When to See a Physio for Back Pain

by Feb 2, 2022Clinical

back pain - when to see a physio

The back often bears the brunt of busy lifestyles

With today’s sedentary lifestyles, especially those of white-collar workers with desk jobs who make up a sizable portion of the population, certain health issues and concerns are bound to raise their heads, back pain among the most common of them. However, the good news is that if these issues are looked into at an early stage and dealt with, most of them are completely treatable or manageable.

We observe that even if people do realise that they need medical consultation or help with their back pain, they often hesitate to pay a visit to the ‘dreaded’ doctor or even if they are willing to, they end up confused as to who to visit in the first place: an orthopaedic surgeon, a physiotherapist, or a chiropractor?

Well, though this dilemma is completely logical and understandable, here’s our suggestion: while there are cases that end up being more serious and render the need to visit an ortho, a majority of cases are temporary and mild and can be easily looked after by a physio. Furthermore, when it comes to the question of visiting a chiropractor or a physio, more often than not a visit with physio proves enough to treat your back woes.

Why a physio?

A physiotherapist has the needed knowledge and plenty of techniques that they employ in dealing with back pain and even other kinds of pain, such as shoulder pain, neck pain, and knee pain that are some common types of pain that people face.

Moreover, physiotherapy is an area where you don’t need a referral from your family physician at all. Physiotherapists are available for direct access. Another perk of visiting a physio is most of the treatment plans are covered in insurance.

Also, most methods and techniques that a physiotherapist adopts are non-invasive, including guided exercise, behavioural changes, lifestyle tweaks, and medications and ointments for relief. Seriously, there’s nothing here to overthink and stress about. You are just one appointment away from a back pain-free life. The fastest way towards pain relief is knowing what you are dealing with in the first place, and we help you in that direction.

when to see a physio for back pain

Signs that you should see a physio

There are times when you face back pain for a day or two, and it eventually subsides by itself. Those kinds of back pain can just be dealt with by taking rest and avoiding heavy lifting or exercise. However, there are times when your back pain, once it begins, refuses to let go and the nagging pain just persists, sometimes even affecting your day-to-day life and work. Those are the cases where you should definitely see a physio, among others:

1. When the pain is long term

If your back pain or any other kind of pain for that matter persists for more than a week, then it’s a definite sign that you should see a physio, especially if that pain restricts your movement or is made worse by sneezing or coughing. In that case, we may prescribe a rehabilitation programme and refer you to a specialist in the field.

The steps we take depend on what the causes of the pain are. It can be due to an obvious injury, postural issues or even stress or depression.

2. When the pain is recurring

Do you experience back pain that’s not chronic or consistent, but it disappears for a few days and comes back? It can be acute pain or a little niggle that keeps discomforting you at a specific spot in your back then vanishes for a couple of days, making you feel that it’s finally gone away, but right then it makes an appearance again?

In cases like this the physio examines your back muscles and ascertains what the problem areas might be. They ask you about your lifestyle and any heavy exercises that you do. After that they prescribe movements and exercises structured specifically to your needs that Google will not be able to help with.

3. Referred pain

Referred pain is when the injury is at one spot but the pain is on the other. It’s also when the pain ‘travels’ from one part of the body to another, such as neck pain travelling down the arms or hip pain travelling down the legs.

Diagnosis and treatment

It’s better that you visit a physio when the pain is still mild and manageable so that it’s far easier for them to rehabilitate it. Once the pain becomes severe or chronic, it becomes a lot harder to treat and manage, not to mention it warrants additional visits and consultations.

Now, once the physio diagnoses the root cause of the back pain, they implement certain treatments specific to that diagnosis:

1. Customised exercises
They draft a customised exercise plan for you that aims to strengthen the muscles that are weak and loosen up the muscles that are too tight or stressed.
2. Manual therapy
The physio helps loosen up tight muscles and works on the sore muscles and joints to help you relax.
3. Guided stretches
The therapists deeply massage your back, targeting the affected areas and joints.
4. Intramuscular stimulation
Intramuscular stimulation or IMS is just the westernised version of acupuncture. The areas between the muscles are triggered at some focus areas to relieve pressure and stress.


Need to see a Coburg physio? Whether it’s back pain, joint pain, pinched nerve, lumbar strain or herniated disc, we at Avia Performance have expert physios in Coburg to help you out. Call us at 0407 544 794 or email us at luke@aviaperformance.com.au.

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