Physiotherapy for Lower Back Pain

doctor treating a patient with neck pain

Do you find yourself constantly massaging your lower back? Have you been experiencing persistent muscle tension or discomfort in your lower back? Do you suspect it to be a sign of ageing or an unhealthy posture effect?

While it is true that lower back pain is common among adults, these health issues are a call for your concern regardless of your age or your job. It can be anywhere from a mild, annoying ache to an alarming, stabbing pain – which is why it’s best to seek advice and physio treatment from a lower back specialist in Singapore.

This is because lower back pain gradually works its way into restricting you from performing daily functions and impacting the quality of your life if you ignore the early signs. Prevention is always better than cure.

What Causes Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain can be attributed to multiple factors that primarily affect the backbone, including thoracic and lumbar spine issues. Here are some common causes identified that may signal a need for physio treatment:

Back Sprains and Strains

This is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. Tendon, muscles, or ligament injury may result from lifting heavy objects or not practising healthy body postures. There are even instances where people have strained their backs by sneezing or twisting their bodies too hard.

During physiotherapy treatment for such cases, your physiotherapist will administer hands-on techniques like sports massages and joint mobilisation for pain relief. Physio exercises targeting mobility are also introduced to restore movement. Subsequently, rehabilitation will focus on holistically strengthening your affected area — the low back and surrounding regions — to help you regain your strength and prevent future injuries.

Backbone Fractures

Backbone fractures can occur when you’re involved in an accident or suffer a major fall. This weakens your spine and flattens the curve, straining your lower back. If you’re also suffering from conditions like osteoporosis or spondylolysis, the chances of backbone fractures are higher, as these conditions affect the quality of your bones.

While a brace provides support as your spine heals, it’s important to strengthen your body to reduce dependence on the brace, and this is where physio comes into play. The treatment relieves pain and strengthens your spinal muscles for enhanced support and function. Physiotherapy can also teach you exercises and stretches that target your back and core muscles.

During healing, you will progress to weight-bearing activities and weightlifting to strengthen your bones. Depending on your specific needs, your physiotherapist may also address daily activities that become challenging after the fracture.

Physio treating back pain at home

Disc problems in the Back

When the discs between your spinal bones bulge from their original position, they press on a nerve, causing immense back pain. Your lower back will also be affected when the disc tears, in conditions like a herniated disc, or when the discs become flat with age. When this happens, the discs will no longer be able to function effectively, leading to severe back pain.

To address your condition, your physiotherapist in Singapore may prescribe exercises designed for each injured region. These physiotherapy exercises focus on improving mobility, strengthening the muscles around the spine, enhancing core stability, and reducing pressure on the vertebral column.

Through this, you can build strength and support for the affected area, alleviating low back pain and promoting recovery. Meanwhile, physio treatment during the recovery phase may involve low impact exercises that aim to speed up healing, improve flexibility, and maintain overall spine health.

Back Structural Problems

Structural complications like spinal stenosis trigger sciatic nerve and lower back pain. When your spinal column becomes too narrow for your spinal cord, it causes pain, mobility difficulties, and stiffness.

As such, physio sessions will involve manual therapy techniques for loosening stiff joints and muscles to enhance your mobility. Additionally, your physiotherapist will devise stretching and mobility exercises that open the space in the lower back to reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Back Arthritis

The most common type of arthritis that causes lower back pain is osteoarthritis. It affects the hands, hips, and knees. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilages in your joints begin to break down and affect the bones.

Another arthritis condition that impacts your lower back is ankylosing spondylitis. In the long run, ankylosing spondylitis leads to some of the bones in your spine fusing into a rigid structure, leaving you with a hunched posture and straining your lower back.

In managing back arthritis, your physiotherapy will involve various strategies. Your physiotherapist will create an individualised exercise programme involving balance exercises and low impact fitness routines to strengthen the spine, hips, and abdomen to improve mobility and stability.

Stretching movements are also prescribed to alleviate your symptoms and delay the progression of arthritis. For improving stiffness and flexibility, physio treatments will cover manual therapy techniques, such as massages.


Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a vertebra slips forward over the one below it.

The spinal column is made up of 33 bones called vertebrae. When a vertebra slips forward over the one below it, it puts pressure on the nerves in that area, which causes pain and numbness in the lower back.

