PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR BACK PAIN

Have you ever questioned if you can discover relief for lower back pain, tightness, or stiffness through physical therapy? Physical therapy for back pain is a time-tested, highly efficient, and long term treatment option.

In this post, we’ll discuss what types of back pain, tightness, or stiffness can be treated, what physical therapists can do, and how physical therapy treatment can relieve pain in your back.

WHAT IS PHYSICAL THERAPY?

Physical therapy is sometimes tough to define. It can provide rehabilitation for an injury, increase mobility, significantly improve performance when it comes to sports, as well as provide independence well into old age. PT can do all of this without painkillers, injections, or surgery. Instead of drugs or surgical treatment, physical therapists use their hands and the body’s natural systems to heal. 

Physical therapists also work in partnership with the patient to do stretching and enhancing workouts. The paramount objective is to relieve your pain and get you back to the things and activities you used to do.

WHAT CAN A PT DO FOR BACK PAIN?

Your treatment strategy will consist of a variety of techniques to provide relief from back pain. Many techniques can include workouts and stretches to enhance your range of motion and alleviate discomfort. By following your physical therapist’s treatment strategy, you’ll discover that physical therapy can minimize or remove your back pain entirely.

TYPES OF BACK PAIN EFFECTIVELY TREATED

Generally, back pain can be categorized in two ways: chronic and acute. Physical therapy can deal with both. 

Chronic pain begins gradually and usually lasts more than twelve weeks. Chronic pain can be brought on by an injury, age, muscle degeneration, and even bad posture. 

Acute pain usually occurs after an injury– it can feel sharp and is usually instantaneous. Physical therapy can treat a wide range of back pain caused by:

BACK INJURIES

Back injuries can occur as of a slip and fall, car accident, or sports injury. Weak muscles can also trigger back pain if there is an undue strain. After injuries, lower back problems are usually sharp and cause extreme discomfort in the lower back or bottom of the spine shortly after the damage occurs.

HERNIATED DISCS

A bulging or herniated disc is when the jelly-like substance in the discs located in between the vertebrae spills out through a rupture or tear. When this jelly-like stuff gets out, there is very little to stabilize the shocks that hit your spine on a daily basis. Think of the disks as shock absorbers. 

Herniated disks can cause pain to radiate from your lower back down one or both legs. Sciatica is a term you might start hearing. You might likewise feel a discomfort comparable to an electric shock when you walk, stand, or engage in athletic activities.

ARTHRITIS OF THE SPINE

Possibly the most typical reason for lower back pain is arthritis. Arthritis of the spinal column happens due to degeneration of the joints in the spine. As we get older, the cartilage in between the spinal joints can weaken. As this occurs, the tissue around them gets thin and becomes irritated. Considering that there’s no cushion for the joints, uncomfortable friction occurs. You’ll probably feel pain, tightness, and stiffness that’s located around the hips or lower back if you have this condition.

SPINAL STENOSIS

Spinal stenosis happens when the space within your spinal column narrows. As a result, pressure is applied on your nerves in the spinal column and causes pain. This condition’s signs might present gradually and include discomfort in the lower back, numbness or tingling in the leg or foot, and problem walking. 

PROBLEMS WITH THE SACROILIAC JOINT

The sacroiliac joint is a special joint that connects the hip bones and acts as a shock absorber when you bend backward or forward. Repetitive motion or insufficient movement can trigger pain in this joint. 

Inflammation likewise contributes to sacroiliac joint discomfort. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction prompts the hips to feel unstable. It can likewise develop into lower back pain, tingling, or numbness.

DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE

These discs weaken eventually, resulting in discomfort. Most people have some disc degeneration without knowing it. However, it can trigger extreme, radiating pain in the lower back as it worsens.

WHEN TO INQUIRE ABOUT PHYSICAL THERAPY?

In most states, you can access physical therapy services for back pain without a referral. A physical therapist can examine and, in most cases, treat you for your back pain. 

If your lower back pain does not get better within 30 days, you can look into getting further medical attention. However, your physical therapist will likely let you know who you should see or if they don’t think they can help you. It’s really a no-risk solution. If you had a back injury, there’s a good chance your physical therapist will ask for X-rays and/or MRI to confirm their diagnosis. 

WHAT HAPPENS AT PHYSICAL THERAPY?

During your first appointment, the physical therapist will do something called an evaluation. Your therapist will perform diagnostic tests and a physical assessment to figure out the degree of your pain and the root cause. They’ll likewise evaluate you for more severe health concerns that might be causing your pain.

Clients might need physical therapy anywhere from 3 visits to 2-3 times a week for several months, depending on the condition. Physical therapy isn’t just about getting pain free; it’s also to get stronger. 

Here are some of the more typical treatments you might get:

REST.

Every injury takes time to recover. Your physical therapist might advise that you stop or customize any activity that makes your back pain worse. Restricting activity and lying down might take the pressure off of the lower back and decrease instant discomfort.

MANUAL THERAPY.

This is hands-on work where the therapist manipulates the muscles and/or spine to treat back pain. Your physical therapist will carefully adjust your body and apply pressure to various muscles or vertebrae that are misaligned and causing pain.

EXERCISE.

A series of workouts are advised and will increase as your pain subsides, and you accomplish better motion and function. Workouts might consist of resistance bands, weights, or just bodyweight exercises. The workout’s goal is to develop muscles that strengthen the lower back and improve range of motion.

HEAT.

Heat is utilized in physical therapy to enhance the circulation of oxygen to muscles, helping tissue heal faster. It can also relieve the discomfort by minimizing the pain signal’s transmission to the brain. Heat is usually combined with other techniques and not used exclusively. 

MASSAGE.

This is often the same as manual therapy, depending on the type of PT clinic you visit. Massage might be an extra supplement to other treatments. Your physical therapist will focus on the muscles that are triggering your lower back pain and massage them. 

ULTRASOUND & E-STIM.

Beware of these treatments. While they have some limited uses, these two treatments are generally time wasters. They use vibration or electric current to send heat and stimulation to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. There aren’t many studies actually proving that these treatments cause a measurable impact on a patient’s recovery. Many PT clinics like to put patients on these machines so that they can see other people at the same time. Ask questions of any therapist that tries to put you on these machines and leaves you alone for 15-20 minutes. 

GET BACK PAIN RELIEF WITH PHYSICAL THERAPY 

If you have lower pain in the back that doesn’t get better with rest, talk to a physical therapist today. If you want to get better naturally without painkillers, injections, or surgery – your physical therapist might be your new best friend. 

Physical therapists are professionals in the musculoskeletal system and have the ability to deal with lower pain in the back efficiently. If you require surgery or want to recover post-surgery, physical therapy should be your first stop. The quicker you get started with PT, the faster you are likely to recuperate and get back to your life.

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