Having back issues? Total Motion Physical Therapy can help diagnose and rehabilitate your back problems so you can get back to enjoying life.
Low Back Pain: Low back pain
is common, disabling, and the most costly pain to treat in the US. It is estimated that 75-90% of the population will experience low back pain at least once in their life. In fact, at any given time 1 out of 4 people usually have back pain. Most back pain goes away on its own within weeks. However, sometimes it continues and you may require treatment to help resolve your symptoms.
There are several causes of low back pain. This can result in a variety of symptoms from localized aching, stiffness, sharp or dull pain in the back, to burning pain, numbness or tingling from the back and into the buttocks or legs. Most often physical therapy treats 3 different types. The first is acute, which is pain lasting less than 3 months. The second is recurrent which is when acute symptoms come and go over an extended period of time. The third is chronic, which is pain that lasts longer than 3 months. All three can be effectively treated by a physical therapy program. However, you have a better chance of improving if you see your PT within 16 days of onset of your symptoms.
Low Back Pain How Does Your Physical Therapist Treat Low Back Pain
Download For Free
If your pain continues to last more than a few days or starts to become worse a physical therapist can help evaluate what is causing your pain and how to treat it appropriately. Some of the common techniques used will be hands on spinal manipulation, massage, and joint mobilization. In addition exercises to strengthen your back and improve the way you move will be given. Finally education on your condition, its cause and how to prevent future episodes of pain will be given.
General Advice for low back pain is to stay active and continue with your daily activities as your pain allows. Lying in bed can actually be worse for you although it may feel better at the time. Lastly, most people with low back pain, whether it be from a herniated disc or degenerative joints or discs will recover without the need for surgery and conservative care, including PT yields better results than surgery.
If you are experiencing loss of bowel or bladder control or have numbness in the groin or inner thigh along with low back pain, you may have a serious condition and need to contact your physician or emergency room immediately.
Degenerative disc disease: Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a term used to describe what happens when the discs in between your vertebrae start to break down or degenerate. This is a natural process of the body. So everyone will have some form of DDD if they live long enough (actually past the age of 30 for most). In a basic sense, your discs are fluid filled and as you age they dehydrate which makes them less flexible and cushy. As this happens the space between your vertebrae decreases and this can result in joint pain and stiffness. In some cases it can cause irritation to nerve roots, which causes burning, numbness, or tingling into the back, buttock and possible legs. The good news is that DDD does not affect everyone who has it and if it does; physical therapy can help to decrease pain and improve function.
Spinal Stenosis: Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a condition that occurs in individuals as they age. With age comes breakdown of the bones and tissues that are in the spine. Unfortunately for some this process happens faster and is symptomatic. In LSS the joints of the spine become worn and the space in between is decreased. That space is where nerve roots and the spinal cord runs. If the space is decreased too much, it can result in pinching or compression of the nerve roots and/or spinal cord leading to pain, numbness, tingling or weakness into the legs. Often symptoms are worse with standing and walking and better with sitting. Physical therapy can often help by improving your mobility and strengthening the muscles around the spine. This helps to provide support for the bones and keep them from compressing the nerves.
Herniated Disc: Herniated discs in the spine typically occur in people 30-50 years of age. Usually it is the result of overuse, repetitive lifting, twisting, and heavy labor over a long period of time. That being said people who are overweight and have low activity levels can be at risks as well. As we age our discs dehydrate and make them less able to handle daily stresses. When this happens small tearing can occur in the disc leading to leaking of fluid or bulging of the disc itself. Most people over the age of 40 have herniated discs or torn discs in their backs, however not everyone has pain or symptoms. If there are symptoms, more than likely the disc is pressing on a nerve or causing local inflammation in and around the joints of the spine. As mentioned before most people with low back pain do better with conservative care versus surgery. Physical therapy can help to improve the way you move and decrease the irritation being caused by the disc. Exercises and activities specific to your condition can be prescribed to improve your quality of life and help you manage your condition.
Ultimately, the best practice guidelines for most low back pain, whether it be caused by arthritis, degenerative or herniated discs, or stenosis, is to try conservative treatments such as physical therapy prior to undergoing surgery. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.