Our Programs

Back Program

Our back pain treatment program has been developed over the last 10 years and has been designed after helping thousands of clients and working with multiple practitioners. Our program brings you the very best in treatment for back pain and is designed to address most causes, including those recently diagnosed and enduring chronic issues.

Welcome to Our Back Program

Our back pain treatment program is designed to look after all things back pain-related, with the only exception really being spinal cord injuries. Learn more as CEO and Back Program designer Toby Atkins introduces Atkins Health’s specially tailored program.

Whether you suffer from lower back pain, upper back pain, chronic back pain or pain from conditions such as sciatica or spondylolisthesis, we can help. Our back pain treatment program is designed to help back pain suffers or all ages and all fitness levels.

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Whether you have been dealing with chronic back problems which have recurring painful episodes, or whether you’ve just experienced your first back pain – as a result of an acute injury for example – then our back pain treatment program is designed to help.

New Episode of Back Pain

Recurrence of Back Pain

Chronic Back Pain with Acute Flare-ups


Preparing for Surgery

Back Conditions We Treat

Following are examples of some of the back pain conditions we manage with our Back Program. Hover over / click on sections of the spinal image below and click on each to learn more.

Osteoporosis Stress Fracture Sciatica Stenosis Pars Defect Herniated Disc Facet Joint Pain Degenerative Disc Disease Osteoarthritis Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction Post Partum Back Pain Spondylolisthesis


Osteoporosis does not directly cause back pain. It’s a condition that arises from substantial bone mass loss, leading to what are known as fragility fractures. These occur when a fall from standing height or less results in a broken bone. Fragility fractures can happen anywhere in the body but are typically found in the spine, hip, or wrist.

Signs of vertebral fractures may include:

  • Back pain varying from mild to severe, potentially incapacitating
  • Reduction in height
  • Diminished spinal mobility and flexibility
  • Stiffness in the spine

Learn more about osteoporosis

Stress Fracture

Spondylolysis refers to a defect or stress fracture in one of the vertebrae, the small bones constituting the spinal column. In certain instances, this stress fracture can weaken the bone to such an extent that it fails to sustain its correct position in the spine, causing the vertebra to shift or misalign. This condition is known as spondylolisthesis.

Both spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis are frequent sources of lower back pain in children and adolescents. Even without any identifiable injury, this condition or weakness can manifest in children as young as six years old. Adolescent athletes involved in sports that repeatedly strain the lower back, such as gymnastics, football, and weightlifting, can also experience such stress fractures.


Sciatica is a common type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve, a large nerve extending from the lower back down the back of each leg.

The telltale sign of sciatica is pain that starts in the lower back and shoots down one leg, sometimes all the way into the foot. It can happen with an injury or just with the wear and tear of ageing.

Learn more about sciatica


Spinal stenosis refers to the constriction of one or more areas within the spinal canal, a tunnel that houses the spinal cord and runs through every vertebra in the spine. The reduction in space inside the spinal canal can squeeze the spinal cord and its branching nerves (nerve roots).

When these nerve spaces become narrow, it can result in the irritation, compression or impingement of the spinal cord or nerves. This often manifests as back pain or other nerve-related problems such as sciatica. Various conditions and injuries can contribute to the narrowing of the spinal canal.

Pars Defect

Spondylolysis, Pars defect, and Stress fracture – these three labels all point to the same medical issue. Spondylolysis represents a stress fracture that occurs in the pars interarticularis of the lumbar vertebrae.

The pars interarticularis (pars) lies between the superior and inferior articular process bilaterally at each vertebral level and is the most susceptible area to repetitive stress damage. This is a relatively prevalent condition, affecting one in every 20 individuals.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc, also referred to as a slipped, ruptured, or bulging disc, is a prevalent source of neck, back, and leg pain.  A herniated disc is a spinal injury — the spine consists of a series of bones known as vertebrae, extending from the base of the skull to the tailbone. These vertebrae are cushioned by round buffers known as discs that facilitate bending and movement.

When one of these discs tears or leaks, it results in what is termed a herniated disc. Flexion and/or rotation movements can aggravate herniated disc-related pain. These discs can recover naturally to a state that doesn’t cause pain but often require straightforward care procedures.

Facet Joint Pain

Located in the posterior section of the spine are the facet joints, present at every vertebral level, with one on either side of the spine. Facet arthritis can lead to discomfort and stiffness. The pain associated with this condition is usually localised in the spine close to the affected joint, but it can also manifest in other parts of the body.