Your physiotherapist will help you understand how to modify your activity levels and reduce pain. Physio treatments will also cover the following exercises for improving your functional abilities:

  • Strengthen the trunk, back, and lower limbs.
  • Enhance flexibility in muscles around the pelvis and lower back, such as the hamstrings.
  • Improve balance and weight transfer during walking.
  • Enhance overall fitness and muscular endurance.
Photo of a woman with lower back pain at home


Some chronic health ailments cause back pain. Here are some examples of how other diseases lead to lower back pain:

  • Spine tumours are tumours that grow on the spine. It causes low back pain by compressing the spinal cord or pressing against nerves. As such, your physiotherapist will guide you on spinal precautions during physical activity to reduce the stress on your spinal column. Physio treatments will also concentrate on strengthening the core muscles and improving posture to prevent instability.
  • Cancers that develop in the bones near the spine will cause back pain. This is because these cancers spread to the bone tissue near the spine and create pressure on it, leading to pain. Throughout your cancer treatment, your physiotherapist will prescribe exercises, strategies, and education for building strength, managing fatigue, and maintaining overall health. They also offer manual physiotherapy treatments like lymphedema drainage massage and mobilisation therapy to address cancer treatment-related side effects. After your cancer treatment, physio sessions will work on helping you to cope with long-term side effects and preparing for your return to work.
  • Kidney stones are small, hard pieces of material that develop inside the kidneys. They block the flow of urine, leading to pain in the back (lower back pain) or side (kidney stone pain). Besides addressing your range of motion and strength, physiotherapy treatments in Singapore will emphasise joint protection strategies and energy conservation techniques.

What Are the Symptoms of Lower Back Pain?

The symptoms of lower back pain can appear suddenly or develop progressively. Here are some common signs to look out for:


The pain is either sharp or dull, and over time, it radiates to your bottom and the back of your legs. You will know you have strained your back when you hear a ‘crack’ while trying to pick up something from the floor or sneezing hard.

The pain worsens when you stand or sit, and you’ll feel relieved when you lie down.

Back Stiffness

You will find it difficult to move or stretch your back, as your movements will get restricted. Doing these will cause discomfort. You will also need a few minutes to get up from bed in the morning and after remaining in a seated position for a while. Additionally, your range of motion will be decreased.

Posture Problems

You will not be able to stand up straight and have a hunched back. Your torso will be off to your sides rather than in line with your spine. Your lower back will appear flat and not curved.

Muscle Spasms

Post-back strain, you will experience uncontrollable muscle spasms and muscle contractions. These will cause severe low back pain and restrict you from standing, walking, or even moving

The physical examinations involve image studies focusing on your spinal discs, spine, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Here are some of the tests your specialist will order before commencing your physio treatment:

  • Spine X-ray that uses radiation to capture the image of your bones.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan that uses radio waves and a magnet to develop images of your bones, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.
  • Computerised tomography (CT) scan that uses a computer and x-rays to develop three-dimensional visuals of your bones and tissues.

  • Electromyography (EMG) tests your muscles and looks for nerve injuries that can tingle or numb your legs.
  • Urine tests to check for kidney stones.

  • Blood tests to detect if there are possibilities for hereditary diseases like ankylosing spondylitis.

Why Choose Benchmark Physio for Lower Back Pain Physiotherapy Treatment?

At our physiotherapy clinic in Singapore, we understand the importance of high-quality care when it comes to achieving your health and fitness goals. Our team of skilled physiotherapists and exercise physiologists will conduct a thorough assessment of your lower back pain. Thereafter, we will develop a personalised physiotherapy treatment plan that targets your specific needs. With our tailored solutions, we will work with you to help you return to your daily activities without pain and discomfort.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Frequently Asked Questions about Physiotherapy Treatment for Lower Back Pain

Failing to seek treatment for your lower back pain leads to various other health ailments, depending on the underlying causes and severity of the lower back injury. However, these are preventable through physio and closely observing the measures outlined by your specialist. Here are some other complications if you do not treat your lower back pain in time:

  • Permanent nerve damages
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Absenteeism from work or school
  • Physical disability
  • Mobility impairments leading to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases

Lower back pain is preventable with the right living habits and proper postural practices. However, if your lower back pain results from a hereditary disease like ankylosing spondylitis or postural defect by birth, the chances of preventing lower back pain are lower.

In addition to physiotherapy, there are other treatments in Singapore for lower back pain. These include medication, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and surgery. However, the most appropriate treatment for your lower back pain will depend on the underlying cause and severity of your condition.

