What Can A Physical Therapist Do For Back Pain
Your treatment plan is your road to recovery! A physical therapist will tailor an individualized plan that meets your needs and constraints. Your treatment plan will include a range of both passive and active modalities to provide relief from back pain. Passive modalities are when the therapist treats you with massage, heat, ice, electrical stimulation, and manipulation. Active modalities are when you take a more active role and do exercises and stretches to improve range of motion and relieve pain. By following this treatment plan, youll find that physical therapy can reduce or totally eliminate your back pain.
Preparing For Physical Therapy For Lower Back Pain
In your first meeting with your physical therapist, it is important to bring your medical records with you . The physical therapist will ask questions about your current condition as well as other questions about your lifestyle and current activity levels.
Each physical therapy session may be different depending on how you are feeling that day . The physical therapist will guide you through a series of exercises designed to strengthen and support the body.
Make no mistake: physical therapy sessions may not be comfortable, but think of the sensations as therapeutic irritation rather than pain. You may be accessing muscles and parts of the body that have been stressed, strained, or ignored. This is part of the healing process and can be challenging.
Openly communicating with your physical therapist can help them better understand how you are feeling both mentally and physically. This is important in the process, as your mental health can influence your physical progress. Your physical therapist can help you to stay focused and encouraged as you work towards strength and rehabilitation.
Another important part of physical therapy is exercises designed for you to complete at home between physical therapy sessions. These help you to stay consistent in your rehabilitation and can help improve outcomes.
Have you used physical therapy to recover from an acute pain condition or a surgical intervention? What did you think?
What Can I Expect From My Physical Therapy Appointment
If youre having chronic back pain or need to improve your mobility after surgery or an illness, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy. In the State of Florida, you can also see a physical therapist without a referral. The initial evaluation will include discussion of your condition, and an assessment of your current level of functioning and how it has impacted your life. Some typical questions may include:
- How did the problem begin?
- What was your mobility like before the injury or problem?
- How often do you suffer from symptoms?
- Has the problem changed or gotten better or worse?
The physical therapist will review the doctors tests or other available information and do a physical exam to check on your function. Some common measurements that will be taken as part of the exam include:
- Understanding your ability to balance
- Evaluation of functional mobility
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Physical Therapy Before And After Back Surgery
There is substantial evidence supporting the benefits of physical therapy and exercise both before and after back surgery. The strength and stability that physical therapy provides can significantly shorten a patient’s recovery time after surgery. Physical therapy and exercise is considered an important part of most back pain patients’ treatments, including those undergoing non-surgical and surgical care. This is because patients with low back pain are most likely to recover when the patient is in optimum physical condition. Unless there is a contraindication for physical therapy or a patient requires emergency surgery, most patients are advised to undergo a trial of physical therapy prior to considering back surgery.
For many patients with low back pain, it is usually advisable to first consult a physician who can diagnose the patient’s condition and rule out any serious contraindications for physical therapy, such as a fracture or tumor. Many patients find it most helpful to be monitored by a physical therapist to ensure follow through and avoid problems. Once the initial phase of therapy is complete, those patients who continue to follow an exercise program are often the most successful in managing their low back pain.
Physical Therapy Exercises For Lower Back Pain
Most lower back pain episodes resolve on their own, but active exercise efficiently targets persistent pain that reduces range of motion. An ongoing therapeutic routine also decreases the severity and likelihood of future incidences of lower back pain. A physical therapist may suggest a combination of manual, physical, or soft tissue mobilization along with exercise therapies to treat lower back pain or sciatica. The types of exercises that will be recommended depend on the underlying cause of the pain as well as the individuals level of overall conditioning, but may include:
- Gait training
- Active assisted range of motion
- Supine core strengthening
- Extension and flexion back exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Mechanical diagnosis and therapy or the McKenzie Method
These approaches may be combined with manual techniques such as joint manipulation, dry needling, muscle energy technique, mechanical traction, TENS, or a similar form of electrical stimulation called neuromuscular electric muscle stimulation. The carefully demonstrated exercises help relieve lower back and lumbar pain. They also support enhanced health and fitness, which helps reduce the incidence of recurring back pain or sciatica. By relieving tension in rigid muscles and strengthening weak muscle tissue, proper balance and long-term wellness can be restored in the body.
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What Are Better Conservative Care Options For Spinal Stenosis
Anti-inflammatories and epidural steroid injections have both proven to be helpful for this condition. Both help to calm whatever is inflamed , thereby relieving some pain.
- Anti-inflammatoriessuch as Advil, Motrin, Naproxen, or Aleveare absorbed into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, providing pain relief where needed. These types of drugs usually work for mild cases of spinal stenosis.
- Epidural steroid injections are used to deliver steroids to the epidural space between the spinal cord and the spinal canal. Because the anti-inflammatory steroid is injected very near the source of pain, much of it stays local , making it more effective than taking an Advil. There are different types of shots to apply the medication to different areas of the epidural space.
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.
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Physical Therapy For Lower Back Pain: How It Can Help Exercises And More
You know it well.
That nagging, burning sensation you feel in your lower back every time you take a step and every time you roll over in bed.
Or maybe youve thrown your back out one too many times.
Not only is lower back pain, well, painful, but its also extremely common.
It has been estimated that approximately 31 million Americans experience low back pain.
If youre ready to put an end to your back pain, physical therapy for lower back pain may be just what youre looking for. This article will discuss lower back pain and ways PT can:
- Reduce pain
- Get you back to doing the things you love the most
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
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Understanding Chronic Pain And How Physical Therapy Can Help
Chronic pain affects at least 100 million American adults, more people than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. A common treatment of chronic pain has been prescription medications such as opioids codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and tramadol, to name a shortlist. However, the number of opioid prescriptions has been on the rise, to the point where some states in the U.S. have more prescriptions written than people living in the state.
