Low Back Pain: The Facts

Up to 80% of the world’s population will experience low back pain within their lifetime. It is the biggest cause of disability in the world and the second most common reason for GP visits. Here I explain what exactly this is, expand on some its common causes and finally explain as to how physiotherapy is an effective treatment for low back pain. Fore more information or to book an appointment in any of our Dublin based clinics, please call us on 015310007 or click/tap here to contact us.

What is it?

low back painLow back pain is described as pain between the level of the bottom rib and the top of the buttocks, with or without referred leg pain. It can be achy, dull, sharp, burning, stabbing, well defined or vague. It can come on suddenly or develop gradually. Acute pain is pain that lasts for less than twelve weeks; chronic low back pain is pain that persists for longer than twelve weeks.

What causes it?

In 85-95% of cases, the pain can be attributed to a number of factors including individual characteristics, working conditions such as heavy physical work, awkward static or dynamic working postures, as well as lifestyle factors and psychological factors. A minority of cases of low back pain can be caused by fractures, infection, tumours, or bone metastases.

How can Physiotherapy Treatment help?

This is by far the most common complaint we see in our physiotherapy clinics. A physiotherapy session will include a thorough assessment to figure out the cause of your pain, followed by implementing a treatment program tailored specifically for you. It is important for both you and your physiotherapist to recognise that lifestyle and psychological factors can play a role in the development and persistence of low back pain. Identifying and managing these issues will play a part in preventing further recurrence. If you are experiencing pain, book in with a physiotherapist to help you get on your way to recovery.


  • Global Burden of Disease 2015. Duthey, B. (2013). Background Paper 6.24 Low back pain.
  • Qaseem, A., Wilt, T. J., McLean, R. M., & Forciea, M. A. (2017). Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the American College of PhysiciansNoninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute, and Chronic Low Back Pain. Annals of internal medicine, 166(7), 514-530.