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Lower back pain specialist in Canberra?

By Captain RAAF - 13 May 2013 29

Hi Gang,

The missus is fighting some significant lower back pain, been a problem for her for about 3 years. Other than that, she is a fit and healthy specimen, maintaining a stunning appearance and physique.

She has visited a couple of doctors and both agreed with my diagnosis, weak core (stomach muscles) leaving the back to over-compensate and suffer accordingly.

She has tried exercise and it just leaves her in more pain. She has had scans and there is no inflammation present and no ‘smoking gun’, so she’s feeling very frustrated by the whole saga.

So, is there any lower back pain guru in Canberra I can take my cook to? She is at the end of her tether and I hate to see her suffer anymore and have to try every possible option.

Help me Obie-Wan, your’e my only hope!

What’s Your opinion?

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29 Responses to
Lower back pain specialist in Canberra?
MsCheeky 9:43 am 14 May 13

I had lower back pain for years when I was a triathlete. The constant training took it’s toll. I was advised that the most important thing was to keep mobile, and my doctor was of the view that if anti-inflammatories kept me mobile, it was perfectly ok to use them. They worked, so I used them. I also used to sometimes visit an osteopath for the very intense massage he did, and that helped too.

Chiropractors, acupuncturists – they’re woo, and as noted above, don’t prove their efficacy in properly controlled studies. Don’t waste your money.

Tooks 8:35 am 14 May 13

Chiropractors are a sham in my opinion, and I used to swear by them for years. I’d always leave feeling much better, but in reality, they were doing more damage to an already ruptured disc. Physio, core strengthening, dry needling – I recommend at least trying a good physio before anything else.

Madam Cholet 8:23 am 14 May 13

johnboy said :

When my back was bung six weeks of lap swimming did wonders.

That’s some stamina – 6 weeks! Your skin must have been really wrinkly when you got out.

curmudgery 11:49 pm 13 May 13

As you can see from the other posts, LBP is very common. Doctors to great work, so do physios, chiros, osteos and so on. But no one has all the answers to everyone’s problems and finding the specialist with the right solution for your wife’s condition is, sadly, a matter of experiment. Anyone you ask will swear by who or whatever ‘did the trick’ for them last time.

The condition is chronic (ongoing) because the cause is elusive – and pain can be a symptom of a problem elsewhere. So if the scans are clear of structural issues and the exercises she’s done didn’t produce much improvement, I suspect a postural issue. Causes: childbirth, MVA’s, sporty mishaps, poor form of the gym, any combination of the above . . and other things . . .

Consider booking your wife in to see a Remedial Massage Therapist for a postural assessment, treatment and homework. I recommend Griffith Massage Centre (6295 6733). Ask for Ben.


johnboy 9:38 pm 13 May 13

When my back was bung six weeks of lap swimming did wonders.

guy 9:30 pm 13 May 13

Speaking as someone who has suffered chronic lower back and neck pain, and tried all the conventional and alternative medicine therapies, it’s probable that stretching calves and hamstrings effectively is likely to be the simple, yet overlooked solution to chronic lower back pain. Kit Laughlin’s Stretch Therapy at ANU will probably change her (and your) life:

justsomeaussie 9:12 pm 13 May 13

If you want to stick to just the science, there is no evidence that acupuncture and chiropractors work.

Controversial in the public eyes, yes, but both don’t stand up to peer reviewed double blinded studies.

A lot of people can confuse dry needling with acupuncture but don’t be fooled by the hocus pocus of acupuncture.

As someone who’s suffered severe back pack from a military injury I learnt the hard way the reason why the military doesn’t use acupuncture and chiropractors, it doesn’t work.

Stick to physios.

caswas 9:10 pm 13 May 13

I had similar issues and appealed to facebook for a Pilates teacher. I’m going to Bud Chapple in Garran. Things are a lot better now. I can put shoes on! not just slippers. However I am doing a serious amount of exercises every day. Highly recommended.

Madam Cholet 5:38 pm 13 May 13

Crikey! your post freaked me out. I thought it was Monsieur Cholet writing about my predicament this very day! I have just returned from an osteopath who has worked on my lower back issues that have plagued me for years. And yes, unfortunately it is the sedentary lifestyle to blame. We feel busy, but we are not actually using our muscles to do any of it. I was at the point where this week getting up and down was just excruciating….and sitting on a chair, well don’t even think about it!

