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What To Do For Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is the nemesis of many. That familiar ache can limit time spent working, relaxing, and enjoying life. It can lead to irritability and a whole host of other health problems. And, yet, it’s surprisingly common.

The World Health Organization estimates that in the United States, 149 million days of work are lost due to low back pain. Back pain is the leading cause of inactivity and loss of work, and it appears in 60 to 70 percent of people in industrialized nations.

If you’re experiencing this type of pain, you know how important it is to find relief. Fortunately, physical therapy can guide you toward a pain-free life. Here are some ways that a physical therapist can help, and a few reasons to call our office today.

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy includes treatments that focus on the management of disabilities and injuries. It helps to alleviate lower back pain, encourage healing, and bring about restored function and movement. It is performed by a trained physical therapist who is knowledgeable in evaluation and conservative management, including rehabilitation of orthopedic, neurologic, and cardiovascular conditions.

There are two components to most physical therapy programs: passive physical therapy to reduce the patient’s pain so that it becomes more manageable, and active exercises that the patient can engage in independently.

Passive Physical Therapy

When you’re suffering from lower back pain, it can be debilitating. Oftentimes, back pain prevents individuals from being as active as they would like. Because of this, it’s the physical therapist’s goal to reduce your pain and get you back to the activities you love to do. Our physical therapists may use the following passive tools to help relieve pain.

We use some of these methods, such as hot/cold packs and massage therapy, to improve blood flow to the affected area, thereby reducing pain and swelling. We also utilize electrical stimulation therapy, which is a painless treatment that delivers tiny electrical waves through your nervous system to relieve pain, reduce muscle spasms, and encourage your body to produce pain-relieving hormones. Some of our clients are best suited for aquatic therapy. This involves performing low-intensity movements in water, which relieves pressure on muscles while allowing you to move your joints without discomfort.

Active Physical Therapy

Active physical therapy treatments are exercises performed by the patient and are often used in the later stages of physical therapy — once the lower back pain has subsided enough so that the patient can perform them without excessive discomfort. There are many different types of exercises that a physical therapist may recommend, including stretching, stability training, and strength training. Some of these will help you with your flexibility and range of motion, while others help build the muscles around the painful area to provide those parts of the body with support.

What to Expect During Your Visits

When you first visit our clinic, your therapist will ask you several questions about your health history, and about your lower back pain specifically. Having this information will help your therapist provide you with the best treatment plan possible so that you see long-lasting results as quickly as possible.

Your physical therapist will also provide a thorough examination. Depending on your symptoms, your physical therapist may assess your strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, and posture. This may include using his or her hands to palpate your back and surrounding area, as well as a visual examination of your mobility.

You will also be given exercises to perform at home so that you can minimize your pain, avoid re-injury, lessen strain, and speed up your recovery time. Your treatment does not end when you walk out of our door, you need to be dedicated to your home exercise program if you want to get better. Your physical therapist may recommend special equipment and will undoubtedly spend a great deal of time educating you about your source of pain and pain management strategies. Our physical therapists focus on manual therapy, meaning instead of relying on a machine to get you better, they take a hands-on approach to your treatment to deliver you immediate relief.

When you’re ready to alleviate or eliminate your pain, call our office to see how physical therapy can help you live a pain-free life.

 

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