There is a range of treatments available for lower back pain, so how can you be sure that you’re getting the right treatment for your needs? Physical therapy can be an effective treatment for many causes of lower back pain. It can also help to prevent back problems and avoid the need for invasive treatments in the future. Read on to learn more about what you can expect from physical therapy for lower back pain.
The lower back is composed of muscles, ligaments, bones, and nerves, which all help support the lumbar spine and allow us to perform a variety of movements such as bending, lifting, and twisting. However, the back can be vulnerable to a range of injuries and conditions. If there is damage to any of these structures, it can result in pain and other symptoms such as inflammation, tingling and numbness, and reduced function and range of motion. Lower back pain may be caused by:
- A muscle or ligament strain
- Bulging or herniated disc
- Age-related changes
- Nerve compression (radiculopathy)
- Fractures, typically caused by osteoporosis
For mild back pain,self-care, such as rest, activity restriction, heat therapy, and over-the-counter pain medications, may be all that is necessary to improve symptoms. However, for persistent or debilitating lower back pain, medical intervention may be required.
Physical Therapy for Lower Back Pain
Physical therapy is an effective nonsurgical treatment for lower back pain and many other conditions. It is often recommended before considering more invasive treatments, such as surgery. The main goals of treatment are to reduce back pain and increase function and range of motion. Physical therapy can also help prevent reinjury and other problems in the future.
At an initial consultation, the therapist will carry out a thorough evaluation to assess the patient’s needs and develop a customized treatment program. The treatment plan will incorporate achievable and realistic goals to allow the patient to reach their maximum potential and return to their normal activities and lifestyle without pain or limitations.
Customized Treatment Plan
Physical therapy treatment is customized to each patient’s exact requirements and uses a range of techniques to help improve symptoms and prevent future injuries. This can include:
- Exercises to reduce pain, strengthen core muscles, and promote movement and function of the lower back
- Astym therapy (using specially designed tools to work on soft tissues to promote healing and tissue regeneration), cupping (using suction to decompress soft tissues, enhance blood circulation, and promote healing), dry needling (using filiform needles to ease muscular pain), and other instrument-assisted modalities
- Manual therapy techniques to manipulate and mobilize soft tissues and nerves to restore movement and relieve pain and tension
- Passive therapeutic modalities, such as heat and cold therapy, electrical stimulation, and therapeutic ultrasound, relieve symptoms and promote healing
- Active physical therapy focuses on specific exercises to help facilitate the movement of specific joints and muscles responsible for pain
- Education, guidance, and functional retraining to improve technique, posture, and healthy movement patterns and minimize future flare-ups or re-injury
- Home exercise program
- Gait training to improve posture and prevent problems
- Advice and guidance to maintain a healthy lifestyle and well-being and prevent further problems
Benefits of Physical Therapy for the Lower Back
Physical therapists focus on restoring movement and function in the body through exercise, manual therapies, and other modalities. They look at how the muscles, nerves, and bones are affected to ensure they provide effective treatment to improve symptoms. Patients are encouraged to take an active role in their treatment to enhance the success of treatment.
Your physical therapist can teach you a range of exercises that can help increase flexibility, strengthen the back and abdominal muscles (which helps stabilize and support the spine), and improve posture to ensure less stress is placed on the lower spine.
If you have pain that is preventing you from carrying out your normal daily activities, your therapist can provide education and guidance to modify certain activities or movements to improve symptoms, whilst still helping you to be active. They can also show you different ways to improve your technique when carrying out certain activities to avoid injury, such as bending and lifting, or pitching during baseball.
Physical therapy can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments, such as medications or dry needling, to help reduce pain and speed up recovery. Dry needling involves the use of a small needle to release irritated or contracted muscle tissue to reduce pain.
Lower Back Pain Treatment in Pennsylvania, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, West Virginia, Virginia, New Jersey, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, and Georgia
If you have lower back pain and are considering physical therapy, visit H2 Health for high-quality care. Our physical therapists are experts in treating a range of conditions and movement disorders and can help provide you with the tools and hands-on care to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. We provide customized treatment to effectively relieve your symptoms and prevent problems in the future. To learn more about our physical therapy services or to book a consultation with one of our providers, call us at (800) 699-9395 or you can contact one of our convenient locations.