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Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common causes of musculoskeletal pain and is regularly treated by our specialist physiotherapists.

Back pain can have a huge impact on many aspects of your life involving everything from sleeping through to sporting activities. Our physiotherapists at Liverpool Physio have a deep understanding of back pain and how it can impact on you and your loved ones which enables us to treat you holistically to promote a full recovery.

What causes back pain?

The complexity of the structures surrounding the spinal area means there can be many possible causes of back pain.

Physiologically, there are a number of causes of back pain: mechanical pain, discogenic pain, nerve root pain and serious pathology.
  • Mechanical pain

    Mechanical pain may originate from the vertebrae, spinal joints or soft tissues around the spine and may be chronic or acute. Mechanical back ache can also be referred to as non-specific back pain which refers to the fact that the pain is not caused by a specific pathology but a number of factors such as ageing, long-term poor posture or activities such as repetitive bending.

  • Discogenic pain

    Discogenic pain refers to the intervertebral discs found between each vertebra of the spine. As we age these discs change in structure, losing fluid so they offer less shock absorption and degeneration occurs so cracks or small fissures may appear over time. The outer layer of each disc has a nerve supply meaning that during certain movements (usually leaning forward or sitting) you experience pain. Discogenic pain is usually chronic but may be experienced acutely if the disc is injured suddenly.

  • Nerve root pain

    Nerve root pain is caused by irritation or compression of the nerve root from the spinal cord and is a common cause of acute low back pain. Nerve root pain is commonly due to a prolapsed disc, or slipped disc, where there is a bulge of the soft inner contents of the disc presses onto the nerve. Sciatica is a common type of nerve root pain, resulting in pain down the leg which is often worse than the back pain. Accompanying symptoms to nerve root pain are numbness, pins and needles and weakness in the lower limb.

  • Serious pathology

    Serious pathology such as cauda equina syndrome can present with low back pain. Cauda equina syndrome also results in additional symptoms to low back pain including pain in both legs, altered sensation around the genitals and bladder and bowel problems. Special questions will be asked during your physiotherapy assessment in order to rule out or identify possible indication of serious pathology. If an indication of serious pathology or a red flag is identified medical attention is required immediately.
Specific causes of back pain include: The physiotherapists at Liverpool Physio are experts at treating both acute and chronic back pain and also at helping to prevent future episodes.

Conditioning exercises for the lower back supervised by experienced therapistAbove: Conditioning exercises for the lower back supervised by experienced therapist

What should I do if I have back pain?

Back pain can very easily become chronic if not managed effectively so we would recommend that you seek specialist treatment at Liverpool Physio as soon as possible to prevent long term implications.

It is recognised that many of those suffering with back pain could prevent or minimise future episodes of pain by using techniques we are able to provide for long term management.

Progressive strengthening exercises for the lower back supervised by an experienced therapistAbove: Progressive strengthening exercises for the lower back supervised by an experienced therapist

What would a physiotherapy assessment for back pain involve?

A physiotherapy initial assessment for low back pain will be comprehensive and will involve both subjective and objective aspects.
  • The subjective assessment involves talking through your symptoms and details of how they affect your daily life.

  • An objective assessment will follow in order to examine you physically. Your physiotherapist will assess your muscle strength, range of movement, sensation, reflexes and also some special tests alongside palpation of your spine and soft tissues.
In cases of back pain it is generally also necessary to examine other sections of the spine, your pelvis and hips to ensure that your pain is not being referred from elsewhere.

At Liverpool Physio we appreciate that you are an individual and we aim to treat you holistically taking into account not only your physical symptoms but your work commitments, family life and hobbies to ensure a full recovery.

Soft tissue massage of the lower back muscles and connective tissue by specialist therapistAbove: Soft tissue massage of the lower back muscles and connective tissue by specialist therapist

What would physiotherapy treatment for back pain involve?

Physiotherapy treatment will depend upon the findings of the assessment process and the diagnosis reached.

The aims of physiotherapy treatment are generally to reduce pain, increase joint range of movement and ensure a swift return to sports and other activities.

Typical treatments for back pain include:
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Core stability exercises
  • Postural advice
  • Stretching programme
  • Joint mobilisations
  • Massage and trigger point release
  • Manual handling education
  • Acupuncture
  • Home exercise programme
  • Ergonomic assessment for your home or workplace
Treatment for back pain is patient-centred and holistic to take into account your own personal needs in order to ensure the best recovery possible.

Our aim is for you to return to your chosen activities as promptly as possible whether this is playing sports, going for a walk or purely being able to sit comfortably at work.

Your physiotherapist will also actively promote self-management of your condition by teaching you movement techniques and specific home exercises to protect your back from future injury. By taking control of your own condition as much as possible you can learn to control your back pain rather than letting it control you.

Soft tissue massage of the lower back muscles and connective tissue by specialist therapistAbove: Soft tissue massage of the lower back muscles and connective tissue by specialist therapist

How can I arrange a physiotherapy assessment for back pain?

In order to arrange an assessment with one of our expert physiotherapists please email our team at or call us on 0151 558 0077.


Back pain is a very complex common injury that can have a huge negative impact on your day to day life. Our musculoskeletal physiotherapists provide a comprehensive treatment plan for both acute and chronic back problems. The treatment techniques used are dependent on your history and symptoms. All will be expertly selected and implemented by our physiotherapists, ensuring that you gain the most out of your physiotherapy session.

To book an appointment with one of our musculoskeletal physiotherapists at Liverpool Physio then you can email us at or call us on 0151 558 0077.

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Phone: 0151 558 0077
0151 558 0077
David Lloyd, 6 The Aerodrome Speke, Liverpool, Speke L24 8QD
David Lloyd, 6 The Aerodrome Speke, Liverpool, L24 8QD  [map]
88 Rodney Street, Liverpool, L1 9AR
88 Rodney Street, Liverpool, L1 9AR  [map]
150 Lord Street, Southport, PR9 0NP
150 Lord Street, Southport, PR9 0NP  [map]
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