Physical Therapy For Back Pain: Realign Your Spine
Plenty of people sit all day, working at computer desks or browsing through their favorite websites on the couch. Others engage in intense workouts lifting weights. What do they all have in common? The answer is back pain. Sore necks and aching spines can hinder relaxation when the day is over. Why not treat yourself to some physical therapy for back pain to keep the aches away?
Check out the following simple exercises they will help you relieve tired muscles and have you feeling more relaxed. That way, you can enjoy your evenings away from work.
Keep in mind that the majority of these routines will involve stretches to help keep the back muscles as limber as possible. Avoid high-impact exercises if you’re experiencing back pain as that may only make it worse.
In addition to these helpful exercises to alleviate back pain, treat yourself to some hot soaks or ask a friend to provide you with a back massage to whittle away any lingering soreness. Treat your spine right with some physical therapy for back pain, and your spine will thank you by keeping you tall and robust.
Back Pain Doesnt Need To Control Your Life Physical Therapy Can Help Find Back Pain Relief
Did you sleep wrong or injure your back picking up something too heavy? Maybe you have suffered a sports injury that resulted in back pain. There could be many causes for your back pain, but the good news is that you are not alone, and 3Dimensional Physical Therapy & Sports Conditioning can help you find back pain relief!
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, back pain is the most commonly reported pain in the United States. One out of every four Americans has experienced back pain in the last three months!
Whatever is causing the discomfort in your upper, middle, or lower back, 3Dimensional Physical Therapy & Sports Conditioning is here for you. Request your appointment today!
When To Seek Help
Remember, low back pain can be a serious problem and it is highly recommended to consult a physician, physical therapist or another qualified healthcare provider if low back symptoms are present and are significantly limiting function and mobility. Also, there are a few signs and symptoms that require immediate medical attention. These include, but are not limited to:
Read Also: Advil For Lower Back Pain
Why Physical Therapy For Back Pain
Nonspecific back pain refers to low back pain that isnt tied to a clear cause, such as osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis, or a tumor. Its very common and often acute, meaning symptoms tend to resolve on their own within a month. Physical therapy can help the healing process along.
In fact, PT can improve a range of back-related problems, including those caused by disease or structural abnormalities. A 2015 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that PT works as well as surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis .
So, you see, you did get a prescription for strong medicine. It just doesnt come in pill form although, as with pills, you should still follow that prescription as directed.
A lot of people dont follow through with their full course of physical therapy. Obvious reasons include time constraints, cost, and inconvenience. Other factors that contribute to non-compliance, according to a 2010 study in Manual Therapy, include:
- Low levels of physical activity before treatment
- Increased pain during exercise
- Perceived barriers to exercise
The problem with stopping PT is that you could end up right where you started: in pain and at the doctor. Now youre spending money on another healthcare visit, plus any imaging tests your doctor may order for you. Thats what the authors of the Manual Therapy study were getting at when they wrote, Poor adherence to treatment can have negative effects on outcomes and healthcare cost.
Solution #: Repeated Motion
If the problem stems from irritation or pressure on a nerve from a disk bulge or spinal stenosis, a repeated movement program may help. With these conditions, pain often travels down the leg and there may be numbness, tingling and weakness. Leg pain may be worse than back pain.
A bulging disk occurs when a portion of one of the cushioning disks between vertebrae in the spine presses on nearby nerves. With spinal stenosis, an opening through which nerves travel narrows, which can impinge on nerves.
If we can minimize the pain in the leg with one of two types of motion, it means the patient probably falls into the repeated motion category, Houser says.
If pain is worse with bending forward, movements that involve bending backward may help relieve pressure on the nerve. Theres a progression to these exercises, which are often called McKenzie exercises. If pain is less with bending forward, which is common with spinal stenosis, the second motion involves forward-bending movements to open up the area of pressure on the spine.
Recommended Reading: Will Aleve Help Back Pain
What Is The Importance Of A Treatment Plan
Your physical therapist will create a customized treatment plan that is specific to your pain levels and needs. This treatment plan might be different for you than it would be for someone else, since the cause of your back or neck pain can vary.
For example, you might be experiencing pain because of a herniated disc, a degenerative disc disease, whiplash from an auto accident, a sports injury, arthritis or poor posture.
A few conditions that could be the root cause of the pain youre feeling are as follows:
- A herniated disc: This condition occurs when the gel-like material of the disc bulges or leaks out.
