Back pain affects approximately 80% of the Australian population.

As we age our musculoskeletal system, including our spines, slowly starts to degenerate – meaning back pain can be quite common in our later years.

Although occasional back pain could be considered as the “norm” rather than the exception, severe chronic unrelenting back pain is not normal and can have a debilitating effect on quality of life.

It is interesting to note that what we see in x-rays and MRI’s does not always correlate with the actual clinical symptoms (such as pain). An example of this could be, when we can see an injury to the disc between the vertebrae on a patient’s CT scan, the back pain could actually be coming from something else such the small facet joints on the side of the vertebrae.

The same goes for arthritic changes seen in the spine. The arthritis in the spine may not be what is causing a patient’s pain – it could be something else. This means that a clinical assessment – such as those done by expert physiotherapists – are more important than ever in treating pain.

Another thing to consider when looking at back pain in ageing spines are the postural changes that occur with ageing. These sometimes adverse spine postures can, themselves, contribute to pain. The therapist needs to take these deteriorating postures into account as well. Occasionally correcting posture is not the first thing that needs to be done – sometimes we need to first treat the back pain and then slowly begin restore the correct posture.

The most important take home message here is the importance of keeping a mobile, strong and functionally controlled spine. This is the best way to prevent a pain free spine and back. It’s important to maintain the ability to lean backwards as well as forwards and also maintain your balance such as standing on one leg.

Come see us for a spine check up and tune up.

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Larry is a highly skilled physiotherapist who specialises in treating back and neck pain, postural issues and scoliosis. He is certified in Schroth and SEAS methods and through the Egoscue University. Larry has a background in elite gymnastics and springboard diving and also has many years experience in endurance running and triathlons. His specialist knowledge and techniques have seen him appointed as a gymnastics coach and physiotherapist at both the Olympics Games and Special Olympics.

His passion and driving philosophy is about achieving the best outcomes for his patients utilising an amalgam of the latest techniques and theories while recognising there may sometimes be a need for invasive procedures. Where deemed appropriate Larry will then refer to a specialist. To further his holistic understanding and approach, Larry is currently undertaking a Ph.D. in Spinal Deformity and regularly attends and speaks at international conferences and courses and clinics.

Fun fact: Larry is learning how to surf - so be careful next time you go to the beach! Qualifications: B.Sc (Physiotherapy); M.Sc. (Exercise Physiology); Advanced Certificates in Schroth (BSPTS) and Egoscue (PAS) and SEAS Larry is Level II certified (advanced) in the conservative treatment of Scoliosis based on the Schroth method. The training was conducted by Dr Manuel Rigo of the Barcelona School at Scoliosis Rehab Inc in Wisconsin. He has completed his SEAS scoliosis treatment training at ISICO in Milan. Larry has also spent time working with Dr Rigo in the Barcelona clinic. Larry also has advanced certificates in shoulder treatment, posture alignment therapy and acupuncture.