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:
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.
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Physical Therapy For Mid Back Pain
Physical therapy is a front-line treatment for mid back pain typically, patients can avoid surgery or recover from surgery more quickly with the assistance of a licensed physical therapist. Pinched nerves, herniated discs, and osteoarthritis, for example, can be improved with physical therapy. Postural training can also help patients to maintain a straight spine throughout the day.
While physical therapy routines will vary from patient to patient depending on their individual needs, common methods of treating mid back pain include deep tissue massage, hot and cold therapies, ultrasound, and stretching and strengthening exercises. Most physical therapy routines designed to treat mid back pain consist of a combination of these methods.
How Can Physical Therapy Help
Physical therapists focus specifically on pain and injury to help their patients regain function, comfort, and mobility. Physical therapy treatments are used to alleviate pain, promote healing, and bring restored function and movement to the painful area. When you come in for a consultation, your physical therapist will provide you with an extensive evaluation, discovering what form of treatment will be best for whatever orthopedic, neurologic, or cardiovascular condition you are facing.
Physical therapy also consists of two categorized types of treatments: passive physical therapy and active physical therapy:
- Passive physical therapy
The purpose of passive physical therapy is to help pain become more manageable, and hopefully to alleviate it altogether. Lower back pain can be a debilitating condition, impeding your physical abilities. Because of this, physical therapists work hard to reduce pain as much as possible. Passive physical therapy can include any combination of these specialty treatments, as deemed fit by your physical therapist:
- Electrical stimulation, such as TENS Units
- Heat/ice packs
- Active physical therapy
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Chronic Low Back Pain And Its Treatment
Pain is generally a symptom of an injury, such as a wound or fracture, but low back discomfort is not. Low back pain can be continuous, yet it does not always imply the presence of a severe or long-term injury. X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging scans are frequently unreliable for determining the degree of discomfort a person feels. According to various research, MRI results appear to be “better” in certain individuals who experience higher levels of low back pain. The issue is why do patients’ pain symptoms vary despite their MRI scans showing the same result?
Scientists have looked at how and why we feel pain to tackle this question. They’ve discovered that discomfort is a sensation generated by the brain when there is a danger or fear of injury to the tissues. During this process, the brain absorbs data from the rest of your body, memory, and feelings. Then the brain determines whether or not pain should be felt. Your nervous system perceives low back discomfort to be a major risk. You may feel vulnerable since your body has been injured, and this may cause you to stay in bed and rest. However, this is frequently the incorrect approach. Your doctor or physical therapist will most likely recommend that you keep exercising gently, which will allow you to get back on your feet much more quickly.
Why Do We Feel Pain
Contrary to popular belief, pain does not always stem from damage to muscles or bones. It can sometimes come from the actual nerve tissues within the body. As muscles and bones respond to stress, whether acute or chronic, tissues in the body change. These changes might involve protein being released from a cell or the breakup of collagen bonds within connective tissue. Whatever the source, the damaged tissue is not causing pain. Instead, the brain decides that these changes are significant enough for a person to be aware of and, in turn, causes an individual to interpret these signals as pain, stiffness, or general discomfort. This is the reason why we feel pain.
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Benefits Of Physical Therapy For Back Pain
Nothing reminds you of your age like an achy back. All of a sudden, even restful activities, such as sleeping or hanging out on your couch can feel uncomfortable. Youve tried everything: more pillows, a new mattress, switching sleeping positions. So what do you do if, despite all these modifications, your back is still in pain?
The first thing to recognize is that youre not alone. Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people go to the doctor.
Common Causes Of Back Pain
Diagnosing the cause of back pain can be complicated. The spine is an elaborate structure of bones, ligaments, tendons, disks, and nerves all of which function together to help us move. These interconnected structures are not only subjected to the activities of everyday life, but also to powerful impact like twisting, jumping, and running. In addition, the intensity of pain is different for every person, and what might cause intense pain in one person may be manageable for someone else.
Back pain is commonly caused by:
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Types Of Back Pain Effectively Treated
There are two types of back pain: chronic and acute. Physical therapy can treat both. Chronic pain comes on slowly and lasts longer than twelve weeks. It is caused by wear and tear, degeneration, and even habitual poor posture or overactivity with weak muscles. Acute pain typically occurs after an injury it feels sharp and instant. Types of lower back pain effectively treated with physical therapy are:
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.
Start Treating Your Sciatica And Back Pain
If you are referred to a physical therapist for your back pain, he or she will likely teach you how to attain and maintain proper posture. The slouch overcorrect procedure is a simple way to teach yourself the posture that is required to maintain appropriate spinal alignment.
Your physical therapist may also use therapeutic modalities to help decrease your pain. While these may feel good, caution should be used many of these treatments have not been proven to effectively decrease pain-and keep it away.
Physical therapists trained in the McKenzie Method are specialists when it comes to treating people with low back and neck pain. If you can find a therapist certified in the McKenzie Method, he or she will likely perform a thorough assessment of your problem and teach you self-care exercises that can quickly abolish your pain and help you return to your previous level of function.
This is an exercise program commonly used to treat low back pain and sciatica, or leg pain that is coming from your back. They are listed as a progression. Start with exercise number one, and progress as needed through the exercises. You may not need to perform all of the exercises, but if the first one fails to provide you with adequate relief from your pain, try the second one, and so on.