However, the road to recovery is to start with gentle exercise. Just walking. It doesn’t fix it overnight and it might not fix it fully ever, but it blows the physical and mental cobwebs away. The other exercise she suggested that can be done anytime is to hold your arms out in front of you clasping your hands together and write large numbers in the air mr squiggle style. Odd suggestion, but it gets the hips wiggling again!

The osteo I just visited suggested that stress and lack of exercise can bring on the whole thing and that your brain remembers what it had to do once to try and help you recover from an injury you may have had once, so it just does it again, even though you are not injured, you’re just stressed. And then stuck in a cycle of stress because you can’t get better.

I don’t place all my faith in osteos or similar but I find that their therapy can be sometimes what is needed to kick start the healing.

If it’s any consolation, I know how she feels poor thing. I always think during these episodes that I would cry if I were not so worn out and tired from coping with the pain. I did look up a thread on RA myself to see if I could find a popular practitioner. The was one in monash that got a good rap….Maxwell Fravel or Favel in Kambah. Anyway, I couldn’t get into them, but instead did go to ACT Smart Osteo in Monash. Lee seems like a no nonsense kind of a person who just wants to help. No messing around! Not much sympathy for the sedentary!!!

Genie 5:06 pm 13 May 13

Pilates and yoga are the best thing to strengthen the core.

There’s also a posture class at the ANU that I’ve heard rave reviews about.

twojays 4:56 pm 13 May 13

Capt’n, I’d recommend Atlas Physio in Braddon, they’re not cheap but they are amazing. Secondly, get her to find the exercise that suits her that will include a lot of core exercises – for my $0.02 I’d also recommend finding a good Pilates class as it’s worked very well for my back.

FarrerGirl 4:18 pm 13 May 13

The Woden Integrated Physio offer clinical pilates classes – I have found it really helps for building up the core muscles without causing lower back pain that occurs with other types of exercises.

Tetranitrate 4:11 pm 13 May 13

Out of curiosity, when you say tried exercise, does that include actual weight training? ie: a balanced barbell routine incorporating Squats, Deadlifts, Rows and the like?
I used to have some back issues when I was much younger, but I’ve never had any problems since I started semi-seriously with the gym.

gentoopenguin 4:02 pm 13 May 13

I have a slipped L4/5 and have been to a few physios about town. Suz Goodall at Powerhouse Physio is the best I’ve found…she works the back then gives you exercises to do at home to strengthen the core. I found this empowering cause it wasn’t only about treatment but also about what I could do to help myself out.

I’ve also been twice down the path of cortisone injections into the spine. It is about as unfun as it sounds. The second one worked a treat though and got rid of some very annoying sciatic pain down the leg. This could be an option for your wife depending on her level of desperation. She’d need a referral to a back specialist, who would then refer her on for the injection via MRI. All up it’s a few hundred bucks out of pocket and I’ve heard it usually takes two treatments to work.

Chronic lower back pain is the pits. the trick is to find the right mix of treatment and exercise for you. Personally, I couldn’t get by without physio, walking, my hot water bottle and the occasional course of anti-inflammatory meds.

Best of luck to your wife. I wouldn’t wish such pain on my worst enemy!

MangaGal 3:49 pm 13 May 13

I suffered a lower back pain after a sport injury. The only thing worked for me was acupuncture. Has she tried acupuncture?

It sounds like she’d need both acupuncture and physiotherapy to completely shake it off. A weak core is one of the common cause of lower back pain especially if she sits front of computer all day.

I’ve seen a musculoskeletal specialist before and it helped 50% of the pain reduction. Then acupuncture for months and physiotherapy and on-going posture correction helped me.

For acupuncture, I recommend Charles Cai in Turner. They have quite different doctors in that practice so please do try to see who achieves the best results. Charles Cai is the owner so you can discuss your concerns with him. He will recommend different treatments if necessary.

As for musculoskeletal specialist, the one I saw ages ago has moved away from Canberra. He was the best that I’ve come across. Sorry don’t have any recommendation here.

Good luck.

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