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Can Physical Therapy Help Back Pain

Herniated Discs And Sciatica

Immediate physical therapy improves back pain with sciatica

Sciatica is a condition that can occur if you have a herniated disc. Herniated discs in the lower back are so painful because they put extra pressure on the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve is made up of several spinal nerve branches that travel down into the leg from the spine. If the sciatic nerve is pinched as a result of extra pressure, you will experience intense, uncomfortable pain radiating from the buttocks, down the back of the leg, and into the shin and foot.

The good news is that physical therapy can help to alleviate your pain! When youre younger, your spinal discs are almost entirely water. However, as you age, your water content decreases. This causes the discs to become less flexible, increasing the likelihood of tears or other problems.

Some of the other common causes of herniated discs are:

  • Heavy lifting, or lifting things incorrectly
  • Excessive body weight or obesity
  • Traumatic injuries

Can Physical Therapy Make Arthritis Worse

Physical therapy aims to improve function and decrease arthritis symptoms. Treatment should not make your symptoms worse or cause pain.

However, you may find some of the exercises challenging, especially in the beginning. After or during a PT session, its typical to experience a moderate amount of muscular discomfort or soreness.

Talk with your physical therapist about your treatment response and pain tolerance. Let them know if you have worsening symptoms, severe pain, or difficulties during and after a session.

Your physical therapist can make the appropriate modifications to your treatment plan. They may use different techniques or reduce the frequency and intensity of your sessions.

exercise program for arthritis , consult your doctor or physical therapist. They can recommend appropriate exercises and suggest modifications.

Try The Heat And Ice Method

Alternating hot and cold packs on the lower back is a common method for relieving back pain. However, if you prefer one temperature over the other, you dont have to switch between them! Although using both hot and cold packs is not required, switching between the two extremes can provide a broader range of benefits when it comes to relieving back pain.

Heated compresses have many advantages. Hot compresses relieve pain by blocking the signals that travel from your lower back nerves to your brain. Heat also promotes circulation. This increased blood flow aids in the healing properties found in your bloodstream. On the other hand, cold compresses and packs come in handy because they can stop spasms, numb pain, and reduce swelling in the affected areas.

Your therapist will most likely apply one or both of these packs to the affected areas during physical therapy. Its a good idea to consult with your physical therapist about the best type of compress for your at-home treatment. Heating pads and ice packs are both inexpensive and easily accessible options.

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Physical Therapy For Low Back Pain Relief

Patients suffering from most types of low back pain are often referred for physical therapy for four weeks as an initial conservative treatment option before considering other more aggressive treatments, including back surgery. The goals of physical therapy are to decrease back pain, increase function, and teach the patient a maintenance program to prevent future back problems.

Common forms of physical therapy include:

  • Passive physical therapy , which includes things done to the patient, such as heat application, ice packs and electrical stimulation. For example, a heating pad may be applied to warm up the muscles prior to doing exercising and stretching, and an ice pack may be used afterward to sooth the muscles and soft tissues.

    See Physical Therapy: Passive PT for Back Pain

  • Active physical therapy, which focuses on specific exercises and stretching. For most low back pain treatments, active exercise is the focus of the physical therapy program.
  • This article focuses on active physical therapy and exercise as a means to help recover from back problems and prevent or minimize future flare-ups of low back pain.

    Common Forms Of Physical Therapy

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    Common types of physical therapy include:

    1. Passive physical therapy

    Passive physical therapy for lower back pain is carried out by a therapist, and while you are encouraged to provide feedback, you dont need to be actively involved. The main purpose of these treatments is to help relieve pain, release tight muscles, improve joint flexibility, and ease stiffness.

    Passive physical therapy examples include:

    • Low-impact aerobic conditioning

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    Physical Therapy Treatment Methods

    There are 2 common forms of physical therapy:

    • Passive physical therapy, which involves treatments being applied without effort from the patient. Numerous treatment methods are available, such as applying ice packs, heat therapy, massage therapy, ultrasound, electrotherapy, and others. The goal of passive physical therapy is to help reduce pain and swelling.
    • Active physical therapy, which involves the patient moving his or her own body through exercises and stretches. By improving strength and flexibility in the neck, these muscles may become less painful and better able to maintain good posture, which reduces stress on the cervical spine.

    The initial phase of physical therapy for neck pain might involve more passive treatments, but more and more active treatments are likely to be incorporated as time goes on.

    Caring Medical Abdominal Bracing Exercises

    Below is a video of Brian Hutcheson DC and our patient Morgan. Here Dr. Hutcheson will be demonstrating a proper technique in performing abdominal bracing exercises. We have an extended article with a summary transcript of this video on our page: Abdominal bracing exercises.

