  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

  • Lumbar Herniated Disc

  • Spondylitis

  • Scoliosis


If you or someone you know is suffering from low back pain and are looking for answers or relief, please don't hesitate to call us at 515-416-8822 to set up an appointment with a Dr. of Physical Therapy today!



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