Mechanical Low Back Pain

Will JS, Bury DC, Miller JA. Mechanical Low Back Pain. Am Fam Physician. 2018;98(7):421-428.

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Low back pain is one of the most common conditions we treat at Balance Solutions Physical Therapy.  The majority of low back pain is mechanical in nature and responds well to physical therapy modalities. Mechanical low back pain refers to back pain that arises from the spine, intervertebral disks, or surrounding soft tissues and includes;

  • Muscle strains
  • Disk herniation
  • Lumbar spondylosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Vertebral compression fractures
  • Acute or chronic traumatic injury

This article supports referral to physical therapy as a key primary intervention for physicians in the conservative management of low back pain, with specific emphasis placed on the McKenzie method of treatment.

This article cites many research studies and has over 45 references to support the findings. As a physical therapist treating low back pain on a daily basis, two citations that strongly support our experience in the clinic as well as support a referral to physical therapy as best evidence based practice include;

  • “Physical therapy modalities such as the McKenzie method may decrease the recurrence of low back pain and use of health care”
  • “Physical therapists with training have been clinically proven to demonstrate good pain and functional outcomes for patients with low back pain”

Our McKenzie certified physical therapist has more than 15 years of experience treating patients with acute to chronic severe low back pain and the results we experience at Balance Solutions Physical Therapy accurately supports the findings in this article.  Patient’s who are referred to physical therapy within the first six weeks of low back pain onset are less likely to require prescription of opioids or require further diagnostic and imaging studies.

McKenzie method extension progression.

 Article Key Points Include

  • Discussion of key recommendations for best practice in orthopedics for physicians treating low back pain
  • Outline of the key characteristics in the differential diagnosis of mechanical low back pain
  • Outlines of the red flag findings for non-mechanical causes of low back pain
  • Outline of physicians approach to treatment and treatment options for mechanical low back pain
  • Description and outline of the McKenzie method diagnostic classification for low back pain

As skilled physical therapists at Balance Solutions, we are trained in the differential diagnosis and treatment of mechanical low back pain. Our physical therapists perform comprehensive evaluations to rule out the non-mechanical causes of low back pain, which can be more serious in nature and require further medical testing and imaging.  If a non-mechanical cause of low back pain is suspected we refer our patient’s back to their physician or to a specialist.