Exposure Therapy for Low Back Pain || Updates from IASP World Congress on Pain || Brisbane Anytime Physio
Physiotherapy for Chronic Low Back Pain
Alan Wan and Joy Kim are in Boston, Massachusetts this week for the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) 17th World Congress on Pain. Today, they learnt new, evidence-based techniques that combine physiotherapy and psychology to better manage chronic low back pain.
Chronic low back pain can be effectively treated with exposure therapy. Exposure therapy refers to a combination of physiotherapy and psychology that aims to slowly build up a person’s tolerance to a certain stimulus. Exposure therapy has long been used to treat phobias (such as arachnophobia, the irrational fear of spiders), but recently has been shown to be effective in treating chronic low back pain. In this article, we’ll explore how our physiotherapists at Brisbane Anytime Physio use exposure therapy to treat low back pain.
Chronic Low Back Pain is Linked to Fear of Movement
People who experience chronic low back pain are often fearful of certain movements. In their experience, activities such as bending over or lifting heavy objects cause them pain. To avoid this pain, they have learnt to avoid these movements.
Fear Avoidance Causes Disability and Decreased Physical Conditioning
Use it or lose it. If you constantly avoid activity, then your body forgets how to function normally. Muscles become weaker when they are not used and weak muscles cannot provide support to the underlying joints. This deconditioning leads to increased disability and pain and reinforces fear of movement associated with chronic low back pain. This leads to a vicious cycle.
How do we Break the Cycle of Low Back Pain?
Exposure therapy is an effective way of gradually building up tolerance to exercise and physical activity. At Anytime Physio, we start by asking our patients what they would like to achieve through treatment. We set realistic goals that can be measured over time. For low back pain, our exercise progressions might look something like this:
Is it Safe to Exercise With Chronic Low Back Pain?
Yes! In almost 95% of cases of low back pain, gentle exercises are completely safe and have actually been shown to improve symptoms. At Anytime Physio, we screen all of our patients to ensure their safety before starting exposure therapy. If imaging or further investigations are required, Anytime Physio works with an extensive network of doctors, orthopaedic specialists and radiology clinics, so you can rest assured that you are safe in our hands.
Need Help Getting On Top Of Chronic Low Back Pain?
Secure your appointment with one of our physiotherapists for expert treatment today.
Anytime Physio is a musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapy clinic based in Newstead, New Farm and Clayfield in Brisbane.