For instance, cervical (neck) facet arthritis may cause pain that radiates towards the back of the head, ear, or shoulder. Similarly, lumbar (lower back) facet arthritis might result in pain extending towards the buttock, hip, or thigh. Certain movements like extension or long periods of inactivity or sleep often exacerbate the pain.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a condition characterised by the weakening of one or more discs in the back. Despite its name, it isn’t exactly a disease, but rather a progressive condition that develops over time due to wear and tear or injury.

The discs in the back are situated between the vertebrae of the spine, serving as cushions and shock absorbers. These discs play a crucial role in enabling standing upright and carrying out daily movements like twisting and bending. As time goes by, degenerative disc disease can progress, potentially leading to pain ranging from mild to severe, which can disrupt daily activities.


Spinal osteoarthritis refers to the deterioration of the cartilage in joints and discs located in the neck and lower back. Occasionally, this condition can lead to the formation of spurs that exert pressure on the nerves exiting the spinal column, resulting in weakness and pain in the limbs.

Typically, osteoarthritis is associated with aging. However, there are several reasons why younger individuals may develop the condition, including a genetic defect related to cartilage, or damage or trauma to a joint.

In individuals under 45, osteoarthritis is more prevalent amongst men. However, post 45, the condition is more frequently observed in women. Overweight individuals are more likely to experience osteoarthritis, as are those engaged in occupations or sports that subject specific joints to repetitive stress.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Also referred to as SI joint dysfunction, Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is a medical condition known for causing discomfort or pain in the lower back and/or legs. The sacroiliac joints are situated at the base of the back on either side of the spine, where the sacrum (the spine’s lowest part) connects with the iliac bones (components of the pelvis). 

The role of the SI joints is to bear the weight of your upper body during standing or walking, transferring this weight to your legs. These joints also function as shock absorbers for the spine and contribute to the body’s stability. 

Disruption of the joint’s normal movement, whether due to excessive (hypermobile) or insufficient (hypomobile) movement, can result in SI joint dysfunction. This condition can manifest through symptoms such as: 

  • Discomfort or pain in the lower back, hips, buttocks, or potentially the groin. 
  • Pain that could be sharp, dull, or stabbing, typically localized to one side of the lower back and may extend down the leg. 
  • Pain that can intensify with certain activities like standing, walking, or climbing stairs, but may alleviate when sitting or lying down. 

Post Partum Back Pain

Postpartum back pain can be attributed to several factors, which include: 

  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy that result in the loosening of ligaments and joints. 
  • Overworked abdominal muscles used to support the “baby bump” and during childbirth (if labour was involved), potentially disrupting back alignment and overall posture. 
  • Constant bending, lifting, and rocking of baby, activities that become part of daily routines. 

Incorrect handling of a growing baby can also subsequently contribute to postpartum back pain. 

Learn more about back pain and pregnancy


Spondylolisthesis is a spinal condition in which one of the vertebrae slips forward onto the bone directly beneath it. This can occur anywhere along the spine, but it’s most common in the lower back (lumbar spine).

There are various types of spondylolistheses, and the causes vary depending on the type. Some people are born with a congenital defect or fracture that leads to spondylolisthesis, while others develop it due to excessive wear and tear on the spine from age or sports. Physical trauma or certain diseases and conditions can also cause spondylolisthesis.

Symptoms of spondylolisthesis include lower back pain, stiffness in the back and tightness of the hamstring muscles, pain and/or weakness in one or both thighs or legs, and difficulty controlling bladder or bowel movements in severe cases,

Avoidance of single leg activities in early phases of rehab is recommended.

Phased Approach For Better Results

Our programs commence after clients have completed a comprehensive initial assessment and together, we have established the specific outcomes to be achieved.

Our program is divided into the following four phases:
1. Reset
2. Reactivate
3. Re-educate, and
4. Reinforce

Each of these four phases is designed depending on where you are in your rehabilitation journey, and each has clearly defined milestones. We work closely with you to ensure that they are achieved in a timely manner, however if after reviewing and refining the treatment plan we find that there are obstacles outside the scope of the program, we have a team of highly skilled specialists to whom we refer.

We are experts in treating back pain

Who Our Back Program Assists

We help people with back pain from a variety of backgrounds and who come to us with back pain caused by a variety of reasons. It’s important not to ignore back pain.

