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How Physical Therapy Helps Back Pain

Can This Injury Or Condition Be Prevented

Back Pain Tips from a Physical Therapist

As experts in restoring and improving mobility and movement in people’s lives, physical therapists play an important role not only in treating persistent or recurrent low back pain, but also in preventing it and reducing your risk of having it come back.

Physical therapists can teach you how to use the following strategies to prevent back pain:

  • Use good body positioning at work, home, or during leisure activities.
  • Keep the load close to your body during lifting.
  • Ask for help before lifting heavy objects.
  • Maintain a regular physical fitness regimenstaying active can help to prevent injuries.

There is evolving evidence suggesting that the best strategy in preventing disability and care-seeking for low back pain is simply understanding what we are learning about the topic of pain. To learn more, read more about Pain.

Just Walking May Be Better Than Yoga

In August 2020, doctors writing in the medical journal Medicine compared walking and mind-body therapies, including yoga, which they note are commonly recommended to relieve pain and improve function in patients with chronic low back pain. What they found was that yoga, seemed to be more effective in the short term, and walking seems to be more effective in the intermediate term, for the relief of pain and activity limitation in patients with chronic low 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.

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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.
  • Treatment for Back Pain Flare-Ups VideoActive 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.

    How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed

    Lower Back Pain: What should I do? A Physical Therapy Perspective ...

    A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. Neurologic tests can help determine the cause of pain and appropriate treatment. Imaging tests are not needed in most cases but may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis. Occasionally the cause of chronic lower back pain is difficult to determine even after a thorough examination.

    Tests include:

    Blood tests are not routinely used to diagnose the cause of back pain but might be ordered to look for signs of inflammation, infection, cancer, and/or arthritis.

    Bone scans can detect and monitor an infection, fracture, or bone disorder. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and collects in the bones, particularly in areas with some abnormality. Scanner-generated images can identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow, as well as to measure levels of joint disease.

    Discography involves injecting a contrast dye into a spinal disc thought to be causing low back pain. The fluids pressure in the disc will reproduce the persons symptoms if the disc is the cause. The dye helps to show the damaged areas on CT scans taken following the injection.

    Electrodiagnostics can identify problems related to the nerves in the back and legs. The procedures include:

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    Physical Therapy To Relieve Back Pain

    To help relieve your back pain, you may have to go to physical therapy. There, a physical therapist will work with you to restore movement and help your body heal. The therapist may also teach you about ways to minimize pain in the future.

    Physical therapy includes both passive and active treatments. Passive treatments help to relax you and your body. They’re called passive because you don’t have to actively participate. Your physical therapy program may start with passive treatments as your body heals, but the goal is to get into active treatments. These are therapeutic exercises that strengthen your body and help prevent a recurrence of your back pain.

    Passive TreatmentsYour physical therapist may give you passive treatments such as:

    Active TreatmentsIn the active part of physical therapy, your therapist will teach you various exercises to improve your flexibility, strength, core stability, and range of motion . Your physical therapy program is individualized, taking into consideration your health and history. Your exercises may not be suitable for another person with back pain, especially since your pain might not even be caused by the same condition.

    If needed, you will learn how to correct your posture and incorporate ergonomic principles into your daily activities. This is all part of the “self-care” or “self-treatment” aspect of physical therapy: through physical therapy, you learn good habits and principles that enable you to take better care of your body.

    Exercise And Physical Therapy

    Bed rest, which used to be what doctors advised for back pain, may do more harm than good. It could slow your recovery and cause new problems.

    With acute pain, you should be able to start normal, easy activity, like walking, within a few days. After that, gradually ramp back up to your usual exercise level.

    Strengthening both your abdominal and back muscles helps stabilize your spine. Pilates exercises build these core muscles. You can help prevent further back injury by learning — and doing — gentle stretching exercises and the right way to lift things.

    Exercising in the water is especially safe for a sore back. The water supports some of your weight, which can make you more comfortable, and it offers gentle resistance, which builds your strength. Aquatic therapy can make you more flexible and lessen pain for chronic low back problems.

    Yoga may help your flexibility, strength, and sense of balance. It’s good for stress relief, which will also help you deal with the pain.

    Physical therapy focuses on managing or preventing injuries or disabilities. PT helps relieve pain, promote healing, and restore function and movement.

