According to the World Health Organization, about 149 million workdays are lost because of back pain. Back pain is extremely common – in fact, 60-70% of people across industrialized nations experience back pain. If you are living with it, you know how limiting it can be to your daily life. That’s why it’s important to consult with a physical therapist as soon as it starts. The longer you wait, the more likely it becomes that it may progress into a more serious issue.
Physical therapy is a natural, quick, and effective way to help manage your back pain. If you have been living with back pain, you’re not alone – and there is help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started on the best treatment plan for your needs.
Back pain and physical therapy – what does it do?
Your physical therapist will focus on treating the root of your back pain, in order to help you regain mobility, function, and comfort. Your individualized treatment plan will incorporate the best methods possible for relieving your pain, facilitating the healing process, and restoring function and movement to the affected area(s) of your back. Your initial appointment will consist of a comprehensive evaluation, which will help your physical therapist discover which forms of treatment will be best for the orthopedic, neurologic, or cardiovascular condition you are experiencing.
With physical therapy treatments, there are two main categories of treatment – passive physical therapy and active physical therapy.
Relief with passive treatments:
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:
- Ice/heat packs.
- Manual therapy.
- Dry needling.
- Electrical stimulation, such as TENS Units.
Some of these methods are used to reduce pain and swelling, such as heat/ice packs and massage therapy. Electrical stimulation, while it sounds intimidating, is a painless treatment that delivers minuscule waves of electricity throughout your nervous system. This also helps with pain relief, and it can also help in decreasing muscle spasms, as well as encouraging your body to produce pain-relieving hormones. Hydrotherapy is an aquatic-based treatment, in which patients will perform low-intensity movements in water, thus relieving any muscle pressure they may be experiencing and allowing their joints to move freely and comfortably. These techniques are more commonly used for the treatment of lower back pain than others, although any could be prescribed based on your physical therapist’s discretion.
Relief with active treatments:
The purpose of active physical therapy is to provide exercises that the patient can do on their own in the later stages of their physical therapy treatment. Once your lower back pain has subsided enough that your physical therapist believes you are ready for active physical therapy, he or she will set up an exercise schedule specific to your needs. This can include any combination of stretching, strength training, and stability training, and it is all geared toward helping you gain back your flexibility, range of motion, and muscle strength. These exercises will help provide support to the painful area and will guide you further in your recovery process.
What will my treatments look like?
When you arrive for your consultation, your physical therapist will conduct a comprehensive exam that will consist of a physical evaluation and questions regarding your pain levels, lifestyle, and medical history. After this information is collected, your physical therapist will create an individualized treatment plan based on your specific needs.
Treatment plans will include both passive and active treatment methods, as mentioned above. It is likely that your physical therapist will also provide you with gentle stretches and exercises to do on your own, in order to maintain the progress you make during your sessions.
Physical therapy for back pain relief aims to relieve pain, increase function, and decrease the risk of future injury. If you have been living with back pain, contact us as soon as possible – we’ll provide you with the relief you need so you can get back to your daily life.