Ignoring back pain can lead to several serious complications, and left untreated, acute back pain may become chronic, lasting for years. Severe cases of untreated back pain can cause nerve damage, leading to symptoms like numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs or arms. It’s therefore crucial to seek professional help when experiencing back pain in order to prevent further potential risks. Early intervention leads to better outcomes.

Various Occupations


Occupations that involve strenuous physical activity can contribute to back injuries in several ways, such as heavy lifting, repetitive motion, poor ergonomics, prolonged postures, vibration, and insufficient breaks. Problems often arise from a lack of proper training.

Sports Injuries


Sporting injuries can lead to back pain in a variety of ways: Strains and sprains (the most common), fractures, disc injury, overuse injury, spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis. We also help with prevention strategies including proper conditioning and use of correct technique.

Ageing Australians


Ageing can lead to back pain caused by a variety of reasons. These include loss of muscle tone, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, degenerative changes, and poor posture.  Proper exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and good posture can help and is important as we age.

Chronic Conditions


Chronic back pain refers to back pain that lasts for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute back pain has been treated. Common chronic conditions include herniated discs, sciatica, fibromyalgia, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and degenerative disc disease.

Degenerative Diseases


Degenerative back health issues are those that involve the gradual wear and tear or deterioration of the components of the spine over time. Some common degenerative back conditions include degenerative disc disease (DDD), osteoarthritis, facet joint syndrome.

Becoming a New Mum


Pregnancy can cause back pain for several reasons including muscle separation, hormonal changes, stress, excessive standing or sitting, changes in posture, and weight gain. In nursing mothers back pain can result from poor posture while breastfeeding and lifting and carrying the baby incorrectly.

What’s Different About Our Back Health Program?

Our clients come to us for the first time often having tried other treatments unsuccessfully and are feeling despondent, are fearful of what the future holds, or have received a diagnosis and are confused about the meaning of the medical terms. Our team starts by asking questions, and helping our clients understand their condition, as well as our prescribed approach and how it will help. Perhaps most importantly, our clients can take comfort in knowing that our program is designed to run for a finite period and produce measurable results.

Our back health program has been developed over more than a decade of working with experts in the field of back health including world-leading surgeons. Our team has undergone extensive additional training and has worked with people of a variety of ages and back-related conditions. They understand the impact of how living with back pain affects quality of life and are familiar with the challenges that back pain sufferers experience in going about their daily lives.

We know what it’s like for back pain sufferers and the importance of getting them better.

We’ve Got Your Back

We’re pleased to introduce our accredited Atkins Health Back Program Team. Practising out of four conveniently located Atkins Health centres our team is ready to help improve your quality of life by guiding you though your back health journey.


Atkins Health’s Back Program Team L-R: Brock Van Kampen, Bella Feranda, Toby Atkins, Jessica Percy, Paige Radford, Slavko Saric

We Know How to Help


Where to Get Back to Better Health

Our Gold Coast Back Program locations offer parking and disabled access.

Runaway Bay

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Varsity Lakes

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Like to Know More About Treating Back Pain?

In the following short videos, Toby explains what is meant by the term “chronic lower back pain“, how exercise is used to treat back pain, what non-specific lower back pain is, and how providing temporary relief to back pain can assist in finding the root cause of pain. Click on each of the subjects to learn more.

Chronic Lower Back Pain


Using Exercise to Treat Pain


Non-specific Lower Back Pain


Providing Back Pain Relief



It can get complex navigating the various funding options and plans that may be available to you. We’ve tried to unpack and explain the options here.

Client testimonials

Here is what some of our customers have to say….

I’ve seen a number of practitioners over the years (chiro, physio, acupuncture) to try to deal with my spine and joint issues. I didn’t know about exercise physiology at that time, but I now realise it’s the missing link we’ve all been looking for to reach our health goals, prevent disease, and stay strong as we age.


I couldn’t be happier after a few sessions of treatment from Nuria at Runaway Bay. With a recurring injury in my back, I have finally been able to manage it for the first time in years. It’s given me so much confidence at work and for exercise.


When I noticed recurring hip pain I asked for a recommendation for a physio. The staff lead me to Lorenzo (exercise physiologist). We developed personalised goals and exercises and worked 1:1 to achieve these. In the short 3 months I have been working with Lozrenzo I have seen a lot of change and my pain pretty much disappear. I am also smashing my goals!


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