    Your treatment plan may involve visits to a specialist called a physical therapist. They focus on easing pain with passive or active therapy. Examples of passive physical therapy include:

    • Manual therapies

    Examples of active physical therapy include:

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    Here Are Three Ways Physical Therapy Helps Chronic Back Pain

    • Passive Physical Therapy: Exercise isnt all physical therapy is made up of. Passive physical therapy involves non-physical treatments which can help relax a patients muscles and bring relief from their pain. With chronic back pain, this can involve hot and cold packs applied directly to affected areas, electrical stimulation of the muscle structures, and more.
    • Active Physical Therapy: Your physical therapist has years of training and hands-on experience working with chronic back pain patients just like you. Your physical therapy plan might include specific stretches and exercises. This technique is known as active physical therapy. These exercises are great for strengthening the muscle groups that support your back and core. The stretches will be geared toward helping your body regain the flexibility and mobility you have lost as a result of your chronic back pain.
    • Long-Term Support: Physical therapy takes dedication and patience. It takes time to alleviate chronic back pain through stretching and exercise, and its easy to get discouraged if you try to do it on your own. Your physical therapist is there to help you by providing emotional and psychological motivation throughout your treatment journey, until your back pain is a thing of the past.

    Surgery and painkillers are not the only options you have if youve been struggling with chronic back pain. Call us to schedule a no-risk appointment with a physical therapist and begin your journey to a pain-free life.

    How Gymnastics Physical Therapists Can Help With Your Back Pain

    How to Fix Low Back Pain in 90 Seconds, Bob and Brad Concur!

    Gymnastics is a beautiful yet dangerous sport. With the many injuries that these athletes encounter, a physical therapist is an indispensable resource. Similarly, a physical therapist can help you with your back pain and other needs.

    There are two components of physical therapy for back pain: passive physical therapy and active exercises.

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    Choosing Physical Therapy For Pain Management

    Physical therapy is a safe, natural, and effective way to manage pain symptoms and address the underlying cause of pain. If youre looking for a holistic way to handle your condition, one that doesnt involve the risk of addiction or failed surgery, physical therapy may just be the answer youve been looking for!

    Our physical therapists will first take the time to examine your back, analyze your symptoms, evaluate your medical history, and talk to you about your pain management goals. This information enables the physical therapist to devise a comprehensive physical therapy plan just for you. Here are some ways you can benefit from such a plan:

    • Laser therapy, massage therapy, and heat or cold treatments can reduce chronic inflammation and relax painful muscle spasms in your back.
    • Stretching exercises can help you increase your range of motion, allowing you to do more with less back pain.
    • Strengthening exercises can give weak back muscles the reinforcement they need to hold your back straighter and with less fatigue.
    • Specific lifestyle modifications to help you ease stress on your back and avoid future back problems.
    • Mindfulness practices can help you reduce anxiety and other reactions to pain that might make the pain worse, helping you control your pain responses for the better.

    Therapy & Recovery From Upper Back Pain

    Pain in your upper back is most commonly caused by muscle strains from overuse, lack of strength in that region, trauma, or simply from poor posture over time. Physical therapy can be very effective for treating pain in the upper back, also known as the thoracic spine. UM Rehab Network therapists often use postural instruction, joint mobilization, massage, flexibility exercises, and exercises that strengthen the shoulders and the upper back so that it can better support the spine.

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    Have You Been Living In Pain Physical Therapy Has Got Your Back

    Back pain is, to this day, one of the most common complaints among Americans. Whether you experience occasional pain in your back or deal with recurrent chronic back pain, it can make it extremely difficult to complete your daily tasks. But have you ever started wondering if your back pain was a sign of a more serious condition?

    The spine is made up of a complex series of bones called vertebrae. There are cushioning pads between each of the vertebrae that act as shock absorbers, making bending, walking, and moving around, in general, every day without pain, possible.

    But if these little cushioning discs are injured, the soft center can actually rupture and cause severe pain. This type of injury is often referred to as a herniated or slipped disc, and while there is no cure for the condition, physical therapy can help manage chronic pain.