    We perform abdominal bracing exercises for our patients to help them with problems related to poor core strength. There are patients who are in obvious jeopardy for problems and weakness in their core strength. These are people who sit all day at computers, slouch and lead sedentary lifestyles.

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    Physical Therapy Strengthens Back Support And Resistance

    A weak back is more likely to be a painful back. Muscles that dont adequately support the back and spinal column leave you with postural problems that lead to pinched nerves, chronic musculoskeletal strain, and an increased vulnerability to acute injuries. Weak back muscles also tend to become easily stressed and strained, becoming inflamed, stiff and painful as their default state. Physical therapy exercises designed to beef up the strength of these muscles can provide the back with the support it needs. Youll stand with a straighter posture, experience less day-to-day discomfort, and resist future injuries more easily.

    What Can Be Done For Arthritis In The Back

    Physical Therapist Treats Your Low Back Pain At Home!

    Arthritis in the back is a common problem that can cause significant pain and disability. While there is no cure for arthritis, physical therapy can be an effective treatment to help reduce pain and improve function. Physical therapy helps by reducing inflammation, improving joint function, and increasing muscle strength.

    Physical therapy for arthritis in the back typically includes a combination of:

    Exercise: Exercise is an important part of physical therapy for arthritis in the back. A variety of exercises can help to improve range of motion, flexibility, and muscle strength. Exercises like walking, swimming, and Tai Chi can also help to improve overall fitness and reduce pain.

    Manual Therapy: Manual therapy techniques such as massage, joint mobilization, and trigger point release can help to reduce pain and improve function. Massage will help to increase blood flow and reduce muscle tension. Joint mobilization can help to improve the range of motion. Trigger point release can help to break up areas of muscle spasm.

    Education: Education about arthritis and proper self-care is an important part of physical therapy. Learning about the condition, proper exercise techniques, and ways to modify activities can help to reduce pain and improve function.

    If you are suffering from arthritis in the back, physical therapy can help. Contact a physical therapist today to learn more.

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    How Long Does Physical Therapy For Lower Back Pain Last

    The number of sessions a patient has is truly individualized for each person. You should keep attending physical therapy until you reach your physical therapy goals.

    It is also important to note that you and your therapist may change treatment goals if they do not see progress. But on average, patients can expect to be in physical therapy for six to eight weeks as strength and mobility progress with every session.

    If your back pain continues to be severe or even worse, physical therapy may take longer or may be recommended after surgical intervention.

    On the contrary, some patients find rapid improvement in symptoms with only a few physical therapy sessions. If that is the case, attending just a few sessions to learn exercises you can continue to do at home is helpful.

    How Long Does Physiotherapy Take To Treat Lower Back Pain And What To Expect From This Treatment Option

    Physical therapists help aid recovery from injuries, manage pain, improve health and fitness, and provide physical rehabilitation. Physical therapy is a useful treatment for lower back pain. It can help restore and maintain function, mobility, and wellbeing in people with acute or chronic pain and those who have undergone surgery.

    If your doctor has referred you to a physical therapist, you probably want to know how long it takes and what to expect.

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    What Can Arthritis Lead To

    Arthritis is a medical condition that can lead to pain and inflammation in the joints. In some cases, arthritis can also lead to problems in the bones and muscles around the joints. In severe cases, arthritis can even lead to disability.

    There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common type is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the joints breaks down. This can happen due to age, injury, or overuse of the joints.

    If left untreated, arthritis can eventually lead to joint damage and deformity. Fortunately, there are treatments available that can help relieve the symptoms of arthritis and slow down the progression of the disease. One such treatment is physical therapy.

    How Can Physical Therapy Help Lower Back Pain

    9 Best Exercises for Lower Back Pain

    Physical therapists are highly trained healthcare professionals that use physical therapy treatment modalities to strengthen core muscle groups that support the lower back.

    After ruling out serious conditions needing medical intervention, a physical therapist will work together with you to set therapy goals, which usually include:

    • Relieving or reducing pain
    • Improving structural strength and stability in your lower back
    • Increasing your ability to function and return to normal activities
    • Education, including exercises and stretches you can do at home

    Through active and passive physical therapy, you can enhance flexibility and increase your strength, which improves mobility and restores function that was lost due to pain.

    1. Active Physical Therapy:

    Active physical therapy consists of exercises to strengthen muscle groups that support your lower back and core. Stretching is incorporated to help keep you flexible. Another pain-reducing active treatment is soft tissue work and joint mobilization/ manipulation provided by manual therapy.

    2. Passive Physical Therapy:

    Passive physical therapy is used in conjunction with active physical therapy for pain modulation. Passive physical therapy can include treatments such as cold and heat packs to reduce inflammation and dry-needling trigger points.

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    How Can A Physical Therapist Help

    Your physical therapist can help you improve or restore mobility and reduce low back painin many cases, without expensive surgery or the side effects of medications.