- Degenerative disc disease: This condition occurs when there is wear and tear on the discs.
- Osteoarthritis: Arthritis is developed due to wear and tear on the facet joints. This causes friction when bending, can result in pinching a nerve root, or in sciatica.
- Strains & sprains: This is a very common issue that sends people straight to a physical therapist. It is not uncommon for athletes to incur sprains and strains to the neck or back regions when engaging in sports that require aggressive overuse of a body part or muscle.
Find Relief With Physical Therapy For Back Pain
If you have lower back pain that doesnt improve with rest, meet with one of our physical therapists, who can get you started on a treatment plan right away.
Physical therapists are experts in the musculoskeletal system and are able to effectively treat lower back pain. They know that strengthening and stretching your lower back and the surrounding muscles are integral to your recovery. And if you should still need surgery, the stronger you are going into it, the faster you are likely to recover.
At Pontchartrain Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, our physical therapy department can help you find relief for back pain.
Also Check: How Does A Diuretic Help Back Pain
Build It Back Up Again
The latter stages of an acute or chronic episode are similar in approach but specific to an individual. It typically involves restoring or improving the capacity of your back to tolerate the things you want to do ex. sitting at a job for 8-10 hours a day, before you go play a game of shinny once you put the kids down to bed. .
Its important to plan a workout or daily exercise routine that builds you back up over time. We want to avoid overdoing it and causing a flare-up again. But if it does happen, dont worry ! If you havent consulted a physical therapist yet, nows the time. In particular, physiotherapy and athletic therapy are wonderful options during this stage to help deliver exercise in a safe and progressive manner.
What Causes Mid Back Pain
Typically, mid back pain can either be attributed to overuse or to an underlying condition. Overuse injuries occur when the muscles, ligaments, and discs that support the spine become strained or injured. This may occur if the patient participates in an activity that places stress on the mid back or if the patient has consistently poor posture.
Conditions that can cause mid back pain include spinal nerve problems, such as a pinched nerve or a herniated disc. Osteoarthritis, myofascial pain, or a vertebrae fracture can also cause mid back pain. Finally, mid back pain may be a symptom of a heart attack, cancer, or a severe infection.
The most common causes of mid back pain include:
Source:U of Michigan
Don’t Miss: Is Advil Good For Back Pain
What To Do When Low Back Pain Occurs
If you are currently experiencing low back pain, gentle self-care exercises should be started to restore mobility and decrease pain. Since poor posture is a major cause of low back pain,maintaining proper posture is important. Use a small pillow or towel roll to support the spine while sitting. Remember, if pain prevents you from exercising or if pain persists for more than 2-3 weeks, a visit to a physician, physical therapist, or other healthcare provider is necessary.
Physical Therapy Benefits For Back Pain
After an episode of low back pain has lasted between two and six weeks, or if there are frequent recurrences of low back pain, physical therapy is often recommended. Some spine specialists consider physical therapy sooner, particularly if the pain is severe.
A physical therapy program for back pain usually has two components:
Don’t Miss: Tylenol Or Aleve For Back Pain
Concept : Road Map For Pipt Implementation
One way to make the leap toward real-world delivery of behavioral interventions has been to move from clinical trials to implementation-focused studies. Brown et al have created a dissemination and implementation diagram to increase real-world relevance and adoption of evidence-based interventions .34 The pre-intervention phase often consists of theory development and pilot studies to investigate if an intervention is feasible to carry out. For PIPT training approaches, there are examples available to guide recommendations for the future.
Figure 1 Dissemination and implementation framework.
Notes: Reprinted from Brown CH, Curran G, Palinkas LA et al. An Overview of Research and Evaluation Designs for Dissemination and Implementation. Annu Rev Public Health. 2017 38:122. Copyright © 2017 Annual Reviews. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 .34
What Will My Physical Therapist Do
A full assessment of your physical condition will be done, and a personalized treatment plan will be created to target the cause of your back or neck pain.
Your physical therapist will conduct a thorough examination to pinpoint the root cause of your back or neck pain. He or she may use a tool called a goniometer to measure your range of motion. They will also most likely perform a strength test on you.
Spinal mobility will be measured along with palpation to locate sore or tight muscles. Your physical therapist will also ask you to complete certain tasks in order to figure out what your functional mobility levels are.
Your physical therapist will take a look at your medical history as well to see if there are any factors that might correlate to the pain youre currently feeling, such as recent injuries or surgeries. During this time, you can discuss the things that you are now not able to do as a result of any past injuries you might have sustained.