    Therapy & Recovery For The Neck Pain

    Physical Therapy For Back Pain Relief

    Neck pain can occur due to a muscle strain, a sprain in one of the ligaments or tendons in the neck, disc injury, arthritic changes, or trauma. This can be caused by an injury, like whiplash, or from straining the neck during everyday activities. Physical therapists at the UM Rehabilitation Network evaluate you to identify the cause of the pain and then provide therapy to alleviate the pain. Treatments may include strengthening and conditioning exercises, flexibility exercises, instruction on proper posture, joint mobilization to ensure proper vertebral alignment and improve range of motion of the neck, nerve mobilization to provide pain relief, and massage.

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    Stretching For Back Pain Exercises

    Almost every individual who has suffered from low back pain should stretch their hamstring muscles once or twice daily. Simple hamstring stretching does not take much time, although it can be difficult to remember, especially if there is little or no pain. Therefore, hamstring stretching exercises are best done at the same time every day so it becomes part of a person’s daily routine. There are many more stretches that can be done to alleviate lower back pain.

    How Physical Therapy Can Help Chronic Low Back Pain

    A physical therapist uses both passive and active methods to alleviate chronic low back pain. Passive treatments include ultrasound, electric stimulation, massage and hot and cold therapy. Active treatments include stretching and specific exercises.

    our office to set up an appointment with one of our physical therapists if youre suffering from chronic low back pain. Weve helped many others alleviate their pain and can help you, too.

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    Yoga Will Provide Benefits From Some Patients

    In a commentary to the above study, researchers from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs and from Rutgers University published in the journal Explore August 2017 , their beliefs that yoga will provide benefits for some patients. This is explained in this statement:

    Even though the evidence was of moderate to very low certainty , given its relative safety, the trends toward positive results, and the high rates of chronic pain and opioid use, yoga should be considered as a potential approach to include as part of a patients care plan for non-specific chronic low back pain. Similar to non-yoga exercise, yoga helps bring movement into the body. However, yoga also supports the development of body awareness and focus on posture and alignment, as well as assists with physical and mental stress, which may be particularly important in the management of chronic low back pain.

    What Can I Expect From My Physical Therapy Appointment

    How Does Inversion Therapy or Hanging Help Back Pain?

    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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    How Does Physiotherapy Work

    The physiotherapists use several different techniques to help patients get better. Various types of treatment, including manual therapy, exercises, and various modalities are preferred.

    They use manual therapy to treat the problem, including manipulation and mobilization of muscles and joints. The therapists also use soft tissue techniques to treat the muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

    Exercises also help you to regain strength and flexibility such as exercises for the hips, back, and knees.

    Various modalities are used to overcome your lower back pain. The therapists use electrotherapy, ultrasound, and other modalities to help you overcome your pain.

    If you have been diagnosed with lower back pain, you may be wondering how physiotherapy can help you. The physiotherapists will apply techniques to make you feel good.

    Association With Psychosocial Factors

    In the treatment of back pain by physiotherapists, an association exists with psychosocial factors, such as self-efficacy, catastrophizing, fear of movement, and pain and disability outcomes . A recent systematic review looked at the psychosocial factors related to change in pain and disability outcomes in chronic low back pain patients that were treated by physiotherapists . An association was found between psychosocial factors, such as self-efficacy, catastrophizing, and fear of movement, and pain and disability outcomes .

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    What Is Chronic Low Back Pain

    Low back pain is chronic when its been present for more than three months. It may result from stresses, disease or an injury on the structures of the body. It can vary and may be experienced as muscle pain, nerve pain or bone pain. The pain may be stabbing, achy, sharp, dull, vague or well-defined. And the pain can range from mild to severe. The pain may occur all of the time or when you perform certain actions, such as getting up from a chair or when driving. If you have chronic back pain, its time to call a physical therapist.

    Is Physical Therapy Covered By Insurance Or Medicare

    Physical Therapy as Treatment for Lower Back Pain

    Most insurance plans cover part of the costs of physical therapy if it is considered medically necessary. There may be a limit to how many visits your insurance covers.

    If a doctor considers PT medically necessary to treat arthritis, Medicare will cover all or part of the costs.

    Medicare Part A will pay all or some of the costs of physical therapy treatments that occur at an inpatient rehabilitation facility, such as a hospital, rehabilitation center, or mental health facility, according to AARP.

    For outpatient treatment, Medicare Part B will pay the remaining 80 percent of treatment costs once you meet your yearly Part B deductible.

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