    If you are having low back pain right now:

    • Stay active, and do as much of your normal routine as possible
    • If your pain lasts more than a few days or gets worse, schedule an appointment to see your physical therapist.

    Not all low back pain is the same, so your treatment should be tailored to for your specific symptoms and condition. Once the examination is complete, your physical therapist will evaluate the results, identify the factors that have contributed to your specific back problem, and design an individualized treatment plan for your specific back problem. Treatments may include:

    • Manual therapy, including spinal manipulation, to improve the mobility of joints and soft tissues.
    • Specific strengthening and flexibility exercises.
    • Education about how you can take better care of your back.
    • Training for proper lifting, bending, and sitting for doing chores both at work and in the home and for proper sleeping positions.
    • Assistance in creating a safe and effective physical activity program to improve your overall health.
    • Use of ice or heat treatments or electrical stimulation to help relieve pain.

    Nerve Pain Or Numbness

    As arthritis causes joints to break down, bone spurs can form. These come in contact with nerves in the spinal column and cause pain, tingling, and numbness in other areas.

    You may not notice these sensations all the time, but they can become problematic when doing even the most basic activities like bending over to tie your shoes or reaching up to get something from the top shelf.

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    Ready To Say Goodbye To Your Back Pains

    The American Physical Therapy Association states that back pain is the most commonly experienced form of pain for Americans.

    In fact, one in every four Americans has sustained some sort of back pain in the past three months.

    Chronic back pain is pain that persists for three months or longer. This type of pain can be due to a variety of reasons, including arthritis of the spine, aging, disc problems, and myofascial pain syndrome.

    With arthritis of the spine, there is a slow thinning of the cartilage inside the spine which can cause pain.

    A herniated or bulging disc may be compressing a nerve. With spinal stenosis, there is a narrowing of the spinal pain that can lead to nerve pain.

    Myofascial pain syndrome is unknown muscle tenderness and pain. Whatever the cause of your chronic back pain, it doesnt have to be a part of your daily life.

    What Are We Seeing In This Video

    L4 L5 – L5 S1 disc bulge best exercise rehabilitation for pain relief

    In this video Prolotherapist Danielle Matias, MMS, PA-C discusses a pretty common scenario of patients who are diagnosed with sacroiliac joint dysfunction but whose MRI is normal and they try some physical therapy but it doesnt resolve the issue. The reason for this is most frequently underlying ligament laxity in the region causing SI joint instability. When ligament laxity/joint instability is found, Prolotherapy is a great option worth exploring because it stimulates ligament repair and tightening.

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    How A Chiropractor Can Help Relieve Back Pain Problems

    Chiropractors focus on the musculoskeletal system, which includes the bones, muscles, and joints. They use various techniques to manipulate the spine and other joints. This can help to relieve pain, improve range of motion, and reduce inflammation. Chiropractors may also use other therapies, such as massage, to provide relief.

    If you’re experiencing back pain, a chiropractor can help. They will perform a physical examination and take a medical history to determine the cause of your pain. Once the cause is determined, they will develop a treatment plan. This may include spinal manipulation, exercises, and other therapies. Chiropractors can also advise on how to prevent back pain in the future.

    Instruction On Caring For The Spine

    Physical therapists offer guidance on how a person can avoid putting too much pressure on the lower back. By taking some of the pressure of the discs in the back, a person may find considerable relief from his or her pain. Techniques such as alternating activities, exercising in the water and doing specific exercises are all methods that physical therapists can teach to their patients for pain reduction.

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    Improves The Mobility Of The Back

    The muscles in your back are responsible for supporting your spine. They are also responsible for helping you to move. If your muscles are stiff and inflexible, they can cause injuries and limit your movement ability.

    If you suffer from lower back pain, your mobility can be affected. The role of physiotherapy is to help you regain mobility and strength.

    What Causes A Herniated Disc

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    Spinal discs function similarly to shock absorbers. They are soft, rubbery pads that sit between the bony vertebrae that make up the spine. Spinal discs are composed of a thick outer cartilage ring and an inner gel-like material. They function to allow our backs to bend easily.

    The spinal column also protects the delicate nerves and spinal cord. The gel-like substance can break through if the cartilage in your spinal disc is damaged or develops a defect. This herniation will put additional strain on the nerves. As a result, your lower back suffers from intense pain. Even minor pressure on your spinal nerves can result in numbness, weakness, and pain.

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    When To Seek Physical Therapy

    Did you know that you can get physical therapy for back pain without a referral? You can! A physical therapist can evaluate and, in many cases, treat you for your back pain. If your lower back pain doesnt subside after two or three weeks, you should seek medical attention. However, if you hurt your back because you fell or were involved in an accident injured yourself, be sure to see a doctor immediately.


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