Without Intervention, Your Lower Back Pain Could Be Here to Stay


Ask any physical therapist and they will tell you that lower back pain is the most frequent complaint they’re asked to treat. Often, back strain goes away on its own, especially with the classic “PRICE” treatment. But when protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation just can’t cut the pain, physical therapy is often your most reliable path back to a pain-free life.

Where Does Lower Back Pain Come From and What Can Prevent it?

An improperly aligned spine stemming from incorrect posture is the most common cause of lower back pain (LBP). Most office desk setups don’t provide lumbar support or ergonomic positioning, putting strain on the backs of desk employees.

On the contrary, non-desk jobs have their own dangers. Standing all day, especially when combined with heavy lifting or frequent bending, is also bad for spinal health. The muscles surrounding the abs and lower back may not get the support they need as employees pace, bend and lift.

In either case, supporting back muscles is key to reducing the risk of chronic lower back pain. Insist on an ergonomic desk chair, or at least take the opportunity to stretch and move around more frequently. If you’re a cashier, wait staff or warehouse worker, invest in shoes with good arch support to help keep your entire body better aligned. If needed, wear a specialized brace to help support heavy lifting.

Check out our Lunch and Learn segment on how to set up your work station for a more in depth analysis of how to properly sit at a desk all day.

How Physical Therapy Can Help

Physical therapy is one of the most effective ways of easing lower back pain. Medical professionals generally urge their patients to try physical therapy before turning to prescription medications or surgery. Prescription medications can have long-term health consequences, despite the advantages of delivering temporary pain relief, and invasive procedures carry risk of complication and prolonged recovery time.

Lower back pain physical therapy typically takes a two-pronged approach involving both active and passive physical therapy, unless the physical therapist has a reason to recommend one over the other.

  • Passive physical therapy includes the application of specialized ice packs and heating pads. The physical therapist may also use various types of pulsing equipment to stimulate nerves and release pain.
  • Active physical therapy involves the patient performing stretches and exercises to build the kind of flexibility and strength needed to both prevent future flare-ups and reduce current pain. Some of these are done under a physical therapist’s supervision on specialized equipment, but others can be carried out at home after the patient learns the basics.

Call PROcare Physical Therapy today and speak with one of our certified physical therapists to learn more about how to prevent lower back pain.