Don’t Miss: How Much Advil Can I Take For Back Pain
What To Expect From Physical Therapy
When low back pain is persistent or interferes with normal activities, a visit to a physical therapist may be necessary. When you go to a physical therapist, he or she will perform an initial evaluation on the first visit. Be prepared to move around quite a bit, so be sure to wear comfortable clothing and make sure that your low back is accessible.
An initial evaluation will consist of several different parts. First, a history of your present problem will be taken. Be prepared to discuss your symptoms and what activities or positions make your symptoms better or worse. Some special questions will be asked to help the therapist determine the nature of your problem and to discover anything that needs immediate medical attention.
The physical therapist will also take measurements of how you are moving. This may include measurements of your range of motion and strength. A postural assessment will also be included in the initial evaluation. From the results of the evaluation, a specific treatment plan will be devised and started. It is important to remember to be an active participant in your treatment and ask questions if you are unsure of what to do.
The Symptoms Of Mid Back Pain
As symptoms tend to differ depending on the cause and severity of the patients condition, the symptoms of middle back pain can vary greatly from person to person. For some patients, mid back pain may be brief and mild, resolving itself after just a few days. For others, the pain may be chronic, grow more severe over time, or interfere with their ability to go about their daily tasks.
The symptoms most commonly associated with mid back pain include sharp, stabbing pain general discomfort or an aching sensation stiffness and reduced mobility radiating pain that travels into the arms, chest, or lower back and tingling, numbness, and weakness. Most patients likely wont experience all of these symptoms.
The most common symptoms of mid back pain include:
Also Check: Does Motrin Help With Back Pain
What Is Chronic Pain
If we know that at most, the tissues in your body take around 3 months to heal, how then is it possible for pain to last longer than this?
Well, when most people think of how pain works they believe there is tissue damage somewhere in your body, for now well say the lower back, and your lower back communicates to your brain that there is damage. This is not entirely accurate.
Your lower back communicates to your brain that it feels something, and your brain decides whether or not to make that experience painful. The physiological changes that occur in the brain are influenced by a host of factors such as:
- Previous experience- Have you had pain with this activity before? Is this how you injured yourself in the first place?
- Emotional well being- Are you stressed or anxious about something unrelated?
- Overall health- How is your diet? Your sleep? Are you a smoker? Overweight? Do you exercise?
- Beliefs about the pain Do you believe there is some sort of catastrophic damage in your back?
Well, what weve come to understand is that these physiological changes that occur in the brain can sometimes persist far beyond when the tissue has actually healed.
What that means is that your bodys alarm system that alerts you to danger stays on even when the danger is gone. For a better understanding of how your brain and body process pain, check out these videos on understanding pain and chronic low back pain that I frequently share with patients in the clinic.
Does Physical Therapy Hurt
Physical therapy should not be painful, but as it involves parts of the body that are injured, inflamed, or causing chronic pain, the treatment procedure may cause slight discomfort. The body may also be sore after a deep tissue massage or stretching exercise. This is because mobilizing, strengthening, and stretching the affected area necessitates specific movements along with physical manipulation that causes soreness after a session.
Furthermore, muscles or ligaments that may have become weak and rigid over time require specialized exercises that cause lactic acid to build up. When this happens, minor irritation may develop in the area. However, soreness should not feel like pain. If excessive discomfort is experienced or severe pain develops after a session, this should be discussed with the physical therapist who can modify the treatment accordingly. A therapist may also use a hot-cold application following the procedure to help reduce soreness.
Another key factor to consider is that each individual is different. Thusly, peoples pain thresholds vary widely. This means that communication is important as intense pain during therapy may indicate that there is a more serious underlying problem. Additionally, physical therapists are specifically trained to notice when a certain technique or exercise is causing unnecessary discomfort and they can quickly adjust the regimen to lessen the pain.
Recommended Reading: Aleve Good For Back Pain
You Dont Have To Keep Dealing With Pain
Back and neck pain are extremely common conditions that many people struggle with over the course of their lives. According to the National Institute of Health, back pain is one of the most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. Even school-age children can have back pain.
Unfortunately, its not always an easy task to pinpoint the exact source of the pain youre feeling in your neck or back. Pain can often radiate into your arms, legs, and head.
Oftentimes people end up paying for expensive surgeries to find relief, or falling back on addictive medication that can cause harmful health effects later in life. However, there is another solution for back and neck pain: physical therapy!