We often overlook the importance of our medical General Practitioners (GPs) when it comes to helping with low back pain.
Their under-appreciation is most likely because a vast majority of acute (fresh episode) low back pain is a result of a sudden injury to the muscles and ligaments of the region. In the case where the cause is 'musculoskeletal,' your GP is likely to refer you to a physiotherapist or other health professionals for the 'actual' treatment.
If you have been through the above process a few times, you may begin to develop an idea that your local doctor does not play an active role in your treatment.
As an experienced physiotherapist, I can tell you that this understanding is far from the truth.
Medical GPs deal with everything in the spectrum of health. They deal with aneurysms, infections, internal organ dysfunctions, reproductive organ dysfunctions, immune disorders and sinister things like cancers.
So, if you have seen a medical GP before being referred on to a physiotherapist, the GP has played one of the most important roles in your treatment by assessing the appropriateness of your future therapy.
Of course, even if a medical GP refers you to physiotherapy, we always make sure to ask critical medical questions to double check that you are medically appropriate for treatment.
Practically speaking, if you are pretty sure of the cause of your low back injury e.g. you have been suffering from pain since feeling a painful spasm while lifting a heavy object, it will be safe for you to consult a physiotherapist straight away.
However, there will be times when the pain may not be familiar to you, and in cases like this, it is more than appropriate to visit your local GP. If you skip this process, please be ensured that an experienced physiotherapist is most likely to pick up unusual signs and symptoms which may prompt a conversation with your GP to make sure your safety is kept as our first priority.