Move Freely | Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic | Edinburgh

Back pain – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Back pain - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Most people have experienced back pain at least once in their life. Back pain can be caused by a number of reasons, most of which are related to our lifestyle and our level of physical activity. However, back pain can also be caused by various medical conditions that we have been effectively treating at Move Freely.

We realise that sometimes it can be hard to identify the reasons behind the stiffness in your back. This is why we’ve compiled a short list of the most common causes of back pain and the conditions associated with it as well as the various types of treatments that can help you get rid of the pain:


  • Poor sitting and standing habits – if you have back pain, improving your posture is unlikely to tackle the root cause of the issue, but it can help alleviate muscle tension. What is more, sitting for long periods of time can have a negative impact on your back even if you sit with a good posture, so make sure you take time to walk around or do some exercises throughout the day.
  • Slouching in a chair – over time this position can cause strain on already sensitised muscles and soft tissues. On top of that, this strain can lead to increased tension in the muscles which in turn may cause severe back pain
  • Back pain can also be caused by a minor injury such as sprain (pulled ligament) or strain (pulled muscle)
  • Muscle spasm (such as lifting a heavy object, a sudden movement or a fall)– the Multifidi muscle can be triggered into spasm to protect the adjacent facet joint from any further damage. Unfortunately, this can be extremely painful. this can lead to acute lower back pain since when the back muscles spasms, the area around them is usually inflamed


  • If your bottom tends to stick out or you have a pronounced curve in your lower back, you may have hyperlordosis. Wearing high heels, excessive weight around the stomach and pregnancy can all cause this posture. However, most commonly it is caused by weak anterior core and hamstring muscles with associated tightness of Hip flexor and lower back muscles.
  • Standing with a flat back – people with a flat back often find it difficult to stand for long periods. This is because the pelvis is tucked in and the lower back is straight instead of naturally curved which causes the body to stoop forward. A flat back also tends to make you lean your neck and head forwards, which can cause neck and upper back strain.
  • Muscle imbalances – as described above are a very common problem and are very often the main reason for long term back pain.
  • Muscle stiffness – Muscle stiffness can be caused by many reasons, poor posture putting extra strain on certain muscles, increased muscle tone to provided stability to joints when the natural stability system is not strong enough.


  • A slipped (prolapsed) disc – this can cause back pain and numbness as well as tingling and weakness in other parts of the body. if you are suffering from a slipped disc you will very often have lots of other problems as a result. Such as muscle stinness, poor bio-mechanics, increased fear of movement and loading the spine.
  • Sciatica – sciatica is an irritation of the nerve that runs from the lower back to the feet. It can cause severe pain as well as weakness in the lower back and other areas such as buttocks, legs and even the feet.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (swelling of the joints in the spine) – this causes pain and stiffness that’s usually worse in the morning and improves with movement
  • Spondylolisthesis (a bone in the spine slipping out of position) – this can cause lower back pain and stiffness as well as numbness

Back pain treatments:

  • Deep Tissue Laser therapy – Laser Therapy is clinically proven as one of the most effective treatments for back pain and inflammation.  Able to penetrate to deep tissue structures, it has the ability to treat a wide variety of both acute and chronic conditions
  • Kinetisense posture assessment – Kinetisense provides instant postural screening and assesses the patient’s posture and range of motion before and after treatment. This allows us and the patient to track their progress with objective facts and figures.
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  • TAMARS back treatment – TAMARS® is a specialised treatment that addresses any biomechanical dysfunction of the spine and is the best option if you suffer from back or neck pain. TAMARS is one of our most popular treatments as it positively influences the spinal biomechanics during functional and clinical tasks
  • Dry Needling – dry needling provides a fast and effective route to pain relief, through the use of fine needles inserted into trigger points in muscles. The needles penetrate deep into knots of muscles, to relieve tension and increase blood flow to the region. They can hit stubborn knots with precision, even when the source of pain seems to be buried so deep as to be inaccessible to massage. Relaxing these trigger points can release long held pain
  • Foam roller exercises –If you use the right technique, a foam roller can act like a really good, free masseuse. It not only prepares your body for the stresses of a workout, but it also relieves aches and prevents them from coming back. Our sports therapist Daniel can show you a variety of exercises that you can practise at home at your own time and pace

We are committed to ensuring that we provide our clients with the best care suited to their needs and are proud to say that all of the aforementioned types of treatments are available at our Edinburgh-based clinic.

If you have any questions regarding the treatments or anything else, just drop us a line and we will get in touch with you!

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