Physical Therapy For Back Pain
Back pain is the most prevalent type of discomfort people endure, affecting 8 out of 10 Americans at some point in their lives. It can be an annoying and debilitating condition that hampers daily functioning. Fortunately, many back issues can be alleviated through physical therapy treatments and help to prevent future issues from arising.
Most back problems clear up on their own, and most aren’t serious. However, if the pain persists beyond a few days or the condition has become chronic, then seeing a healthcare professional such as a physician, chiropractor or physical therapist is recommended to determine what’s causing your discomfort and how best to address it.
Early treatment of back pain can significantly reduce healthcare costs, opioid usage and improve efficiency in healthcare services by avoiding unnecessary injections or surgery. A 2015 study published in BMC Health Services revealed that patients who saw a physical therapist as their initial point of care for low back pain were less likely to require other interventions such as injections or surgery down the line.
Lower back pain can be caused by any activity that puts too much strain on your spine, such as lifting something heavy, sitting for extended periods of time or simply bending over. These injuries can lead to stiffness, weakness or inflammation in the spine which will manifest as intense discomfort.
Stretching exercises, like those described below, can provide temporary relief from lower back pain. A physical therapist may demonstrate these movements and guide you correctly so your muscles get maximum benefit from stretching your spine and relieving your discomfort.
Physical therapists may use massage to ease tension in your body and promote mobility of joints and spinal cord. These techniques can be done on an as-needed basis or regularly to keep your spine flexible and pain-free.
A physical therapist (PT) can also educate you on safe and efficient movement, which will prevent future injury from arising. Preventing repeating an injury makes recovery much smoother once it has occurred.
Once your therapist feels that you’re ready for more active physical therapy, they can create an exercise program you can do at home. This may include any combination of stretching, strength training and stability exercises designed to increase flexibility and range of motion.
At your initial visit or session, your therapist will assess you and create an exercise plan tailored to your individual needs. This could range from stretches to strengthening exercises and may include special equipment like resistance bands or weights.
Your therapist will work to reduce your discomfort through a range of therapies, such as heat and cold, electrical stimulation, ultrasound and massage. They may also instruct you on how to self-manage future back pain episodes.
Many people’s first reaction when experiencing back pain is to reach for a medication to alleviate it and relax their body. Unfortunately, medications are often ineffective and come with side effects that could compromise their health and quality of life. Physical therapists are the best solution to reduce back pain without needing medications.