Our team of competent physiotherapists are well-versed in the use of evidence-based techniques such as manual therapy, exercise therapy, and education to help you improve your mobility, reduce pain, and prevent future injuries. Our goal is to provide you with personalised care and support to help you achieve long-term relief and better quality of life. 

If you’re struggling with lower back pain, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with us. We’ll work with you to create a treatment plan that meets your unique needs and goals and help you get back to the things you love.

To diagnose lower back pain, Benchmark Physio will conduct a thorough examination to determine the root cause of your pain. This includes assessing your posture, range of motion, and strength, and performing specific tests for identifying underlying issues. Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI scans, or CT scans will be used to provide more detailed information about the affected area.

After a comprehensive assessment, Benchmark Physio will develop a personalised treatment plan for your specific needs. Treatment options include manual therapy, exercise programs, pain management techniques, and education on preventing future injuries. Our physiotherapists will work with you to regain mobility, reduce lower back pain and improve your overall quality of life.

Meet Our Physiotherapist

Ng Hong Kai, an experienced physiotherapist, has carefully reviewed the information on this page.

hong-kai's profile photo

Clinic Director and Chief Physiotherapist​​

  • Master of Clinical Physiotherapy (Musculoskeletal), Curtin University (Australia)
  • Master of Physiotherapy, University of Sydney (Australia)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise & Sports Science), University of Sydney (Australia)
  • Member of Australian College of Physiotherapists and Australian Physiotherapy Association
  • Full registration with Allied Health Professions Council, Singapore, and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
  • GEMt Advanced Dry Needling Practitioner

Hong Kai has been practising musculoskeletal physiotherapy for more than a decade. He is the first Singaporean to achieve dual credentials as both an APA Titled Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist and a tertiary trained Exercise Scientist.

Hong Kai's broad and extensive skillset allows him to create solutions that are simple, effective and tailored to a client’s musculoskeletal needs. His beliefs in continuing education and self improvement led him to complete his Masters in Clinical Physiotherapy (Musculoskeletal), where he had a chance to participate in formal research into knee osteoarthritis under the supervision of world renowned researcher and physiotherapist Prof Peter 0′ Sullivan. 

Hong Kai has experience treating a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, with a specific focus on addressing lower back, neck, shoulder and knee pain.

What are the complications of lower back pain?

Failing to treat your lower back pain often leads to various other health ailments, depending on the underlying causes and severity of the lower back injury. However, these can be prevented through physiotherapy and closely observing the measures outlined by your specialist.

Here are some other possible complications you may suffer if you do not treat your lower back pain in time:

  • Permanent nerve damages
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Absenteeism from work or school
  • Physical disability
  • Mobility impairments leading to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases

Is lower back pain preventable?

Lower back is preventable with the right living habits and proper postural practices.

However, if your lower back pain results from a hereditary disease like ankylosing spondylitis or postural defect by birth, the chances of preventing lower back pain are minimal.

Otherwise, here are several ways you can reduce the risk of lower back injury:

  • Maintain an ideal weight as excess weight exerts pressure on your spine and spinal discs.
  • Attend physiotherapy sessions now and then to maintain muscle flexibility.
  • Exercise regularly and strengthen your abdominal muscles to support your spine.
  • Practice healthy body postures while sitting, standing, and lifting heavy objects towards your body.

Lower back pain treatments

A few days of rest, ice-pack and over-the-counter pain relievers usually suffice to treat mild discomfort or tension in your lower back. You can then get back to your daily functions with no interruptions. It is essential to remain active and promote blood flow to your lower back to relieve the pain. However, if the pain prolongs after a few days, it is no longer a mild discomfort but a condition that needs immediate attention. Visit a specialist, and after a few tests and physical examinations, your specialist will most likely suggest the following lower back pain treatments in Singapore:
  • Medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), painkillers, and muscle relievers relieve pain and prevent muscle spasms.
  • Physiotherapy supports your spine by strengthening your muscles and improving flexibility.
  • Steroid injections relieve pain and minimise inflammation.
  • Surgery to repair major lower back injuries.
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If your condition is not listed here, please enquire with us to check if we can treat your condition.

If your condition is not listed here,
please enquire with us to check if we can treat your condition.

Our Physiotherapy Charges

Standard Consultation (45mins) – $180 

Home therapy (45mins) – $250 

*For a limited time only, get your first 45 minutes session at $159 nett. 

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